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Raiders vs. Cowboys Week 12 Picks: Dallas Should Feast on Thanksgiving

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Raiders vs. Cowboys Week 12 Picks: Dallas Should Feast on Thanksgiving
Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys. Photo by Stacy Revere / Getty Images via AFP.

Per usual, the Dallas Cowboys host the mid-afternoon Thanksgiving holiday NFL game, this year featuring the struggling Las Vegas Raiders as the opponents. Read on for our Raiders versus Cowboys picks.

The Cowboys’ tradition of playing on Thanksgiving started in 1966 when then-general manager Tex Schramm sought to boost his team’s popularity. Part of the reason the Cowboys have become America’s Team is by playing on the holiday. They are 31-21-1 all-time and lost 41-16 last year to Washington.

It will be the eighth all-time Thanksgiving game for the Raiders but the first as Las Vegas. They last played the holiday in 2013 and lost to Dallas 31-24.

Here are my picks and predictions for the NFL Week 12 matchup between the Raiders and Cowboys (Odds via DraftKings; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).

Raiders vs. Cowboys Game Info

Date/Time: Thursday, Nov. 25, 4:30 p.m. ET
TV: CBS
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Weather: indoors

Raiders vs. Cowboys Odds Analysis

This opened at Dallas -7 at most books and hasn't changed yet, although a few have it at -7.5. It could be the oddsmakers/bettors are waiting on a few key Cowboys injuries before diving in. The total opened at 54.5 and is down to 51, and that's likely because two of Dallas' offensive stars are expected to be out.

The Cowboys are 9-1 straight up and 7-2-1 against the spread in their past 10 as home favorites of at least seven points. Las Vegas is 2-8 SU and 3-7 ATS in its last 10 as a road dog of at least seven points.

Raiders vs. Cowboys Picks

Cowboys -7 (-105) ★★★
Under 51 points (-110) ★★★

SEE ALSO: All NFL Picks

Raiders vs. Cowboys Predictions

Cowboys -7 (-110) ★★★

I never bet an NFL or college football game sitting right on seven points, so I highly recommend buying it down to -6.5 or perhaps waiting to see if it gets there by itself at DraftKings, although I don't believe it will.

This prediction is more of a fade on the Raiders, who have dropped three in a row. With the off-field situations of former coach Jon Gruden and 2020 first-round picks Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette (both released) in recent weeks, the Silver and Black were perhaps due to implode a bit and they have.

Keep in mind that Gruden was the offensive play-caller. While his resignation didn't change the team's fortunes immediately, the Raiders are averaging 14.3 points during the three-game skid. Quarterback Derek Carr has been picked off at least once in each game and has not thrown for 300 yards in any. Las Vegas also doesn't have someone to spread the field like Ruggs could.

Dallas should get a key player back in left tackle Tyron Smith, "barring some unforeseen setback," according to team vice president Stephen Jones. Smith practiced on a limited basis last week and was a game-time decision against the Kansas City Chiefs but didn't play.

Las Vegas is 2-5 ATS in its past seven on the road. Dallas is 6-1 ATS in its past seven at home.

Under 51 points (-110) ★★★

Let's start with the Cowboys' receiving situation. Four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper, who was acquired in trade from the Raiders in the 2018 season, missed Sunday's 19-9 loss in Kansas City due to COVID-19 protocols, and he will not play Thursday. Cooper has 44 catches for 583 yards and five scores this season.

Second-year pro WR CeeDee Lamb (concussion) will also be sidelined after failing to clear the NFL's concussion protocol in time for the Thursday clash.

Thus, Dak Prescott is likely looking at a top receiving duo of Michael Gallup, just back from injury himself, and Cedrick Wilson. We'd expect plenty of running with Ezekiel Elliott - although he banged up his knee Sunday - and Tony Pollard. In five home starts this season, Prescott has 15 touchdowns (14 passing, one rushing) with two interceptions for a 118.1 rating.

The Raiders are not good against the run, allowing 132.1 yards per game. In Sunday's 32-13 home loss to Cincinnati, the Bengals' Joe Mixon gashed them for 123 yards and two TDs on the ground.

Dallas has the Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite in sensational linebacker Micah Parsons and a Defensive Player of the Year contender in cornerback Trevon Diggs. Parsons leads all rookies with eight sacks and is the first player in the league with 60 tackles and eight sacks in his first 10 career games since 2000. Diggs leads the NFL with eight picks. I fully expect Diggs to get No. 9 versus Carr.

The Under is 7-3 in the Raiders' past 10 as road dogs. It's 4-0 in the Cowboys' past four overall.

SEE ALSO: All NFL picks and odds. Be sure to check out SportsbookReview.com's community forums and betting tools.

Raiders-Cowboys picks made 11/22/2021 at 8:02 p.m. ET