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Favorites on Thanksgiving usually deliver for public

It has become a Thanksgiving tradition to see the Detroit Lions get slaughtered. Most bettors probably expect the trend to continue today with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on the opposite sideline.

Belichick’s rebuilding plan is ahead of schedule. The Patriots, tied for the NFL’s best record at 8-2, are 6½- to 7-point favorites at Detroit. Predictably, the betting public is supporting the Patriots.

In fact, Las Vegas sports books are taking more action on all three of today’s favorites. That’s another annual trend.

“The books rarely do well on Thanksgiving,” said Micah Roberts, a VegasInsider.com analyst and former sports book director. “It always goes the bettors’ way, and I have no idea why. The favorites always get bet, and they always seem to cover.”

Betting against the Lions, losers of their past six Thanksgiving games by an average of 23 points, has been a successful starting point.

Detroit is the subject of a wagering oddity this season, however. The Lions are 2-8 straight up but 8-2 against the spread.

The Patriots’ Tom Brady will be one of two elite quarterbacks on display today. Drew Brees leads the New Orleans Saints into Dallas in the second game. The Saints, on a three-game winning streak, are 3½-point favorites over the Cowboys.

At least the Lions are covering spreads and the Cowboys are rallying behind interim coach Jason Garrett.

It’s tougher to make a case for the Cincinnati Bengals, who are 2-8 straight up and 3-7 ATS. The Bengals are 9-point road underdogs to the New York Jets (8-2) tonight.

■ R-J CHALLENGE — Four of 10 competitors in the Review-Journal NFL Challenge, which is published Sundays, are playing games today based on the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest lines.

R-J sports editor Joe Hawk is siding with the Patriots (-6½). Hilton sports book director Jay Kornegay is on the Lions. Las Vegas handicappers Doug Fitz and Mark Franco are on the Saints (-3½).

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907.

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