The New England Patriots (+3) are back on Thanksgiving night for the first time in 10 years, and will look to continue to ride the high from Marcus Jones' near walk-off punt return touchdown last week. Standing in their way is the 8-2 Minnesota Vikings who had a different story last week, getting beatdown 40-3 by the Dallas Cowboys.
The Vikings currently sit as a 3.0-point home favorite and are receiving just over 75 percent of the public money. The point-total for Thursday night's matchup sits at 42.5 over on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
Here are five bets to watch throughout the matchup.
This is the game. This is the game the Patriots passing attack shows some life.
To start, the Vikings secondary is extremely banged up. They will be without cornerbacks Andrew Booth Jr. (knee) and Akayleb Evans (concussion), while Cam Dantzler already resides on IR.
From there, New England should be able to find some success through the air against Minnesota's zone based defense. The Vikings have been one of the worst teams against play-action this season, allowing the third-highest expected points added per play-action attempt (+0.25). New England found some success in their under center, play action game against the Jets last week and should continue to lean on it.
To put the cherry on top, Thursday night's game in Minnesota is in a dome. Perfect conditions for Mac Jones and Co. to go to work. If the offensive line can hold up just long enough, look for New England's passing attack to have improved success through the air.
1. Mac Jones Over 19.5 pass completions (-105)
2. Mac Jones Over 222.5 passing yards (-115)
On the other side of the spectrum, Vikings' quarterback Kirk Cousins could be in for a tough Thanksgiving night. The Patriots top ranked defense has dominated of late and they could be in for another big game against Minnesota.
The heart of the Patriots' success this season has been their pass rush, which ranks second in the league with a 29.8 percent pressure rate. As Minnesota is again without star left tackle Christian Darrisaw (concussion), look for the Patriots to heat up Cousins like a Thanksgiving turkey - just like the Dallas Cowboys did (60 percent pressure rate) this past weekend.
As for Cousins, he has been dreadful under pressure this season. His completion percentage drops over 30 points while his turnover worthy play rate more-than-doubles from 2.2 to 4.9 percent when under pressure.
Look for the Patriots' pass rush to be the root of issues for Cousins Thursday night.
The pick: Kirk Cousins Over 0.5 interceptions (+100)
The Patriots' red area woes have been one of their biggest issues on the offensive side of the ball this season. Currently, the unit ranks 31st out of 32 team in red-area offense, scoring just 12 touchdowns. Part of that has been the disappearance of Hunter Henry in that area. After leading the team with nine touchdowns last season, Henry has just one this season.
If there's a week for the Patriots to turn their struggles around, it's this week against Minnesota who ranks last in the league in red-area defense - having allowed 20 touchdowns in 28 opponent trips. Henry was open for a potential pair of scores last week, but Jones wasn't able to find him. That changes this week.
The pick: Hunter Henry Anytime TD scorer (+450)
While a matchup against the 8-2 Vikings with electric skill players like Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook seems like a daunting task, this is more than a winnable game for New England. Despite Minnesota's strong start in the win column this season, they have the worst total DVOA for an 8-2 team since the metric began in 1981, and a negative point differential.
Defensively, New England has been successful this year against traditional running teams without a mobile quarterback. From there, they need to take a page from Dallas with their pass rush to make life difficult for Kirk Cousins and scheme up ways to slow down Jefferson. Certainly doable.
Don't be surprised if New England steals one on the road on Turkey day.
The pick: Patriots ML +130