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Give Thanks for the NFL we are about to receive (and a tasty 6/1 first touchdown tip)

Paddy Power's Micheal Nagle gets stuck into a huge night of NFL with some tips to pay for the beers...

by Micheal Nagle | November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving is an excuse for lazy Americans to put their feet up, watch NFL and stuff themselves with as much turkey and pumpkin pie as humanly possible. Over at this side of the pond it’s an opportunity for us NFL fans to put our feet up, watch NFL at a reasonable hour on a Thursday and… not eat that much.

But what a feast of Gridiron we have in store this Thanksgiving. There’s probably never been a better bill of Thanksgiving games than the three divisional match-ups we’ve got in store on the last Thursday of November in 2014. So let’s get our teeth into the action….

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Chicago Bears (+7.0, 20/21) @ Detroit Lions (-7.0, 20/23) 17.30

As always, the Lions host a NFC Northern Divisional rival at home on Thanksgiving. The Bears have struggled this year after a promising start and their offense with Jay Cutler at the helm is really not fulfilling its potential. Chicago have lots of talent in their skill positions with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey at wide receiver and Matt Forte a stud running back, but Cutler turns it over too much and struggles to get the ball to them. Similarly, Detroit have an offense full of fire power which has been failing to fire this season. It’s been their defense and their monstrous defensive line which has helped them reach a 7-4 record.

They’re averaging just 17.9 points this season and have failed to score a touchdown in their last two games. But I predict the Lions will come out of this slump on Thursday. Lions QB Matthew Stafford and Megatron are just too good NOT to punish this abysmal Chicago defense. Detroit have a really good home record on Thanksgiving and will be quite focussed for this divisional tie on prime time TV with a meaningless game against Tampa Bay coming up in 10 days. Detroit are -7 on the spread at 20/23 with Paddy Power which is a very tempting bet indeed. On top of that Calvin Johnson at 6/1 to score the 1st TD is too tempting a price to refuse. Lions to win by at least TEN POINTS.

Philadelphia Eagles (+3.0, 21/20) @ Dallas Cowboys (-3.0, 4/5) 21.30

Another divisional match-up in the second Thanksgiving game with these bitter NFC Divisional Rivals duking it out for the top spot and bragging rights amongst their fans. These are two teams with the same record (8-3) but who have had contrasting fortunes to date. This Dallas Cowboys team are built on a strong offensive line and a strong running game with DeMarco Murray on track to beat Eric Dickerson’s all-time single season rushing record. In fact, DeMarco Murray on 1,354 has more rushing yards than 25 NFL teams!

The Eagles have been getting by with a strong defense and with Chip Kelly as coach have relied on this ‘Offensive God’ to work his magic when in attack. Now with back-up Mark Sanchez at QB, the Eagles will rely on Kelly to drum up even more magic if they’re to have any chance of scoring on this underrated Cowboys’ Defense.

With stud DeMeco Ryans missing from the Eagles’ Defense I expect Dallas to score both in the air and on the ground against Kelly’s heroes. While the Cowboys’ defense will definitely turnover the ball multiple times in this game. Dallas -3 at 4/5 is the bet I like this game, while a sneaky few quid each on Jason Witten to score the first TD at 11/1 also appeals. The Boys to win by SEVEN POINTS.

Seattle Seahawks (+1.5, 20/21) @ San Francisco 49ers (-1.5, 20/23) 01.30

If you’re a night-owl then staying up late for this NFC Western Division game comes highly recommended. These two teams straight out hate each other and after knocking lumps out of each other in last year’s Championship Game, the 49ers will be looking for revenge against the defending Super Bowl Champions. Both teams have 7-4 records and are playing catch-up on Arizona Cardinals (9-2) in their division and in the race to win a playoff spot. This game at the spanking new Levi’s Stadium will go a long ways to deciding who is still playing football in January.

Both teams have been inconsistent this year, to say the least, with rumours of unrest in the San Francisco camp and things not running very smoothly in the Seahawks camp on the back of the Percy Harvin trade to the Jets. The Niners have struggled on Offense this year with Frank Gore finally starting to look old at RB and Colin Kaepernick still searching for some consistency.

The Seahawks’ D has not been its usual self, particularly on the road and QB Russell Wilson took a pounding like week when he was sacked SEVEN TIMES by the Arizona Cardinals. For those reasons I’m going for the 49ers to win this game and that’s why they’re bet of the night at -1 20/23 on the spread! The 49ers will get to Wilson and I think we’ll finally see their Offense come good on their new home field. Expect to see rookie RB Carlos Hyde get a bit more of a workload so him to score the first TD at 14/1 is an opportunity too good to refuse. The 49ers to get revenge and win by FIVE POINTS.

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