NFL Picks: Raiders vs. Cowboys

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 4:10 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 4:10 PM UTC

The Oakland Raiders have done fairly well against the NFL lines, but not as well as the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s hope this Thanksgiving Day game doesn’t turn into a turkey.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 23 inclusive:

27-24-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

5-8-1 Totals

It’s always a sweat with the Dallas Cowboys, isn’t it? They were 2.5-point road dogs last week against the New York Giants, and they had the game mostly under control until late in the fourth quarter, when the Giants tied things up 21-21. That’s when “Mr. Clutch” Tony Romo methodically drove Dallas 64 yards downfield for the winning Dan Bailey field goal. Another win for America’s Team.

If it’s Thanksgiving Week, the Cowboys (6-5 SU, 8-3 ATS) must be playing on Thursday. They’ll welcome the Oakland Raiders (4-7 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) to AT&T Stadium; Oakland is coming off a disappointing 23-19 loss at home to the Tennessee Titans (–2.5), who scored the winning touchdown from 10 yards out with 10 seconds left on the clock. The Raiders opened as 10-point road dogs (–130) for this week’s matchup.

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Everyone Hates Dallas

Why was Big D getting points from the G-Men, anyway? Because New York had won four in a row? Because the Cowboys lost LB Sean Lee in Week 10 and got creamed 49-17 by the New Orleans Saints (–6 at home)? Not good enough. Dallas was still coming off a bye week, getting somewhat healthy at just the right time, and there’s still a wide statistical gulf between these two NFC East rivals.

As long as the NFL betting public is drinking the haterade, I’m going to keep supporting the Cowboys. They were No. 11 (No. 12 offense, No. 25 defense, No. 2 special teams) on the efficiency charts through Week 11, and that defense should be more efficient now that DE DeMarcus Ware, DT Jason Hatcher and safety J.J. Wilcox are all back in the lineup. Don’t let that 6-5 record fool you – Dallas had 6.6 Estimated Wins before beating the Giants.

Oakland Fog

The situation’s much grimmer in Oakland, although not nearly as grim as people feared going into the 2013 season. The Raiders are in the AFC West basement, and near the bottom of the efficiency charts at No. 31 (No. 30 offense, No. 21 defense, No. 28 special teams) through Week 11, but they’ve also snuck away with the cash in two of their losses and created a push in a third. Who says the spread doesn’t matter when you’re picking teams?

The Raiders were expected to compete in the Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes this year, but their own QBs have spoiled those plans – provided they existed in the first place. Terrelle Pryor (7.4 yards per carry) and his dual-threat skills carried Oakland to the pay window before he hurt his knee in Week 9; now Matt McGloin (88.8 passer rating) is leading the Raiders offense from the pocket, posting plus-26 passing DYAR in his first two games.

Did You Say Pat McGroin?

Very funny. But that’s the way the NFL betting public thinks. When you have a funny name (that doesn’t also sound cool, like Barkevious Mingo), people aren’t going to give you the credit you deserve. If the NFL could engineer its own quarterbacks in a lab – which I’m sure the league is working on right now – it would give them names like Brock Samson and Luke Cage.

I don’t think the undervaluing of Mr. McGloin makes up for the psychological deficit attached to Romo’s name. Plus, the Raiders lost TE Mychal Rivera (concussion), CB Mike Jenkins (concussion) and LB Kevin Burnett (bruised quad) in the Titans game. Making the short turnaround is going to be very difficult for Oakland this week.

NFL Pick: Take the Cowboys –9.5 (+102) at Pinnacle

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