This week in Thursday Night Football brings us two teams in flux. The Dallas Cowboys (7-4) are first in the NFC East but are coming off back-to-back losses.
Absences from star wideouts CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper have not helped the cause for Dallas, but both are expected to suit up this week.
The Saints (5-6) have struggled immensely since losing QB Jameis Winston for the year to a knee injury. Trevor Siemian has filled in, but now Taysom Hill will have a chance to start and end their four-game losing streak.
A Saints team with Hill starting at quarterback operates in a drastically different fashion than the average NFL team, so we have a lot to analyze. Let’s dive in with our NFL Week 13 TNF props.
Please note that all odds and lines are current as of 11 AM EST on Thursday, December 2.
Cowboys vs Saints Prop Bets: NFL Week 13 Prop Betting Picks
Cowboys: First Half Moneyline (-200) at Caesars
Wager: 1.5 Units
Dallas will head into Thursday night near full strength as far as player health goes. Star left tackle Tyron Smith returned last week after missing the prior three games and is not listed on the injury report. Ezekiel Elliott also looks good to go, though Tony Pollard is a fantastic fill-in if Zeke is limited at all.
WR Cedrick Wilson has yet to practice this week, but even if he sits Dallas will still have Cooper, Lamb, and Michael Gallup available. Dallas is the more complete team in this matchup and has a much more proven signal-caller in Dak Prescott.
The key for the Cowboys will be their ability to stop the run, which they have done well enough in 2021. Dallas has allowed the 10th fewest rushing yards in the league, which will be the focal point of the Saints’ offense even with Alvin Kamara (knee) sidelined, especially with Hill under center.
Dallas looks equipped to handle Hill, however, as they have allowed the sixth-fewest rushing yards to opposing QBs this year despite already facing several mobile quarterbacks.
The Saints do have experience with Hill starting at QB in the past, but with this being his first start of the year and coming off of a foot injury, I think Dallas gets ahead early and keeps it that way throughout the game.
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First Half: UNDER 23.5 Points (-115) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
While the Cowboys are third in the league in points per game, the Saints will likely drag the total down with Hill under center. In three of Hill’s four starts last year, the game total was 37 points or less. In the one game that went over, there were just 45 total points scored.
- Read our full NFL Week 13 TNF Predictions & Best Bets.
Hill prefers to scramble when pressured on passing plays rather than dumping the ball off to his running backs or throwing it away. He’ll likely top double-digit rushing attempts but was also sacked multiple times in all four of his starts last year.
When a team is picking up their QB off the ground after a play, they’re more likely to use most of the play clock before the next snap. Accordingly, expect a slow pace of play that favors the Under on our NFL gameday odds.
Dalton Schultz Anytime TD Scorer (+170) at TwinSpires
Wager: 0.75 Units
Last week it was reported that Elliott was a candidate to be rested for this game. While owner Jerry Jones expects Elliott to have a “serious” workload this week, expectations for Elliott should still be tempered.
Elliott has recorded just 18 total carries the past two weeks while dealing with a balky knee, with Pollard filling in with 14 touches on Thanksgiving. Add in a tough Saints run defense, and Dalton Schultz looks like a prime candidate to receive red zone targets.
Last week saw Sean McKeon snag a 10-yard touchdown pass. This was McKeon’s only target of the game, however, so he’s not a threat to consistently steal work from Schultz. The other main tight end option in Dallas, Blake Jarwin, is now on the COVID/Reserve list after a positive test, leaving Schultz primed to be the main target at tight end once again.
At 6’5", Schultz provides Prescott with a big, athletic target to look for close to the goal line. There’s value here with this line, making this our NFL bet of the day.
Marquez Callaway UNDER 30.5 Receiving Yards (-112) at TwinSpires
Wager: 1 Unit
Preseason breakout darling Marquez Callaway has had mixed results in his second regular season. His six receiving touchdowns are respectable, though he has not topped 37 receiving yards since Week 8.
Callaway mainly lines up as an outside receiver with Deonte Harris on the opposite side. Harris is facing a 3-game suspension from the NFL for issues off the field, but will be eligible to play this week while he appeals his suspension. Harris is an explosive athlete that the Saints aren’t afraid to use in gadget plays, sometimes putting him in the backfield.
Tre’Quan Smith is the main slot receiver deployed by the Saints, and he should be in line for frequent looks against Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards in the league to slot receivers this year. Expect the Saints to try to draw up easier throws for Hill to make in his first start of the year.
With Mark Ingram more than capable of handling a heavy workload in the backfield, this leaves Callaway as the odd man out. Averaging just two catches per game over the past four weeks, Callaway should be mostly uninvolved in a changing offense.