The Cowboys opened as a 5.5-point favorite but the line drifted downward across most boards with news that coach Mike McCarthy will miss the game because of a positive COVID test.
BetMGM is among a host of books offering Cowboys -4.5 as of Wednesday morning for bettors looking to lay the points with Dallas.
NFL · Thu (12/2) @ 8:20pm ET
|Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Dallas Cowboys (7-4, 8-3 ATS) at New Orleans Saints (5-6, 5-6 ATS)
Time: 8:20 p.m. EST
PointsBetLine: Cowboys -4.5 (47.5)
The skinny: A pair of teams coming off Turkey Day home losses tangle in the Superdome, with a change at QB in the works for the Saints.
The skinny: Taysom Hill, who just signed a mega contract extension with New Orleans, has been taking first-team reps at QB after Trevor Siemian lost his four starts as a replacement for the injured Jameis Winston. But a bigger concern might be that standout RB Alvin Kamara hasn’t been taking first-team reps (knee) and likely will miss his fourth straight game. But at least backup RB Mark Ingram is off the injury list.
Hill was 3-1 as a replacement for the injured Drew Brees last year, rushing a career-high 14 times in one game while operating the read option. In Dallas’ Week 3 game against Philadelphia and QB Jalen Hurts, who also likes to run, Hurts was held to 35 yards on nine carries, his second lowest output of the year.
Dan Quinn, the Dallas defensive coordinator who was fired as Atlanta head coach last season, will step in for McCarthy. But now he’ll be calling defensive shots from the sideline instead of high above the field. Several other assistant coaches also will be absent for Dallas.
Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb has cleared concussion protocol and is expected back for QB Dak Prescott, but WR Amari Cooper, who has missed the past two games, has not practiced this week (questionable, ill).
Flashback: In a Thursday night game eight seasons ago in the Dome, the Saints routed the Cowboys 49-17, setting an NFL record with 40 first downs and a franchise record of 625 yards.
Analysis: Another key returnee for Dallas is DE DeMarcus Lawrence, the team’s leading sacker in three of the past four seasons. He’s been out (foot) since playing in Week 1. And with both of the Saints’ starting tackles listed as questionable, chances are he could have a big day.
On offense, RB Zeke Elliott has been largely a non-factor since getting 100-yard rushing games in Weeks 4-5 and will be going against a defense that’s allowing a league-low 3.4 yards a rush. But New Orleans could be without run-stuffing Marcus Davenport (questionable, shoulder) for a second straight game.
What tips the wagering scales in Dallas’ favor is Hill’s poor ball security. As a rusher last season, he had a league-high seven fumbles on only 87 carries. He also fumbled three times dropping back to pass to go with two INTs.
Cowboys at Saints Pick
Cowboys 28, Saints 16
Last week: 8-7 ATS, 8-7 SU
Season total: 86-91-3 (.486) ATS; 108-71-1 (.603) SU