NFL Betting: Cowboys vs. Saints Spread Pick

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 7, 2013 4:45 PM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 4:45 PM GMT

The sharps got their money in early on the Dallas Cowboys. Now the New Orleans Saints are getting all the love from the NFL betting public as they prepare for Sunday Night Football. 

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 6 inclusive:

23-19-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

4-6 Totals

Apparently there’s no point in ranting about Tony Romo. Despite all the sharp NFL betting analysis and all the football statheads out there coming to Romo’s defense, it’s the New Orleans Saints establishing themselves as the consensus pick for Sunday night’s matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) against the visiting Dallas Cowboys. Our mid-week NFL odds have New Orleans getting 57 percent support at –7.5 (+120), after Dallas got a slight edge in action from the early birds.

Haters Gonna Hate

If you’ve been playing any online poker, and you’ve been studying your craft, you probably know better than to correct other players at the table when they make mistakes. But that’s the great thing about sports betting: Fish don’t learn. Not very quickly, at least. You can always rely on a good percentage of the NFL betting public to typically make dumb decisions. They have a story in their heads, and they’re sticking to it.

You can also count on casual bettors to come out in droves for the Saints. This is a fine football team, No. 7 in the league in efficiency according to Football Outsiders. And a profitable one (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS) at that. But the market for New Orleans may have reached its saturation point. The Saints are No. 2 on the public money list, and they’ve dropped the cash in two of their last three games, losing on the road to the New England Patriots (–2.5) and the New York Jets (+6).

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Vilma!

The Saints have been losing more than football games lately. They also lost LB Jonathan Vilma for the rest of the season after the three-time Pro Bowler made his season debut against the Jets. Vilma’s surgically repaired left knee apparently wasn’t strong enough to keep him in the lineup going forward. The Saints defense might not miss him much; they’re No. 13 in efficiency this year after finishing dead last in 2012 – thanks, Bountygate.

Then you have the issues on the other side of the ball. TE Jimmy Graham, by far the Saints’ leading receiver with 49 catches and 10 touchdowns, was held out of Wednesday’s practice with nagging foot and elbow injuries. Graham is still expected to play Sunday night, as are WR Marques Colston (knee) and RB Darren Sproles (concussion).

Kick Out the Jams

Missing a Wednesday practice isn’t that big of a deal, anyway. Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (51 catches, eight TDs) also took the day off with a stiff back – keep an eye on him as Sunday approaches, just in case. More importantly for Dallas supporters, DE DeMarcus Ware (four sacks, one INT) was back at practice after missing three games with a thigh injury. That didn’t stop the Cowboys from going 2-1 SU and ATS in Ware’s absence, improving to 5-4 SU and a league-best 7-2 ATS on the season.

One of the “hidden” factors behind the Cowboys is their special teams, which lead the league in efficiency at the midpoint of the season. I don’t get to talk about these guys much in the age of the robo-kicker, but while PK Dan Bailey has done very well at 16-of-18 on field goals, its returner Dwayne Harris that’s been doing the big damage on both kicks (34.9 yards a pop) and punts (15.1 yards), including a punt return TD in Week 6 against Washington. New Orleans has the No. 19-ranked special teams in the NFL; kicker Garrett Hartley is just 16-of-21 on his field goals this year. Where’s Tom Dempsey when you need him?

NFL Pick: Take the Cowboys +7 (–115) at Bovada

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