NFL Thanksgiving Preview & Player Props: Texans at Lions

Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans (photo credit: Imagn/USA TODAY Sports)

It’s Thanksgiving week, and that means us sports fans get not one, not two, but three Thursday football games! The action kicks off in the morning with the only cross-conference matchup of the day, as the Houston Texans take on the Detroit Lions. Looking at the Texans vs. Lions betting odds, the Texans are road favorites. In this NFL Thanksgiving Day betting preview, we’ll break down the Texans vs. Lions matchup from an NFL betting perspective and provide a few free picks for the game.

Houston Texans (-3) at Detroit Lions

Thursday, November 26, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. ET
Ford Field
Detroit, MI

Houston put together its most impressive performance of the season last week, beating the New England Patriots 27-20. Meanwhile, the Lions are coming off undoubtedly their worst game of the season, a 20-0 shutout loss against a subpar Carolina Panthers team. Will Detroit be able to bounce back in their traditional turkey day spot? Let’s find out.

Detroit Offense Bottoming Out

The Lions offense has had trouble finding its footing so far this season, with injuries throughout the season ensuring that the offense never had its optimal lineup on the field. Well, the bottom completely fell out last week in a game where the Lions didn’t have D’Andre Swift, Danny Amendola, and Kenny Golladay. This lead to a 20-0 shutout against a Carolina defense that is below average in virtually every statistical category. Even though Swift is expected to return, Matthew Stafford was clearly bothered by his thumb injury and could once again be ineffective on Thanksgiving Day.

The Texans rank near the bottom in points per game allowed, giving up 27.2 a contest, so the Lions could find a decent spot to rebound after the goose egg last week.

Watson Bounces Back

After weeks of struggles, Deshaun Watson reminded Texans fans and his fantasy football owners why he earned his massive contract extension over the summer, with an amazing performance against Bill Belichick and the Patriots. It’s been a lost season for Houston, but Watson is doing all he can to keep this team afloat after they got off to a brutal start of the season with games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and Pittsburgh Steelers, who are all playoff teams at the moment.

Watson’s big game was much needed after a disaster of a contest against the Cleveland Browns, in a game that was brutalized by terrible weather. Rain won’t be a factor in this contest, as the game will be indoors, and with the exception of Randall Cobb, it looks like the Texans offense will be at near full strength, so there’s no reason that Watson shouldn’t have another big game.

To make free player prop picks, check out the SharpSide sports betting app, available now for iOS and Android.

Point Spread Pick: Texans (-3)

There are a few unwritten rules of NFL betting. One of the hallmarks is to “bet on the team that looked the worst last week.” Just ask the hosts of the Gridiron Gamble podcast, who often mention this.

Well, the team that looked the worst last week was certainly the Detroit Lions, but in this case, there are a few other factors that are outweighing that notion for us. Namely, the coaching is the factor that matters here. Last week’s shutout could be a sign of the Lions quitting on Matt Patricia, who has continued to show signs of his ineptitude throughout the season.

On the other side of the coin, the Texans look to have new life under Romeo Crennel and will likely ride the momentum of last week’s win into this short week. Take the Texans.

Deshaun Watson Player Prop: Over 31.5 rushing yards

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for Watson’s improvement in recent weeks has been his recent commitment to running more. After logging no more than 27 rushing yards in his first six games, Watson has since logged at least 36 rushing yards in his last four contests. He also has at least 7 rushes in each of those contests, so he is clearly looking to run more. Against a bad Detroit defense, Watson should have plenty of open spaces to run into should he need it. Look for him to also provide a boost on the ground if the Texans offense goes back to struggling again early on.

Duke Johnson Player Prop: Under 56.5 rushing yards

Duke Johnson has had to take on a bigger role after his fellow “DJ,” David Johnson, was put on IR with a concussion. However, Duke Johnson hasn’t done much to impress with his expanded role.

In the last three games, he’s logged just 110 yards on 40 carries, or just 2.75 yards a carry. That just won’t get it done in the NFL, and if he continues to struggle on the ground, then expect the Texans to expand the passing game and move the ball that way. Bank on three weeks of inefficiency here and take the under on this Duke Johnson player prop.

To make free player prop picks, check out the SharpSide sports betting app, available now for iOS and Android.

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