Thursday Night Football – Week 13 – Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings – Free Preview and Betting Prediction
Dallas boasts the NFL’s best overall record as they head to Minnesota to play their third game in 12 days. The Vikings desperately need this game to have a chance to gain a game on the division-leading Lions. Their playoff hopes would fade tremendously with another loss.
The odds opened with the Cowboys as -3.5 favorites. Since that time, the odds have moved to Dallas -3, but with heavy vigorish at most sites (-120 and -125). This is despite heavy betting action on Dallas, with about 80 percent of wagers coming in on the road favorites.
The total is among the lowest of Week 13. It opened at just 43.5 points, which is where it currently stands at most sportsbooks, with some posting 44 points. About two-thirds of all wagers have been placed on the over.
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The Cowboys – Eyeing Number One Seed
Dallas has exceeded expectations this year in a huge way, after coming off a 4-12 season last season. They can clinch a playoff berth this week and are likely going to get the NFC’s number one seed, which gets them a first round bye and guarantees home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
The Cowboys are coming off a 31-26 Thanksgiving Day win over the visiting Washington Redskins to push their record to an NFL-leading 10-1. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott had an excellent game, along with rookie running back, Ezekiel Elliott. It’s rare that a team has two candidates for the Rookie of the Year, but that’s the case in Dallas this season.
The Vikings – Must-Win Mode
Minnesota’s recent run of play is especially devastating considering their start to the season. After beginning the year with a 5-0 record, the Vikings are now 5-6 after losing 16-13 in heartbreaking fashion at Detroit on Thanksgiving.
The Vikings received the ball with about a minute left in the final quarter with the score tied. Quarterback Sam Bradford threw an interception early in the drive and allowed the Lions to run down the clock for a chip-shot field goal to win the game.
Injuries have played their part as well. The Vikings have suffered significant injuries to their offensive line, and their defense has suffered as well lately. Their starting center may be out again Thursday after suffering a concussion last week.
The good news is that wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who missed their last game with a knee injury is expected to play this week after getting limited practices. He’s easily their best playmaker in what is one of the most vanilla offenses in the league.
This game is going to depend on what you can find regarding pricing, but I have no issues laying -3 with Dallas, even though, they are on the road and this is their third game in less than two weeks.
Minnesota did hold the Lions offense down for most of the game on Thanksgiving, but they’ve been a lot worse defensively over the past few weeks. They excel more in the secondary, which bodes well for Dallas because their game plan starts and ends with the run.
Dallas shouldn’t have any issues overpowering the Vikings up front and playing a ball control game that will brutalize them. With Minnesota running a conservative offense, that’s also without any big-time talent besides Diggs. They may play too conservatively early and play themselves out of the game if Dallas succeeds on their first few drives.
I don’t like taking public favorites, particularly on the road, but at -3 or less, Dallas seems like one of the best plays on the board this week.
Pick: Cowboys -3