There\'s no NFL on Thanksgiving night, but you can still make these best bets

Create: 2020-11-25
Update: 2020-11-25
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Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Hey, it's the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, so tell me, have you already finished working for the day? Did you call it off early? Don't worry, your boss isn't reading your mind right now. They don't have that technology yet. It's only natural to want to get your holiday weekend started early, even if it's a holiday weekend that won't resemble what you're used to.
One of the ways it'll look a bit different is that instead of having three NFL games to watch, you're only going to have two. We found out Wednesday afternoon that Thursday night's game between the Ravens and Steelers has been postponed until Sunday afternoon. That stinks, but at least the game hasn't been canceled. 
As for Thanksgiving itself, I know mine will look a little different. While the football and food will be mostly the same, I won't be surrounded by the same people I usually am, and that's more than just a little bit sad. Still, if the most challenging part of my life will be the year when I had to wear a mask in public places and didn't get to spend holidays with my family, then I'll have lived an incredibly charmed existence.
An existence that would only have been helped by placing winning wagers. So don't for a moment think that I was going to let you head into Thanksgiving without some picks for Thursday's games. There won't be a PM edition of this newsletter tomorrow, so we're taking care of it today. And Because it's the holiday season and I'm feeling thankful for you, I'm going to toss in a college basketball pick for tonight as well. It's almost Thanksgiving! Let's overeat!
First, let's catch up on today's news.
  • Nick Saban will miss the Iron Bowl after testing positive for COVID-19. This one isn't a false positive.
  • Who are the College Football Playoff contenders, and what are their paths to victory?
  • The world of sports lost an icon Wednesday.
  • You can't start a college basketball season without reading Matt Norlander.
Now, time to talk turkey.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Washington Football Team at Cowboys, Thursday, 4:30 p.m. | TV: Fox
The Pick: Football Team +3 (-120)
: I like to track trends when it comes to gambling just to see if anything emerges. I began tracking around three weeks into the season how underdogs were performing in The NFL's worst division, more commonly known as the NFC East. My theory was nobody in the division is good enough to warrant being favored against anybody, even fellow NFC East teams. And you know what? My theory has proven to be right so far.
In the 2020 season, there have been eight divisional games in the NFC East. The underdog has gone 7-1 ATS in those eight games. The only favorite to cover came at the beginning of the month when the Eagles, as 10-point favorites, beat the Cowboys 23-9. You might remember that as the game when Dallas was reduced to starting Ben DiNucci. So, it turns out that only a third-string QB can keep an NFC East underdog from covering against another NFC East underdog.
As for these two teams, Washington was a 1-point underdog when they met back in late October, and the Football Team won 25-3. It was a battle of backup QBs as Kyle Allen was starting for Washington. This week, it'll be Washington's third-stringer Alex Smith starting, but Alex Smith isn't Ben DiNucci. Nor are the Cowboys good enough to be favored against anybody. Washington's defense will be the difference and keep this one close at a minimum.
Key Trend: The underdog is 28-13 ATS in the last 41 meetings.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has been basting a pick for this game all day. It has a few leans you might want to know about.
💰 The Picks
Texans at Lions, Thursday, 12:30 p.m | TV: CBS
The Pick: Texans -3 (-110) -- 
I liked this line a lot better when it was still at 2.5 earlier in the week, but there's still value on it at 3. It certainly isn't fun taking the Texans as road favorites in any situation, but I'm not too fond of this matchup for the Lions. We've seen them in similar spots in previous weeks against bad defenses and thought they'd come through. They haven't. I'm not going to start trusting them to do so now. Plus, you know, betting against the Lions is a great way to make money these days. We're talking about a team that is only 6-15 ATS in its last 21. They're also only 8-12 ATS at home under Matt Patricia.
Key Trend: The Lions are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games as an underdog.
🏀 College Basketball
Colorado vs. South Dakota, 8 p.m | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Under 145 (-110) -- 
Typically, I don't bet college basketball games early in the season. With so much turnover on each roster with draft departures, graduation and transfers, I like to get a clearer picture of what I'm dealing with. This season, given the circumstances teams are dealing with, things are likely to be stranger than usual early in the season. So, looking at tonight's board, it wasn't easy to find something I felt good enough about to share with you here. But I did find this game. I like unders at neutral courts because it's unfamiliar surroundings for both teams, so it takes some time to adjust. Combine that factor with it being the first game of the season and teams not having the same kind of scrimmages and practices leading up to a season, and I expect offenses to be a bit rusty. Finally, Colorado is a team that isn't in a rush and doesn't mind using up the clock on offense. That, combined with its defensive efficiency, should help depress scoring tonight.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine analyst Zack Cimini has returned his followers a profit of nearly $3,000 with his college basketball picks. Now, he has released his top value selections to win the 2021 national title.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans -- With the Steelers and Ravens game being postponed, it reduces our options on Thursday's slate, but I was already planning to have a lot of Deshaun Watson anyway. For all the problems the Texans have had this season, Watson hasn't been one of them. He had a couple of duds early in the season against Baltimore and Pittsburgh but played well until having to play during Cleveland's version of a monsoon a couple of weeks ago. Last week he rebounded against the Patriots, who deploy a defense similar to the one he'll see on Thursday from the Lions. 
J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington -- I like the floor McKissic provides in a matchup against a subpar Dallas defense. He's seen his usage increase in recent weeks. Last week, against Cincinnati, McKissic had nine touches for 69 yards. In the two weeks before, he saw a total of 29 targets in the passing game. I don't know if he'll see that many on Thursday, but I wouldn't be surprised to see that number creep up near double-digits. If he can convert one of them into a touchdown, it could be the difference between a good and a great day for your lineups.
Full lineup advice
SportsLine's team of DFS insiders has you covered for daily fantasy sports. Mike McClure has won almost $2 million playing DFS, and Jacob Gibbs was ranked as one of the nation's most accurate Fantasy experts last year. Plus, use SportsLine's all-new DFS Optimizer to get optimal NFL DFS picks from 10,000 simulations.
⚽ Turkey Day Europa League Parlay
A four-leg parlay paying +238.
  • Hoffenheim -225
  • Bayer Leverkusen -650
  • Roma -125
  • Napoli -800
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Watch Now
The Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions are set to battle in a Thanksgiving Day showdown on CBS at 12:30 PM ET. Stream the game live on CBS All Access.
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