Let’s make sure your Thanksgiving is a profitable one. Here are two bets for your Thursday parlay. Top sportsbooks have released their NFL odds for Thursday’s Thanksgiving action. Two games, in particular, stand out to me as worth investing in Las Vegas vs. Dallas and Buffalo vs. New Orleans. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for the first game and the total for the second. Feel free to parlay both bets at an online sportsbook in order to maximize your profit.
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys
Thursday, November 25, 2021- 4:30 PM EST at AT&T Stadium
The Importance of Running The Ball
All Cowboy losses have featured fewer than 100 rushing yards from the offense. Dallas lost three games: to Tampa Bay, Denver, and Kansas City. In those three games, the Cowboys mustered 60 yards on the ground against Tampa Bay, 78 against Denver, and 82 against the Chiefs.
Failure to run the ball makes the offense effectively one-dimensional. It places too much onus on quarterback Dak Prescott, who is less likely to succeed when he has to do too much. Running normally isn’t a problem for the Cowboys, though. With two starter-caliber running backs in Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas ranks fifth in averaging 133.8 rushing yards per game.
Raider Run Defense
With my best bets in mind, I am a believer in Dallas’ run game this week because it faces one of the worst run defenses in the NFL in the Raiders. Las Vegas’ problems defending the run may not have been super transparent at the beginning of the regular season as it started 3-0 and two of its first three games came against very pass-heavy Pittsburgh and Miami teams.
However, the problem -- with run defense -- has been apparent from the beginning, since the Ravens amassed 189 rushing yards on 5.6 YPC in their season-opening shootout. Given the Raiders’ consistent struggles against the run, they rank 29th in limiting opposing rush yards per game.
Perhaps due to the plethora of off-the-field issues that have leveled the Las Vegas locker room, the Raiders are out-of-sync. They currently suffer an 0-3 ATS streak as they lost as the favored team against the Giants before being blown out at home by Kansas City and Cincinnati.
Keep this trend in mind for your sports betting. One constant element during their losing streak has been the lack of offensive productivity. The Raiders have scored 13, 14, and 16 points in their last three games, respectively. Their 13-point output against the Bengals is particularly telling given Cincinnati’s recent defensive struggles.
Without Henry Ruggs, the Raiders lack explosive playmaking in the passing game. Poor offensive line play, especially in the interior, has already made their ground game one of the NFL’s least productive ones.
Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints
Thursday, November 25, 2021 - 8:20 PM EST at Caesars Superdome
Slow starts are a consistent problem for the Saints. Know for your NFL picks that, since Trevor Siemian took over the starting quarterback job for the injured Jameis Winston, the Saint offense has been non-existent in the first halves.
Against Atlanta, the Saints scored zero first-half points.
When they faced Tennessee a week later, they produced six first-half points. Most recently, they managed seven first-half points in Philadelphia. This trend is significant because slow starts mean that the Saint offense has to pass its way back into the game.
Passing the ball, though, is really hard to do against the Bill defense which ranks second in the NFL in limiting opposing passing yards and first in limiting the opponent’s passer rating.
Saints Pass Defense
New Orleans’ pass defense, though, has also been top-level. The Saints rank fifth in limiting the opponent’s passer rating. They do a strong job mixing up coverages and are one of the better teams at reaching the quarterback. Given this defensive strength, they’ve succeeded against the likes of Tom Brady, harassing Brady in what was a rare turnover-heavy day for him.
The Saints’ strength against the pass is crucial because Buffalo lacks any kind of a running game. Buffalo is a pass-heavy team that benefitted from encountering Dolphin and Chief teams before their recent defensive renaissances and that generally has benefitted from facing weaker pass defenses than New Orleans’.
Las Vegas will continue free-falling as Dallas bounces back to exploit Vegas’ poor run defense while the Raiders continue to lack offensive productivity. Meanwhile, two strong pass defenses will ensure a low-scoring contest between the Saints and Bills.
For the above reasons, parlay the Cowboys and Saints/Bills "Under" for your NFL picks. Feel free to use our trusty parlay calculator for your parlay betting needs.
NFL Pick: Saints Under 46.5 at -115 with BetOnline
NFL Pick: +252 with BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.