Bovada Offering Odds on Which Will be Higher: Lowest-Rated NFL Thursday Night Football Game or Highest-Rated Thursday Night NCAAF Game

Bovada Offering Odds on Which Will be Higher: Lowest-Rated NFL Thursday Night Football Game or Highest-Rated Thursday Night NCAAF Game

Todd Gurley shakes hands with Sean McVay.

The Los Angeles Rams beat the Kansas City Chiefs in an epic Thursday Night NFL game last season. But do all NFL Thursday games outdraw their NCAA counterparts in the ratings? Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire.

  • Bovada is offering a pair of prop wagers on 2019 Thursday Night Football games
  • Will the highest-rated Thursday NCAAF game draw more viewers than the lowest-rated Thursday NFL game?
  • Will any Thursday night college game pull a higher rating than a Thursday Night NFL game in the same week?

How do you spend your Thursday nights in the fall? Some people are NFL fans, while others cotton to the college brand of football.

Bovada wonders if the mighty NFL can be outdone on Thursday nights by an NCAAF game. The sportsbook is offering a pair of head-to-head prop wagers on Thursday football during the 2019 season.

Is the NFL still king of the couch potatoes?

NCAAF vs NFL Thursday Night Football Odds

What Will Be Higher Rated? Odds at Bovada
Lowest-Rated Thursday NFL Game -2500
Lowest-Rated Thursday NCAA Game +1000

*Odds as of  07/30/19.

Sure, you can argue from a pure entertainment standpoint that a well-played college football game is much more enjoyable to watch then a sloppy NFL game, especially a late-season tilt between two teams going nowhere in the standings.

Super Bowl 54 Odds Tracker

There will always be a constituency of people who are adamant that they won’t watch the pro game at all, believing the college brand of football to be more pure. These are the same people who will tell you time and again that if sports sections devoted more time and space to local sports instead of the pro game, newspapers would be flourishing.

Lowest-Rated 2018 Thursday Night NFL Games

Game Rating Total Viewers
Baltimore Ravens-Cincinnati Bengals 4.2 7.02 million
New York Giants-Cleveland Browns 5.2 8.3 million
Denver Broncos-Arizona Cardinals 5.6 9.1 million
Jacksonville Jaguars-Tennessee Titans 6.7 10.76 million
Oakland Raiders-San Francisco 49ers 6.8 11.06 million

Well, we’re here to tell you that both of these arguments hold water about as well as the levies did in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Sure, a lot of folks watch college football. But just about all folks watch the NFL. They even tune in for bad NFL games.

The worst viewership for a Thursday Night NFL game was an early-season matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. It drew a 4.2 share and 7.02 million eyeballs, roughly the population of Houston, Texas.

The most-watched Thursday NCAA football was a clash between two Big Ten Rivals, the Northwestern Wildcats and Purdue Boilermakers. It grabbed a 1.0 ratings share and was watched by 1.741 million viewers, or about the population of Phoenix, Arizona.

The NCAA doesn’t exactly reserve Thursdays for its A-list games. It’s generally MAC and second-tier ACC games.

Pick: Lowest-Rated Thursday NFL Game (-2500)


Will Any Thursday NCAAF Game Draw Better Ratings Than TNF Game in the Same Week?

Outcome Odds at Bovada
Yes +1500
No -3000

*Odds as of

Here’s another argument that’s often put forward by college football fans – could the best NCAA team beat the worst NFL team? In other words, would the Alabama Crimson Tide defeat the Arizona Cardinals?

Well, you know what every player on the Cardinals is that only a select number of Crimson Tide players will end up? Professional football players, that’s what. And in the best football league on the planet, to boot.

Even the worst player in the NFL today is going to be better than 90 percent of those playing NCAA ball.

Highest-Rated 2018 Thursday Night NFL Games

Game Rating Total Viewers
Northwestern-Purdue 1.0 1.741 million
TCU-Texas Tech 0.8 1.233 million
Temple-UCF 0.8 1.191 million
Ole Miss-Mississippi State 0.57 1.108 million
Miami (Fla)-North Carolina 0.6 1.007 million

People want to see the best in the world in action. That’s why the top-rated NCAA  football game played on a Thursday last season drew an audience of 5.279 million fewer viewers than the least-watched NFL game on the same day of the week.

Pick: No (-3000)

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Robert Duff



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