NFL: Thursday Night Football has its own vibe for football fans leading up to the Lions-Packer game, do home teams have an advantage?

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
NFL Sports News


  • The Lions are back on Thursday Night Football for the second time in four weeks playing the Green Bay Packers.
  • Both teams are 2-1 and tied for the lead in the NFC North.
  • What are the trends involving home teams and favorites playing on Thursday Night Football?

Since the NFL broadened its slate of regular season games to include a game every Thursday night in 2012, fans have wondered if there are any clear advantages for one team. Does the short week of practice help the home team or help the road team focus?

This Thursday night it’s a showdown for the lead in the NFC North when the Lions travel to Green Bay to play the Packers. Michigan sportsbooks list the Lions as a small favorite coming into the game, and the Lions are still favored by Caesars at +100 to win the division.

NFL fans will watch Thursday Night Football and keep asking the question. We’ve done some research and the answers may surprise you.

There’s No Place Like Home, Really?

Common sense would tell football fans that the home team has a distinct advantage playing on Thursday Night Football because they have an extra day to prepare for the game because they don’t have to travel and so they bet accordingly at Michigan sportsbooks.

So far in 2023, there have been three NFL games on Thursday nights, the home team is 2-1, but the one team that won on the road? The Lions, who stunned the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Kickoff.

We went back and looked at the full slate of 15 games from the 2022 season on Thursday Night Football, home teams won six times. In 2021, home teams did slightly better, winning eight of 15 games.

Perhaps the home field advantage isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Now, What About Favorites?

Looking back at the top American sportsbook odds for Thursday Night Football in 2022, and well, those guys are good. Favorite went 7-7 in the 15 games straight up – one game was a pick’em. The favorites covered the point spread six times.

And after three Thursday night games this season, it’s exactly 1-1-1. The Chiefs were favored over the Lions, and lost. The Eagles were favored by six to beat the Vikings and won by six. The Niners were favored by 10 over the Giants and won by 18.

The Lions Success on Thursdays

Detroit is no stranger to football on Thursdays during the regular season. The Lions play in one of the marquee Thanksgiving Day games every year.

But this is unchartered territory for Coach Dan Campbell’s squad. The Lions played in their first NFL Kickoff game to start the 2023 regular season and won. This is the first time they’ve played two Thursday night games in the first four weeks of the season (they do play again on Thanksgiving this year).

Unfortunately, the one time the Lions played the Packers on Thursday night is one of the most memorable games in the series. It’s called the Miracle in Motown when former Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed a 61-yard Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game to Richard Rodgers II to beat the Lions 27-23 in 2015. The Lions blew a 20-0 lead in that game. It’s not a happy memory.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.