NFL Thanksgiving Player Props: Will Deshaun Watson Lead in Passing Yards?

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We’re just a day away from Thanksgiving. While Thanksgiving may look a lot different this year for most people, one thing we know is that the day will be jam-packed with football. The NFL has two games on the schedule this year, so you can complement your turkey and stuffing with a nice helping of football bets. The originally-scheduled Ravens-Steelers game was unfortunately postponed until Sunday night.

The online sportsbook BetOnline has plenty of Thanksgiving-specific prop bets available for your perusal. In this space, we’ll cover three of them. You can bet on which players will lead the Turkey Day slate in passing yards, rushing yards, and receiving yards. Let’s break it all down and find the best bets, shall we?

Passing Yards Leader

  • Deshaun Watson (+275)
  • Matthew Stafford (+300)
  • Alex Smith (+350)
  • Andy Dalton (+375)

The first game of the day between the Texans and Lions has the highest over/under at 51.5 points. We’ve got a pair of legitimately bad defensive teams going toe-to-toe, and the indoor venue in Detroit means we don’t have to worry about any potential bad weather messing with either offense.

The Houston Texans have been one of the most pass-happy offenses in football since Bill O’Brien was canned. That’s music to the ears of Deshaun Watson, who has put together a stellar season despite the Texans’ underwhelming win/loss record.

Watson enters Week 12 with the sixth-most passing yards in the league (2,883), which puts him behind only Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers.

Houston is favored by just 2.5 points, and Watson has topped 300 yards passing in five of his 10 games thus far. None of the other QBs taking snaps on Thanksgiving rank above 13th in the league in passing yards. That’s where we find Matthew Stafford, who has historically fared much better in terms of racking up numbers on his home field.

Watson is the clear-cut favorite here at +275, and with good reason. Alex Smith and Andy Dalton are a couple of backups that don’t really have reputations for being gunslingers. That game could turn into a shootout on the turf in Arlington, but betting on the Thanksgiving passing yardage leader coming from the Houston-Detroit game makes the most sense. Watson is the safer bet, but Stafford (+300) offers slightly more value.

With the Detroit Lions being slight underdogs at home, the game script could mean Detroit has to take to the air more often than not. The Texans have allowed more than 250 passing yards per game this season, which is one of the worst marks in football. I’d take a shot on Stafford’s +300 odds to be your Thanksgiving leader in passing yards.

Passing Yards Leader –Stafford (+300)

Rushing Yards Leader

  • Ezekiel Elliott (+300)
  • Other (+600)

This slate originally featured the NFL’s best rushing team in the Ravens, but the removal of their game against the Steelers makes Ezekiel Elliott a very obvious favorite to lead the day in rushing yards.

Ezekiel Elliott (+300) leads all those playing on Turkey Day with 675 rushing yards on the year, which puts him slightly ahead of James Conner (645). Elliott has racked up 26 more carries this season than Conner has, and we no longer have to worry about the Steelers playing on Thursday.

Elliott was held to just 45 yards the last time he faced Washington, but the Cowboys fell into a massive early deficit in that game. Dallas Cowboys is a three-point favorite over The Football Team this time around.

The Texans haven’t been rushing well at all since David Johnson went down. The Lions will get D’Andre Swift back, and the dynamic playmaker gives Detroit’s running game more upside than it had last week against Carolina. Swift’s presence makes the “other” bet look somewhat appealing at +600, especially given the fact that Houston has been the worst defense in the league in terms of stopping the run this season.

As I see it, you have two options here. Zeke at +300 is a fine option considering he’s the bell-cow back for a betting favorite. Your other option is “other” at +600, as you’re covering Swift, Duke Johnson, Antonio Gibson, and JD McKissic with favorable plus-money odds. If you want some upside, bet “other” at +600. If you want safety, Zeke is the clear-cut best bet.

Rushing Yards Leader –Elliott (+300) or Other (+600)

Receiving Yards Leader

  • Terry McLaurin (+600)
  • Will Fuller (+900)
  • Other (+1000)

Terry McLaurin is the most underrated player in all of football. Probably because he plays in relative obscurity in Washington. Despite the Washington Football Team’s revolving door of quarterbacks over the course of McLaurin’s season-and-a-half in the pros, the Ohio State product has been the most productive pass-catcher in the NFL.

Through his first 24 NFL games, McLaurin has racked up more receiving yards than Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald did through their first 24 NFL games. Think about that for a second.

Washington’s passing attack leaves plenty to be desired, but McLaurin has still found a way to put up numbers. The speedster currently ranks fourth in the league with 871 receiving yards this season on 62 catches. He has attracted at least seven targets in every game, and the Cowboys’ defense seems to get shredded every week. Just last Sunday, they made Kirk Cousins look like Aaron Rodgers. McLaurin finished with 90 yards and a score when these two teams met back in October.

Houston’s Will Fuller (+900) is a solid bet here given the Texans’ propensity to throw the ball. Fuller is the primary big-play threat in this offense, and he has topped 100 yards four times already this season. Brandin Cooks has actually gotten more volume of late in the Texans’ passing attack, though, which makes “other” at +1000 look somewhat tempting.

Cooks has garnered at least nine targets in five of his last six games, so he has clearly become one of Watson’s more trusted targets in the Texans’ passing attack. Cooks has been one of the steadiest sources of production for one of the most pass-happy offenses in football, which makes “other” at +1000 a very appealing option if you’re not sold on McLaurin.

I really can’t go away from McLaurin here, though. He continues to get heavy volume even with Alex “Captain Checkdown” Smith under center, and the Cowboys have been gashed by opposing receivers all year long. The value on McLaurin to lead Thanksgiving in receiving yards at +600 is too good to ignore.

Receiving Yards Leader –McLaurin (+600)
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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