New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys (+7)
Thu. 11/29, 8:20 p.m. EST
Four things you need to know before betting on Saints-Cowboys:
1. Two red-hot teams kick off Week 13 on Thursday night when the Saints visit the Cowboys. While New Orleans has 10 consecutive victories straight up, including nine straight wins against the spread, Dallas has won three straight, both straight up and against the spread. Each team has faced both Philadelphia and Atlanta this month. While the Cowboys won both games by a combined 10 points (49 to 39), the Saints won comfortably with a combined score of 79 to 24 thanks to a pair of double-digit victories. New Orleans’s 48-7 beatdown of Philly two weeks ago was the largest blowout defeat absorbed by any defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history. Although both of the New Orleans wins were at home, the team has been just as effective on the road this season, going 5-0 (straight up and against the spread) while outscoring its hosts by an average score of 36.2 to 22.4.
2. One of the keys to both teams’ success has been their ability to limit errors. The Saints enter this game with more wins (10) than turnovers (nine) this season, while the Cowboys have strung together three straight games without turning the ball over. Dallas could end up having a hard time keeping that streak alive against a New Orleans defense that has nine takeaways over its past three games and a team that is 7-0 against the spread since the start of last season when facing an opponent that commits an average of one or fewer turnovers per game. (The Saints are 14-2-1 against the spread under head coach Sean Payton when facing an opponent that commits an average of one or fewer turnovers per game.)
3. Not only are the Saints 11-3 against the spread since the start of last season when facing an opponent with a winning record, but they’ve outscored such teams by an average margin of 10.9 points per game. New Orleans has also shown the ability to avoid letdowns after convincing victories, going 8-1 against the spread since the start of last season when coming off a win by 14 or more points. The average score over the nine games following these victories by at least two touchdowns has been 36 to 18.
4. The Cowboys have run the football effectively during their current three-game win streak with 149.7 yards per game on 4.9 yards per carry. The Saints, meanwhile, have been equally impressive in stopping the run over the last two games, holding the Eagles and Falcons to a combined 84 yards on 28 carries (3.0 yards per carry) while allowing 24 combined points to their opponents. New Orleans has gone 16-5 against the spread under Payton when coming off back-to-back games of allowing 17 points or fewer, posting an average margin of more than 14 points per game over the 21 contests.
Pick: Saints -7
Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)