NFL Thanksgiving Day free betting preview and tips

NFL
Roger Lewis (right) can come up with another big play this week
Roger Lewis (right) can come up with another big play this week

David John has a selection for each of the three fixtures taking place in the NFL on Thanksgiving Day.

Minnesota at Detroit (1730 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event and Action)

A cracking start to the Thanksgiving action with a pivotal encounter in the NFC North and a Vikings win would see them pull three games clear at the top of the division with just five to play in the regular season.

Mike Zimmer’s team are on a six-match tear-up and impressively put a very decent LA Rams outfit firmly in their place last weekend.

Detroit have definitely been a thorn in the side of Zimmer however during his regime, posting a 2-5 record since 2014 and managing on average just 15.3 points per outing.

Things went very much to script then when the duo met at the start of October as the Lions prevailed 14-7 and the Vikings lost rookie running back Dalvin Cook for the season to a serious knee injury.

It has been nothing but positive since though for the visitors with Case Keenum growing in confidence by the week at quarterback, Adam Thielen quickly becoming one of the game’s elite wide receivers and a running game that posted a season-best total of 171 yards against the Rams.

A vastly improved offensive line could get Mike Remmers back at right tackle after some time out with concussion while a defense that kept the high-scoring Rams to just seven points is really reaching its full potential this season having enjoyed better fortune in terms of injuries.

Their run-stuffing ability has been incredible (they rank 2nd in the league) giving up on average just 77.7 yards per game, just two runs of 20 yards or more with a longest of only 29 yards.

Detroit’s running game ranks 28th in the NFL so their productivity is going to come down to quarterback Matthew Stafford once again but the signs have certainly been good on that front over the past month.

Jim Bob Cooter’s offense has averaged almost 400 yards since their bye week with Stafford throwing for 423, 361, 249 and 299 to go with seven passing touchdowns to a lone interception.

Tough as teak, Stafford now sits on the brink of history too as he is within one decent half of breaking Peyton Manning’s record of most passing yards for a player under the age of 30 - he has got some decent help on that front with Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and rookie Kenny Golladay all to target.

Minnesota’s golden run will certainly come under pressure against a team that seems to have their number currently but the visitors can prove they are the best around in the NFC outside of Philadelphia and deliver the goods.

Prediction: Minnesota 23-18 Detroit

Minnesota can win their NFC North clash in Detroit
Minnesota can win their NFC North clash in Detroit

Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas (2130 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event and Action)

Skill players generally tend to determine how a team will fare from week to week but the Cowboys have desperately missed big unit, All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith from their offensive line.

Back-to-back defeats leaves them at 5-5, miles off the pace being set by Philadelphia in the NFC East and in danger of even dropping out of the race for a place in the play-offs.

Quarterback Dak Prescott has seen his numbers plummet to an unrecognisable level in the last fortnight with Dallas managing a total of just 16 points and Prescott taking a punishing 12 sacks along the way.

I am not quite sure whether they are playing their cards close to their chest or not but have hinted Smith could make a return from back and groin issues to help keep his play-caller upright so his presence or not will have a big influence on the outcome of this fixture.

No Smith again and it could be another torrid evening for Prescott, who now faces perhaps the best pass-rushing combination in the league with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram licking their lips in anticipation.

Punters feel the Chargers have a very good chance in Texas and they have been trimmed to an odds-on quote across the board, pouncing on the home side’s current travails plus the visitors arriving on the back of a huge victory over the Buffalo Bills.

The situation is probably skewed somewhat after Anthony Lynn’s team took full advantage of quarterback Nathan Peterman’s first start for Buffalo when he was intercepted five times before being replaced by previous incumbent Tyrod Taylor in a game that ended up 54-24 in favour of the Chargers.

How effective Smith will be in any potential return is a big question mark while running back Ezekiel Elliott’s absence as he finally serves a league ban leaves another gaping void to fill and although a short week can muddy the waters further, I would rather have Los Angeles on my side in this one.

Prediction: LA Chargers 24-17 Dallas

Sky Bet's Thanksgiving NFL offer
Sky Bet's Thanksgiving NFL offer - your chance to grab a free bet!

New York Giants at Washington (Friday, 0130 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event)

Philadelphia are currently head and shoulders above the rest of their rivals in the NFC East with both the Redskins and the Giants battling it out for a few scraps from the top table.

The Giants’ season has long since sunk without trace in blaze of high-profile injuries, weak leadership from head coach Ben McAdoo and accusations of a defense predicted to dominate this season throwing in the towel but some signs of remaining life did emerge last week in a 12-9 victory over Kansas City.

"They played inspired football," McAdoo observed, all a bit late in the day as the situation in East Rutherford has really boiled down to professional pride among the players with McAdoo clinging on to a role which may not be his for very much time at all into 2018.

While they scratch around at 2-8 for a few crumbs of comfort, Washington still have some sort of hope of making the post-season but opportunities are dwindling after a heart-breaking 34-31 loss last week to New Orleans, a game where they held a 15-point lead inside the final six minutes.

Their schedule over the opening 10 weeks has turned out to be one of the toughest against teams that boast a 63-37 overall record but the way they allowed the Saints to nip past them sums up a franchise that inevitably gets in its own way at some stage or another.

"We have no choice but to keep grinding and battling," said head coach Jay Gruden but a mounting injury list genuinely leaves him struggling to field a serviceable team here with just four days to prepare.

It is hard to trust either implicitly either so I am going to look at the anytime touchdown scorer market instead with Roger Lewis well worth a second glance.

Eli Manning has had limited options for much of the season with Odell Beckham Jr and Brandon Marshall long-term injury absentees while Sterling Shepard looks unlikely to suit up here again having missed the Chiefs game due to migraines.

Lewis has shot up the depth chart as a result and came down with a tremendous late fourth-down catch to set up the winning field goal over the Chiefs so could well be Manning’s go-to target with choices increasingly thin on the ground.

Prediction: New York Giants 17-20 Washington

Recommended bets: Thanksgiving Day NFL

2pts Minnesota (-3) to beat Detroit at 21/20

2pts Los Angeles Chargers to beat Dallas at 9/10

1pt Roger Lewis to score a touchdown anytime v Washington at 3/1

Click here for our transparent tipping record.

Posted at 1645 GMT on 22/11/17.

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