If you have been thinking about getting in on New Jersey’s legal sports betting action, but have not yet done so, then I can think of no better time to get involved than Thanksgiving Day. With three pivotal NFL games featuring six NFC teams (Bears-Lions, Redskins-Cowboys, Falcons-Saints) on tap, it’s the perfect opportunity to add a little intrigue to your holiday gathering. I mean, if you’re going to sit around and have a bunch of conversations that you’re really not that interested in, then you might as well fire up a mobile sportsbook app and get a taste of the spread. And with the great promos and sign-up bonuses being offered from throughout the weekend, you will be thankful that you did.

I know, the puns, I’m sorry. They were there, and I had to do it.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at what some of the New Jersey sportsbooks are serving up this Thanksgiving and deep dives into each of the actual games to find where there is value in the lines. OK, I’m done with the puns for real now.


The action

Note: All betting lines are as of 9:00 a.m. Wednesday morning and are subject to change. In fact, they most certainly will change.

I made this chart tracking the current lines and values across the major online legal sportsbooks for each of Thursday’s three NFL games. It even has some pretty Thanksgiving artwork. Enjoy.


The specials


Now is a good time to get involved with our partner DraftKings Sportsbook. They are giving new users a $50 free bet upon registration this weekend. No nonsense. No risk. No deposit required. And, of course, get your first bet matched instantly up to $200.

SugarHouse Sportsbook

As always, new users will receive a 100% match on initial deposits up to $250. Current users can also take advantage of SugarHouse’s deposit match between now and Friday where they will tack on 25% up to $50 in 1x bonus money. SugarHouse has yet to divulge specific details of other promos, but they have told us to stay tuned for boosts, risk-free bets, and other sports offers. SugarHouse is the easiest and quickest way to get signed up and playing.


FanDuel isn’t exactly telling us what they have in store, but they plan to offer special promos via their “Thanksgiving Spread” throughout the weekend, including mystery odds boosts on Black Friday. Looks appetizing.

BetStars NJ

As always, BetStars offers a generous $50 free bet with no deposit and a $500 sign-up bonus, and a lucrative Parlay Bonus:

But you can also enjoy their Black Friday Boosts that run all the way through Cyber Monday.

Visit the BetStars homepage at noon on Black Friday for your first offer, and come back every hour between 12-4 p.m. to get Odds Boosts on the biggest sporting events.

888sport NJ

888sport NJ will give you $10 just for signing up with no deposit required, but if you sign up, they, too, offer an enticing bonus of up to $500.

Also be sure to check out 888sport NJ’s NCAA Basketball Challenge that will double payouts on parlays of at least 3 bets and odds of -200 or higher on college basketball games.


Trends to know

Chicago (7-3) at Detroit (4-6), 12:30, CBS

bears lions line

Photo credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The day’s first game kicks off in the Motor City where the Bears will look to tighten their hold on the NFC North a week after an important 25-20 win over the Vikings. Chicago rolled Detroit two weeks ago at Soldier Field after Mitch Trubisky threw for 355 yards and three scores to back a defense that limited the Lions to only 305 yards of total offense. This time around, however, the Bears may be without Trubisky after he suffered a shoulder injury against Minnesota. He was downgraded to doubtful and head coach Matt Nagy sounds uncertain that his starting quarterback will be available.

The Bears aren’t the only team with injury concerns ahead of this contest. Marvin Jones will miss another game, and running back Kerryon Johnson is out with a knee injury.

As of Wednesday morning, 59% of spread bets are on Chicago, but only 52% of the money backs the Bears. Some sharp money is on Detroit.

The Bears have been hot lately, going 4-1 both straight-up and against the spread over the last five weeks, and the over has been hot in their games as well, hitting in six of the last seven contests. The Lions, despite a disappointing 4-6 overall record, are 6-4 ATS. Aside from their Week 10 setback in Chicago, they have been excellent against the Bears in recent years and are 6-2 ATS at home against them dating back to 2010.

One more thing: Detroit has gone 4-1 ATS and straight-up on Thanksgiving since 2013.

Prediction: Frankly, with the injuries creating so much uncertainty leading up to this game, I’m not sure how you’re supposed to bet on it. If Chase Daniel is playing quarterback, then I’m 100% out on Chicago, even with that defense. Since I don’t know, and I’m on a deadline, I’m backing Detroit at home with the points. But you could also save three hours and bet on the coin toss.

Those looking to get the best value on the Bears should head to FanDuel and grab them without the hook at -3 (-110). Those liking the Lions coming off their surprising Week 11 win over the Panthers can save a few dollars in price at BetStars where they are +3.5 (-105).

As for the totals, those who want the over can grab it anywhere because it’s at 44 (-110) across the board, except at FanDuel where it’s 44.5. If you’re on the under, head there and grab the half-point.


Washington (6-4) at Dallas (5-5), 4:30, FOX

redskins cowboys line

Photo credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

This is a huge game in the wide-open NFC East. The Redskins cling to a one-game lead over a resurgent Cowboys team that was left for dead this time two weeks ago. But in order to remain atop the division they will need to win on the road with backup quarterback Colt McCoy.  Considering the Redskins weren’t exactly what anyone would call an explosive offense prior to Smith’s injury and that head coach Jay Gruden asks fairly little of his quarterback in terms of making explosive plays, losing Smith may not be the knockout blow many figure it to be. Although McCoy doesn’t have any exceptional qualities as a signal-caller, he’s one of the better backups in the league, and it’s not a stretch to think he can step in and replace Smith as a game manager. The real issue for Washington will be keeping him clean against an underrated Dallas defense. Behind a decimated offensive line a week ago, Smith and McCoy were sacked five times by the Texans defense.

Washington knocked off Dallas at FedEx Field back in late October after throttling the Cowboys’ rushing attack. Ezekiel Elliott was held to only 33 yards on 15 carries, and his longest run of the day went for only six yards. Dak Prescott has played better the past two weeks in the wake of the Amari Cooper’s arrival, but it’s been Elliott that’s really led the way, and it will be imperative for the Redskins keep him in check once again.

At the time of this post, only 41% of spread bets are on Washington, but 59% of the money backs the Redskins, so it’s clear the big-money gamblers like getting the points in this division contest.

The Cowboys are only 15-25-1 ATS under Jason Garrett as a favorite when they are coming off a win the previous week, including 0-1 ATS when they lost at Washington. Dallas, meanwhile, is 0-7 ATS and only 3-4 straight-up on Thanksgiving since 2011. And finally, the Cowboys are a woeful 4-16 ATS over their past 20 games when favored by more than a touchdown ,and that really shouldn’t come as a surprise because lines get pumped up any time Dallas looks like a functionally operational team.

Prediction: Given the Cowboys’ ability to get Ezekiel Elliott going over the past two weeks, I’ll reluctantly pick them to outlast an injury-ravaged Redskins squad at home, but is this team really, truly all that much different than the one that was about to have dirt shoveled on it two weeks ago? They beat two bad (and overrated) teams in the Eagles and Falcons. Now they’re a 7.5-point favorite? No thanks. I’ll take the points.

The Redskins are reeling after losing starting quarterback Alex Smith to a gruesome leg injury last Sunday, but those looking to back the NFC East leader against the Cowboys should head to DraftKings or SugarHouse where you can get the hook at +7.5 (-117). If you think the resurgent Cowboys will roll to their third-straight win, then BetStars is the place to be with Dallas at -7 (-110).


Atlanta (4-6) at New Orleans (9-1), 8:20, NBC

saints falcons line

Photo credit: The Daily Advertiser-USA TODAY N

If you’ve ever stood at a roulette table that’s on a run, you know it’s going to come to an end some time. That’s kind of how I look at the Saints right now. Since 2003, only nine teams, including the 2018 Saints, have covered eight-straight games ATS. Only one other team has won nine in a row while covering eight in a row. It’s been an impressive run, for sure.

Atlanta, meanwhile, limps into this game having lost on the road at Cleveland two weeks ago and was beat at the gun by Dallas last Sunday. At two games under .500, they need a win on Thursday night to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

In terms of matchups, the Saints have dropped 45, 51, and 48 points the last three weeks and appear completely unstoppable. For the season, the Saints have already scored 40 or more points six times. Also of note, New Orleans’ near-bottom-of-the-league pass defense has played better in recent weeks. It held Carson Wentz under 200 passing yards and picked him off three times during last week’s rout.

Currently, only 34% of point-spread bets back the Falcons, but an overwhelming 70% of the money likes the idea of backing an underdog with some big names on offense in this divisional contest.

In terms of historical trends, there are two strong ones that will come into conflict in this game. Matt Ryan is 19-9 ATS in his career in night games, while the Saints are 16-6 ATS in night games at home since Drew Brees arrived in New Orleans. The Saints, however, have not been particularly good as a double-digit favorite under head coach Sean Payton, going 7-14 ATS.

It’s probably also worth considering the success of favorites on Thursday nights this season. They have gone a staggering 8-2-1 ATS, and favorites of six or more points are 14-3 ATS on Thanksgiving (this also works for Dallas) over the last 16 seasons.

Prediction: It’s really, really hard to pick against the Saints right now, but I have a difficult time getting over the fact that only two teams since 2003 have covered nine-straight games, just as I have a hard time overlooking that the Saints have beat the Falcons by 14 or more points only once since 2008. At the same time, do I want to back the Falcons, a team that constantly stumbles in big spots and failed to finish drives a week ago, against a Saints team that allows no margin for error? Yuck.

In terms of the total, these two teams combined to light up the scoreboard for 80 points back in Week 3, so a total of 60 seems pretty manageable this time around. But, and I have nothing to actually back this up, I’m a little weary of taking a big over in a night game only 72 hours after we just watched a 105-point game in Los Angeles on Monday night. And here’s something else to keep in mind: since 2003, the under has cashed at a 62% rate over a 267-game sample in games featuring division rivals with a total greater than 44 after Week 11.

I’ll take the under and hold my breath.

If you think the Saints can keep their impressive streak alive, then head to DraftKings, SugarHouse, or 888sport and grab them at -12.5 (-110). Those that think Atlanta can hang around with their division rival after back-to-back losses should roll with FanDuel at +13 (-115).

Those on the over should get it at FanDuel where it’s 59.5 (-110), and those on the under can grab it at BetStars where it’s set at 60 (-105).


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