For decades, the only time sports bettors and football fans could watch football games on Thursday night was on Thanksgiving Day.
That changed in 2006 when the NFL’s Thursday Night Football became a fixture of the latter part of the regular season. In the years that have followed, Thursday Night Football has expanded from a late-season highlight to a regular part of the weekly schedule.
For the upcoming season, we have football to look forward to every Thursday from Week 1 through Week 15.
NBC handles broadcast duties for the first game of the year and Thanksgiving night, while Fox and NFL Network take it from there.
This page outlines the NFL’s Thursday Night Football schedule as well as the legal betting sites available to US bettors.
Thursday Night Football makes for a great way to wrap up Thanksgiving. Thankfully, it’s an intriguing contest to look forward to between a pair of NFC South rivals. The 9-2 New Orleans Saints head to Atlanta to face off with the 3-8 Falcons.
While the hosts are in the midst of a poor season, they had the Saints number in New Orleans a few weeks back. In addition to having revenge on their minds, the Saints enter Week 13 looking to keep pace in the race for the top seed in the NFC Playoffs.
Here are the current odds for what should be an entertaining game.
Last weekend, the Saints were home playing host to the Carolina Panthers. They were big 10-point favorites at kickoff, but it turned into a closely-contested affair which went down to the wire. A 33-yard Will Lutz field goal as time expired sealed the deal for New Orleans, as they escaped with a hard-fought 34-31 victory.
Drew Brees missed a couple of starts to injury, but he’s having another solid season with 11 TDs versus four INTs. Alvin Kamara leads the way out of the backfield at 114/526/1, and he has also added on a receiving line of 60/421/1. Michael Thomas has been stellar in the passing game at 104/1,242/6. Demario Davis leads with 80 tackles, while Cameron Jordan is tops with 9.5 sacks.
The Falcons were also at home on Sunday as they welcomed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to town. The team had won two straight heading into the game and walked on the field as 3.5-point favorites. Unfortunately, the club’s strong run of play came to an end. The Buccaneers held a 19-10 lead at the half and never looked back in a 35-22 win.
Matt Ryan has been decent this season with 18 scores versus 10 picks, but the Falcons offense hasn’t been as potent as previous years. Devonta Freeman has been on the shelf, so it has been a committee approach in the backfield. Julio Jones leads the receivers at 64/950/4. De’Vondre Campbell leads with 96 tackles, while Grady Jarrett is tops with 5.5 sacks.
Atlanta leads the all-time series with New Orleans by a margin of 53-48. Earlier this season, the Falcons picked up a 26-9 win on the Saints home turf.
For the season to date, New Orleans is 7-4 against the spread and 6-5 on the Over/Under. Atlanta is 4-7 both ATS and on totals.
Since the 2016 season, the Saints are 9-2 overall as away favorites and 8-3 ATS. The Falcons are 2-2 straight-up as home underdogs over that span and 3-1 ATS.
The stakes are much higher for a Saints team which is battling for a playoff spot. The Falcons are in the midst of a lost season. That said, Atlanta was able to stun its division rival a few weeks ago and would love to do it again in front of the home crowd.
That will be far from easy. While New Orleans was clearly out of sync in the loss a few weeks back, the team took that as a wake-up call and responded with two straight wins. They’re clearly the better team on paper, so we’ll see if they can get some revenge on Thanksgiving night.
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)
This game is the first of the 2019 regular season, and we’d be hard-pressed to find a more appealing matchup.
The Packers and Bears perhaps have the most historic rivalry in the NFL, and both clubs are expected to contend for the NFC North division title this season.
Green Bay leads the all-time series with the Bears by a tight margin of 97-95-6. Last season, they split two games. The Packers pulled out a 1-point win at home, while the Bears returned the favor with a 7-point victory at Soldier Field, which is the site of this tilt.
Throughout the Thursday Night Football schedule, we will see many meetings of division rivals, including this one.
The Buccaneers and Panthers enter the season after disappointing campaigns and with several questions to boot.
For Tampa Bay, the main question is whether or not new head coach Bruce Arians will be the one to help maximize the potential of Jameis Winston.
As for Carolina, Cam Newton had offseason shoulder surgery to clean up the issue that hampered his performance last time around, and the season hinges on his return to full strength.
These two clubs hooked up for a memorable Thursday Night affair in Week 14 last season.
The Titans won the game in a 30-9 laugher, but RB Derrick Henry put on a show with 238 yards and four touchdowns, which included a 99-yard touchdown run.
Both sides have their work cut out to make some headway in the tough AFC South division. The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts were playoff teams a season ago, and they’re expected to be in the mix again. This game will help sort out the pecking order in the competitive division.
The Packers find themselves back on Thursday Night Football just a few weeks after the season opener. This time, they’ll be home to take on the Philadelphia Eagles, a team which is expected to be a contender in 2019 and perhaps makes another run at the Super Bowl. (They are receiving heavy action to win the Super Bowl at sportsbooks in the US.
This is an intriguing matchup of the old and new guard at signal-caller. Carson Wentz leads the Eagles into battle, while the veteran Aaron Rodgers lines up behind center. It’s early in the season, but this game could have a significant bearing on the NFC Playoff picture.
For Week 5, the Thursday Night Football crew heads to a city which no other NFL team wants to visit. The Seattle Seahawks have one of the best home-field advantages in football. We can expect the joint to be jumping when the Los Angeles Rams come to town for this tilt.
These two squads both made it to the playoffs last year and should be in the mix once again. Last year, the Rams won both meetings. They picked up a 2-point win in Seattle in Week 5 and followed that up with a 5-point home win in Week 10.
These two franchises have hooked up for a pair of memorable Super Bowls. Back in 2008, the Giants upset the Patriots by a score of 17-14, bringing an end to New England’s quest for a perfect season.
Four years later, New York would get the better of the Patriots once again with a 21-17 victory in Super Bowl XLVI.
New England is the defending champion from last year, and they are among the favorites to win it this time around as well. The Giants have several questions heading into the year, but one item on the agenda is an overall improvement on last year’s final record of 5-11.
It’s back to a divisional showdown in Week 7 with this meeting of a pair of AFC West clubs. The Kansas City Chiefs made it to overtime of the AFC Championship last year before falling to the Patriots. They’ll be looking to take the next step in 2019 behind talented signal-caller Patrick Mahomes.
It was an offseason of change in Denver. Vic Fangio is on board as the team’s new head coach. The team also swung a deal for Joe Flacco in hopes that he’ll answer the franchise’s long-running question at quarterback.
This will be a meeting of two NFC squads which appear to be heading in different directions in 2019. The Redskins have drafted their quarterback of the future in Dwayne Haskins, but he still has some work to do to earn the starting gig. Regardless of who is behind center, not much is expected out of Washington this year.
The Vikings are looking to bounce back from a disappointing campaign in which they missed the playoffs. That came a year after the team advanced to the NFC Championship game. This club is talented and expected to make another run at the postseason, but we’ll see where things stand for this game.
On Halloween night, we anticipate another meeting of divisional foes. The 2018 season was a lost one for the 49ers, as starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down to injury early in the year. He’s back and ready to go for this season, and optimism has been bolstered in San Francisco as a result.
The Cardinals are another team that will be breaking in a new head coach and quarterback at the same time. Kliff Kingsbury gets his shot at proving his high-powered offense can work at the pro level. Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray will be the one running the show and looking to justify being the top pick in the draft.
As the calendar changes to November, the divisional races in the NFL begin to heat up. The Los Angeles Chargers are expected to be in the mix for the AFC West crown, but it remains unclear what we can anticipate out of the 2019 version of the Oakland Raiders.
The franchise has done an excellent job of adding assets to a roster that needed serious help, but we still need to see how that translates into the product on the field. Oakland may still be a year away from competing. Los Angeles was a playoff team last year, and it’ll be a big disappointment if they’re not one again.
This game is another fantastic rivalry which gets the primetime treatment for the NFL’s Thursday night schedule. The Steelers lead the all-time series by a wide margin of 75-58-1, but the overall gap appears to be closing. The teams played to a 21-21 tie in their first meeting last year.
Pittsburgh bounced back with a convincing win the next time they hooked up, but Cleveland showed lots of improvement for the season as a whole. They should do the same this year. These two squads are the favorites to win the AFC North, so this contest could have a ton at stake.
The Texans were the winners of the AFC South last season. The reward was a meeting with the Colts at home in the wild card round. Indianapolis dominated the game, walking off the field with a 21-7 victory to advance to the divisional round.
The two clubs are the favorites to take down the division again, so this late-season affair should hold a ton of weight in the standings. In the regular season a year ago, the teams split a pair of meetings with each side picking up a road victory over their rivals.
After a full day of Thanksgiving festivities and a pair of NFL games to bet on, what better way to cap off the night than with another exciting contest? That’s what should be in store in Atlanta as the Saints hit the road to take on the Falcons in the primetime game. Last year, New Orleans won both meetings over Atlanta.
In the first matchup, the teams combined for a whopping 80 total points as the Saints won a thriller in overtime. Round two wasn’t as close as the Saints prevailed by 14 points. On Thanksgiving night, another big helping of points could be on the menu when these two rivals collide.
The second-to-last Thursday Night Football game of the season features two 2018 playoff teams who are expected to contend once again.
Said another way, the stakes should be high for this matchup in the Windy City.
Both the Cowboys and Bears can bring the defense so that we could be in for an old-fashioned slugfest.
This late-season contest could have a significant impact on the NFC Playoff standings, so we would advise having your popcorn on standby.
The final game on the 2019 NFL Thursday Night Football schedule is an intriguing one. The Jets have added a lot of talent in the offseason and a new head coach to boot. However, the team also parted ways with its general manager after the draft and free agency.
The Ravens won the AFC North last year and should be in the mix once again. New York could go one way or the other. New faces such as Le’Veon Bell and CJ Mosley could spark significant improvement on both sides of the ball. Questions are still lingering, though.
That’s 15 quality games to look forward to for what should be an exciting season of NFL’s Thursday Night Football.
As the first NFL game of the week, Thursday Night Football receives a ton of attention in the sports betting community. Just like all of the other games on the docket, there are plenty of ways to get in on the action.
Betting on the point spread is the most popular wager, but point spreads and moneyline bets also receive their fair share of attention. For the standalone primetime games, prop bets are also quite popular.
Live betting is growing in popularity as well, especially among younger generations. There are plenty of ways to get in the game with NFL’s Thursday Night Football, but there are also a few pointers to keep in mind.
Handicapping these games can be a little tricky, as the majority of teams involved will have just finished playing a game the previous Sunday. That makes for a short week of preparation for the next game.
The players can impact performance levels, and game plans can suffer as a result. While you should approach these games the same as you would any other on the schedule, these are some of the additional factors you should consider.
There are a few places you can catch NFL’s Thursday Night Football.
NBC has the rights to the opening game of the season, as well as the contest on Thanksgiving night.
The NFL Network gets a couple of games early in the year all to itself, while the remainder of the Thursday night games are broadcast on both NFLN and Fox.
In addition, each of the outlets will have a streaming option available via their online or mobile presence.
For those wishing to watch the stream on NFL Network, this will require a subscription to a cable television package as well.
As for those who have cut the cord, many of the major streaming services include NBC, Fox and NFL Network as part of their packages.
Normal handicapping rules apply for NFL Thursday Night Football, but there are a few points to keep in mind as the season moves along. For this game, both teams are fresh and have had a full offseason to look ahead to this game.
Once the regular season gets going, that won’t be the case for teams playing on TNF. Many of the clubs involved will have just wrapped up a game the previous Sunday. That means they not only had a short week of preparation, but also less time to recover.
That can impact the output we see during the game. Naturally, teams can over- or under-perform anytime they step on the field, but this is a factor to keep in mind.
As such, keep a close eye on the injury reports heading into TNF. Players who are banged up may be more limited than normal due to the short week. In addition, factor the overall rest and travel of each team into the equation.
The side which has had more time to rest will naturally be fresher, and the same applies for the home team.