As another NFL season gets underway, fans know where to go first. The destination is Thursday Night Football, which has evolved from a once-in-a-while thing to a staple of the schedule.
It wasn’t too long ago that NFL games were reserved for Sunday afternoons and Monday Night Football only. Thanksgiving Day games were a huge treat, as were the occasional contests held in other time slots. Today, it’s a different story. The NFL has distinct broadcast windows each week during the regular season, and Thursday Night Football is locked in as the official starting point.
Our complete 2020 guide to TNF will cover everything you need to know about NFL betting on Thursday Nights, including where you can catch the games each and every week and up-to-the-minute TNF lines & odds.
The first NFL game of the week gets the juices flowing from a betting perspective, but you’ll naturally want to make sure that you’re getting the best prices that you can. Bookmark this page and come back regularly, as we’ll have the latest odds at multiple sportsbooks for easy line shopping.
See below for the best moneyline, spread and totals odds for this week. Click on any odds to go directly to the sportsbook, claim your bonus and register your account. Use the drop-down menu on the right to change your state.
Each season, the NFL’s 32 teams each play a 16-game schedule with one bye week apiece (see how bye weeks affect betting here).
That works out to a total of 256 games to be scheduled over a 17-week period. It’s a herculean task for the schedule makers to make it all work.
Computers and algorithms do a lot of the heavy lifting, and particular care is given to certain situations, such as TNF.
The goal is to make sure that no squad scheduled for a Thursday night has to play on a short week more than once per season.
This year’s Thursday Night Football schedule offers many must-see matchups. Let’s take a closer look at the football games on tap. (All times Eastern)
The season opened with a rematch of an entertaining AFC Playoff game from last year. Last year the Chiefs pulled out a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Texans on the way to earning some rings; this year they fell behind 7-0 before running roughshod over the Texans for the rest of the game. Unsurprisingly, NFL MVP odds-on favorite Patrick Mahomes was brilliant,
It was the battle of Ohio in Week 2, and also the primetime debut of the top overall pick in the last NFL Draft, Bengals signal caller Joe Burrow. The Browns were a preseason darling that didn’t live up to the hype in 2019 but after a loss in Week 1 in 2020 got back to .500 with a win.
The Sunshine State was set for a clash of two squads with work to do. The Dolphins made strides in 2019 and continued doing the same with a thrashing of the Jaguars. The Jaguars have had a lot of roster turnover, but perhaps some more fresh faces are needed.
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ was the backdrop as the Jets welcomed the Broncos to town. In an overall sloppy game, the Broncos behind sub QB Brett Rypien took down Sam Darnold and the Jets. Darnold did have a highlight-reel run for a TD, though.
The Bears took a step backwards in 2019 but have righted the ship in 2020 and are off to a 4-1 start after a win against the Tom Brady-led Bucs. Nick Foles has stepped in for Mitch Trubisky and pieced together some key wins. Whether it’s sustainable for the rest of the season is still in question, though.
Week 6 brought us a potential playoff preview. The Chiefs are among the betting favorites to win the Super Bowl, while the Bills are making some noise in the AFC East. While the fans in Buffalo didn’t get to enjoy this intriguing contest in the stadium they did see a competitive game and signs of hope for a future playoff matchup.
A battle of NFC East rivals served as the starting point for Week 7 but no one expected the division to be this bad this year. The Giants have looked awful under new coach Joe Judge and won’t even come close to snapping their postseason drought this year. The Eagles and Carson Wentz, meanwhile, did just enough to eke out their 2nd win of the year.
The Falcons have underperformed dramatically in the 2020 season with several devastating, blown 4th quarter leads. They managed to hold on in this one, beating the Panthers 25-17 for only their 2nd win of the season. For a team that came into the season with playoff expectations, it’s a hollow victory. But still a victory, we guess.
This is a rematch of last year’s NFC title tilt. Both clubs had designs on reaching the promised land once again but it looks like the Packers are the surer bet. The Packers made a statement against a 49ers team that had their way with them last year, dispatching them 34-17 behind 300 yards and 4 TDs from Aaron Rodgers.
The race for the AFC South title will come down to these two teams and the Colts laid notice they won’t fade away. There’s not too much separating the Colts and Titans at this point with identical records (6-3) but this big road win might give the Colts the extra mental edge they need in a potential playoff matchup down the line.
The up-and-coming Cardinals hit the road to take on a Seahawks team that typically has quite the homefield advantage at CenturyLink. They didn’t have the boisterous crowd to bring them home but Russell Wilson and the Seahawks defence had just enough to hold off Kyler Murray and the Cards.
The Ravens and Steelers have one of the best rivalries in the NFL. After this game had been postponed twice, it was ultimately played the following Tuesday and delivered a tight game won by the Steelers over a weakened Ravens squad. Chalk this one up to what might have been
Due to the delay of the previous week’s Thursday night game, the Ravens-Cowboys tilt was postponed until Tuesday, Dec. 8. The struggling Ravens, losers of three straight, dispatched the Cowboys in Lamar Jackson‘s return to the lineup. What was once considered a possible preview of the Super Bowl LV matchup was far from it.
These two franchises squared off in Super Bowl LIII, a game that was much more compelling than the 13-3 final score indicates. This one … not so much. The Rams had little trouble adding to the Pats misery in 2020, dispatching them 24-3 and pushing the Pats out of the playoff picture for good. How far the Pats have fallen in just two years.
The AFC West is much better than expected in 2020, and we had confirmation in Week 15 with another great game between division heavyweights. The Chargers-Raiders rivalry goes all the way back to the days of the AF and this was another fun one with the Chargers pulling things out with a late touchdown in overtime.
The final game under the TNF umbrella for 2020 actually happened on Friday afternoon. It was a Christmas Day matchup between the Vikings and Saints, two clubs which have combined for some memorable meetings in recent seasons. They delivered again with a record-setting day for Saints RB Alvin Kamara, who tied a 91-year-old NFL record with 6 rushing TDs.
Thursday Night Football kicks off the NFL viewing week, and it’s also a huge highlight at legal and regulated US online sportsbooks. You’ll have plenty of different bets to consider for the game, and there are typically some intriguing promos for TNF, too.
First, here are the basic bets you can place.
For props, many will revolve around specific statistical accomplishments of the players. This is also an area in which sportsbooks may throw out some odds boosts or other special promos, so be sure to watch out for them.
While you can’t do a typical parlay bet on TNF, you can combine bets – such as a moneyline and total or spread plus total – for a shot at enhanced returns. Many of these combos will pay out at positive odds, so keep them in mind when you have a good feel for the game.
When an NFL primetime game is on the docket, live betting opens the door to even more betting opportunities. For a busy Sunday afternoon slate, you have plenty of games to pick from, whereas the night games are standalone affairs.
You can bet right along with Thursday Night Football as the game plays out on your screen. Offerings will vary based on what’s going on, but here’s a peek at what you might see.
There will also be updated odds for sides and totals as the contest plays out. You’ll even be able to drill down on bets for specific segments of the game, such as the first quarter or second half.
Live betting markets move really fast, but sportsbook apps let you handle business quickly and efficiently. You’ll find current live betting opportunities featured prominently on the betting menu as well.
Once upon a time, bookmakers out in Las Vegas served as the first and last word on sports betting odds. While those talented folks remain at the top of their game, the market isn’t cornered any longer.
Sports betting has been legalized in a number of states now, and there will be more to come. Online sportsbooks in legalized sports betting states now provide lines that are right on point with Vegas NFL odds. The latest odds for every Thursday Night Football game can be found in the odds feed above.
For a game on a short week, the home side has a built in advantage. That has held up pretty well since TNF became a regular thing, but it’s important to remember that trends are no guarantee of what the future may hold.
However, home field makes for a great tiebreaker on Thursday nights. Here are some specific strategy tips you can use for the first NFL game of the week.
Rest or travel advantage: Does either side have one? Be sure to keep an eye on what has been going on with both teams of late. For example, a team that has had a recent bye may have a slight edge over a team that’s still waiting for theirs.
Splits: This goes beyond the basic home/away advantages. See how the teams are performing on all of the big betting metrics: moneyline, spread, and totals. Also, many TNF games are divisional affairs, so take records in those games in consideration.
Team/player primetime history: Some squads and athletes excel under the bright lights, while others shine brighter during the day. As part of your research, see what’s the case with both teams and their key players when it comes to night games.
Thursday Night Football games have been a thing for some time, but they became a regular part of the later season schedule in 2006. Fast forward to 2012, and TNF was expanded to run throughout the season.
From 2006 to the present day, some clubs have been up to the task when a TNF game pops up, while others have fallen quite short. Here’s a look at some of the notable facts and figures on TNF since 2006.
Unlike the other two NFL primetime games – Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football – TNF can be found in a couple of different spots during the course of the season. Here are the networks you can find the games on a week-by-week basis.
In short, NBC handles the opening game of the season and Thanksgiving night. NFL Network handles the rest of the games with FOX along for the ride after the first few weeks are in the books.
NBC and FOX can be found on a number of cable, satellite, and streaming packages. Local affiliates also carry the feed, so an antenna will do the trick in many areas. Availability of NFL Network can vary, so make sure it’s a part of any packages you’re looking at before signing up.
Amazon Prime is back on board as the streaming home for a good part of the TNF schedule in 2020. For games in which FOX is handling broadcast duties – Week 5-11 and Week 13-16 – you’ll also be able to pick up the feed on Amazon, as well as some alternative coverage.
NBC is the home for TNF in Week 1 and 12, so streaming options can be found at NBCSports.com and via the NBC Sports App. For Weeks 2-4, NFL Network is the exclusive home. You can access via NFL.com online and mobile, but you’ll need valid login credentials from your provider to watch. Also, the Yahoo Sports app provides coverage of primetime NFL games.
When NBC covers the games in Week 1 and 12, it’ll be Al Michaels or Mike Tirico on play-by-play and Cris Collinsworth with analyst duties. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman handle business for the NFL and FOX portions of the schedule.
The network that’s handling the game will also take care of the pregame with NFL Network providing extensive coverage right up until kickoff. Amazon Prime also provides a pregame option when on board for TNF streaming.
The Thursday Night Football slate has provided us with a number of memorable moments through the years, so hopefully it’ll be more of the same in 2020. Here’s a look back at five of the best from TNF history.
The game between the Buccaneers wasn’t all that great, but the ending was quite memorable – especially for those looking for big things out of Christian McCaffrey. The Tampa Bay defense stopped the swiss army knife from scoring what would’ve been a game-winning TD at the tail end of the fourth quarter.
The was a highly-anticipated showdown between the Saints and Cowboys with viewers heading to the tube in droves. As opposed to the highlight reel that many were hoping for, the teams combined for a 13-10 hard-hitting affair that was won by the hosts at Jerry World.
The date was Sept. 21, but the scoreboard was lightning up like a Christmas tree when the Rams and 49ers clashed. Todd Gurley found the end zone three times in the first half for the visitors, who would hang on to win a 41-39 shootout that was one of the more entertaining TNF tilts of all time.
The NFL’s Color Rush experiment began with a meeting of the Bills and Jets at MetLife Stadium. The visitors’ unis were red while the hosts wore all green, and it was a bit of a visual nightmare for many viewers. The Bills came out on top by a score of 22-17 with head coach Rex Ryan nabbing the victory over his former club.
Marshawan Lynch has contributed plenty to NFL lore, and he nearly broke the internet and social media on this Thursday night back in 2011. After scoring an electrifying TD as part of the Seahawks 31-14 victory over the visiting Eagles, he was caught by the cameras casually munching away on a bag of Skittles.
Since 2006, a handful of clubs have made regular appearances on TNF, while others haven’t been on all that much. Here’s a look at the total number of appearances and records on Thursday nights for all 32 teams over that span.
|San Francisco 49ers||14||8-6|
|Las Vegas Raiders||11||6-5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||10||7-3|
|Los Angeles Rams||10||3-7|
|New England Patriots||9||8-1|
|Los Angeles Chargers||9||6-3|
|New York Jets||9||4-5|
|Washington Football Team||9||4-5|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9||2-7|
|New York Giants||8||4-4|
|New Orleans Saints||8||3-5|
|Green Bay Packers||7||5-2|
Thursday Night Football kicks off at 8:20 P.M. ET with pregame coverage leading the way prior to that. The start time is the same regardless of broadcast outlet, but pregame festivities may vary by network.
Also, the Week 16 game will actually be on Friday at 4:30 P.M. for Christmas Day. FOX and NFL are handling TV duties, while Amazon Prime provides the stream. You’ll find pregame coverage for that tilt in all three spots.