Trends and Systems That Can Help Handicap Thursday Night Football

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers. (Photo by Harry How / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

The NFL will be here soon enough and the first game of the season will be a Thursday night affair between the Cowboys and the reigning Super Bowl champion, Tampa Bay Bucs. Let’s discuss a few trends and strategies to assist with our Thursday night NFL odds!

TNF – Yay or Nay?

I have heard many fans criticize the caliber of play on Thursday Night Football, after all, both teams are usually tired and achy after playing the previous Sunday with little recovery time. It’s not surprising then that we see sloppy plays and infuriatingly inconsistent performances.

But while all that may be true, I say one thing trumps all of that…NFL football on a Thursday night! I mean, what else would you be watching anyway? Okay, so you can make a case for the NBA or NHL but nothing is better than getting another dose of the National Football League on a weekday night and betting it is even better.

So, the answer from this avid viewer is yes, yes, and yes again! Gimme that Thursday night game and toss in a few other nights during the workweek because I can’t get enough! And now that we’ve lathered up a head of steam, let’s talk about making money on these Thursday night games and taking advantage of the NFL odds at all of the best online sportsbooks. Below you can see where you can do line shopping at multiple sportsbooks and find the best value odds.

TNF Betting Strategies

  • Check the Injury Reports – This sounds like a rudimentary piece of advice and something a seasoned sports bettor does on a regular basis. But Thursday night is a different breed of cat because we will not only be looking for those sitting out the games but those whose status has been upgraded. Any player in that category has had precious little time to recover and is probably gritting their teeth and playing through pain. If you see one or more of the skill position players with an upgraded injury status then consider them to be vulnerable. The side with the most players in that category should be a solid fade. You can find updated injury reports at OddsTrader.
  • Road Teams Cashed in 2020 – You would think that teams getting the home-field advantage on a short week would perform much better than their opponent having traveled on a short week. However, road teams covered the number on 10 of 14 occasions last year while underdogs got the cash in eight of 14 instances.
  • The theory here is that the oddsmakers are inflating the lines on the home teams on Thursday night because logic would dictate the road teams would be at a sizeable disadvantage. Will that trend continue in 2021? I do believe it will so consider betting the road warriors on Thursday night.
  • Superior Teams Thrive – If we look at the overall history of TNF and teams coming off of bye weeks, we find that the elite teams, not to be confused with the favorite in a particular game, fare much better than most. The coaching staff is better equipped to work on a short week because they are either better coaches than the others or have better players executing their offensive and defensive game plans. It could also be a combination of the two but the general rule of thumb here is to identify a top-five team playing on Monday night and, barring injuries, lay the lumber.

2021 Thursday NFL Schedule

  • Week 1: Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Bucs
  • Week 2: New York Giants vs. Washington Football Team
  • Week 3: Carolina Panthers vs. Houston Texans
  • Week 4: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cincinnati Bengals
  • Week 5: Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks
  • Week 6: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
  • Week 7: Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns
  • Week 8: Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals
  • Week 9: New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts
  • Week 10: Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins
  • Week 11: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons
  • Thanksgiving Week 12:
  • Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
  • Las Vegas Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys
  • Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints
  • Week 13: Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints
  • Week 14: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 15: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers
  • Week 16: San Francisco 49ers vs. Tennessee Titans

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