Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
DALLAS -7½ over Las Vegas
2:30 PM EST. Both of these squads were losers in Week 11, but it may have been the Cowboys that walked away worse for wear. The ‘Boys were already down Amari Cooper, who is on the COVID list and it looks as though breakout receiver CeeDee Lamb will miss this Turkey Day tussle with a concussion after knocking his noggin’ off the turf in Kansas City last Sunday. Those absences are significant and the ones getting all the press, but they are not the only IR issue in Big D. If one was to point to the problems the Cowboys have had in recent weeks (losses to Denver in Week 9 and last week at the Chiefs), it’s been the absence of All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. Smith had been dealing with an ankle injury prior to reaggravating it in Week 8 at Minnesota. Smith was out for the Broncos upset over Dallas as a double-digit pooch, and he was out in that high-profile afternoon feature this past Sunday. Smith also missed the Cowboys’ smashing of the Falcons, but not even that was enough for Atlanta to be competitive.
Injuries to high-profile offensive players like Cooper and Lamb are the ones they get the talk show chatter, which drives public opinion. Most of the continent was fed that Chiefs/Cowboys game in the late afternoon window. Dallas’ warts were on display for all to see and it wasn’t pretty. When one plays so poorly that the media is gushing over the Kansas City defense, one has little curb appeal the next time out. That appears to be the case here.
The injury chasers are one of our favorite lots. Like the books haven’t adjusted for the loss of a star player or two and aren’t aware how the market will respond to such a situation. You don’t have to look very far for examples of how that usually works out. In Week 11 against the Browns, the market overreacted to the scratching of Jared Goff-pounding the Browns in his absence. The same happened in Chicago when it was announced that Tyler Huntley would start in place of the ill Lamar Jackson. One team won outright (Baltimore), the other had the ball down three late in the fourth quarter with a chance to do the same. Regardless, the Lions were never really in danger of not covering that inflated number (13) in a 13-10 loss. The Cowboys themselves played in such a game in Week 8. Dak Prescott was ruled out, the market reacted and you know what happened—Cowboys win, 20-16.
We’ve narrowly touched on the Raiders here, but that is because not much has changed in our analysis of them. This is a team that is totally fucked up for a number of reasons—from Jon Gruden to Henry Ruggs. The Raiders are on the hunt for a new coach, but there is debate whether general manager Mike Mayock should survive long enough to lead the hunt. Quarterback Derek Carr is heading into the final year of his 5-year $125-million. Dude has had a big season so far, but if the Raiders totally implode in the second half (as they’re apt to do), there are going to be some tough decisions that need to be made. As for this week, we have a hard time getting on board with Las Vegas here. We suspect that this is going to look like a big pile of points for the banged up ‘Boys to cover and we expect the market to respond accordingly. The value in this game lies with the home side, so do not fear this toothless invader. Swallow the points with a swig of gravy and we’ll see you at the pay window. Recommendation DALLAS -7½ -105 (no bets)
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DALLAS -7½ -105 (Risking 0 units - To Win: 0.00)