Week 13 of the NFL season kicks off Thursday night with a matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are 7-4 on the season, 8-3 against the spread and 6-5 to the over. They are coming off a Thanksgiving loss to the Las Vegas Raiders 36-33. The Saints are 5-6, 5-6 ATS and 6-5 to the over. They are coming off the receiving end of a beatdown by the Buffalo Bills in the nightcap on Thanksgiving. 

The Cowboys are likely going to be down two WRs as Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson are yet to practice this week. The good news is that CeeDee Lamb has practiced in full after suffering a concussion two Sundays ago that forced him to miss the Thursday game last week. The Saints also have some good injury news as Mark Ingram is practicing in full and Alvin Kamara has logged limited work as well. Both guys missed the game last Thursday and are trending towards playing this week.

 

 

Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints

(Cowboys -4.5, O/U 47.5, DraftKings Sportsbook)

The big news here is that Taysom Hill has been under center for most of the first-team reps for the Saints this week. Sean Payton is playing coy, saying we will have to wait before he makes an announcement about the starting QB. It does look like Hill will be ready to go as long as his foot injury does not flare up in the next few days. He will likely be joined in the backfield by both of his running backs that missed the game last week, so the Saints offense is getting healthy again. Last year, we saw Hill as the QB for a few games and it was positive for New Orleans. The Saints played noticeably slower paced in those games. Something to keep in mind here as the under is now more likely to hit. 

On the Dallas side, they will be down a few men at WR, but they still have CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Noah Brown would likely be the No. 3 WR if Cooper remains out and Cedrick Wilson is not cleared to play by game time. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard are all good to go, so the Cowboys offense has plenty of weapons to attack with. This is a matchup of strength vs. strength as the Cowboys offense is a top-three unit in the league this year and the Saints defense has been top three on that side of the ball. The real key to this game is on the other side of the ball. Despite the narratives floating around, the Saints offense is a top-12 unit and the Cowboys defense a bottom 10 one. This spread opened at -6 and I mentioned we should be hammering that number in the opening lines video on FTNBets. At +4.5, I think we still have some value on the Saints side of the game, but it’s obviously not as juicy as it was on Sunday when the opening lines were released. I lean Saints getting the points here, but I think the better bet is actually the under as unders have cashed at a 55% clip in 2021 and the Saints played to the under most of the games Hill started in 2020. 

The Picks: Saints +4.5, under 47.5

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Prop Bets for Thursday Night Football

Taysom Hill Finds the End Zone

(Anytime touchdown, +275, DraftKings Sportsbook)

If Hill is indeed the starter, this is way too good a price to pass up. BetMGM and FanDuel already dropped this down to +200 or lower. DraftKings offers the best price in the market currently at +275. Hill is basically a starting running back and they will use him on read options and wildcat looks down near the goal line. He also had some runs last year that were longer than 10 yards for touchdowns, so he definitely is a threat to score. 

CeeDee Lamb Gets Good Yardage in His Return

(Over 60.5 receiving yards, -115, BetMGM)

Lamb is practicing in full. He had already overtaken Amari Cooper as the No. 1 WR on Dallas, but having Cooper out will only help his cause. The 60.5-yard prop does seem a little too low here for a guy who had been on fire before the concussion kept him out for a game and a half. Lamb has played in 10 games this year. If you exclude the game he was injured in, he had gone over this prop number in seven of the other nine games he was active. I know the Saints have a good secondary, but Lamb should get the volume to be able to eclipse this total. 

Ezekiel Elliott Tallies a Score

(Anytime TD, +125, FanDuel Sportsbook)

Zeke is +125 on FD to score, but just -120 on BetMGM. The -120 is more in line with expectations here, which means the 45 basis points better the price is on FD creates a good value. Everyone worries about Pollard stealing work from Zeke and that is a concern, but not in the TD department. Zeke has scored nine times in 11 games this year. Pollard has two, one of them was a kickoff return. When the Cowboys have the ball down near the end zone, Zeke is the one who gets the carries to bang it in behind that big offensive line. Anything above even money is a good value for him to score, so at +125 that is a steal.