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Betting on Zeke Elliott and the Cowboys against the spread in Week 12

The Cowboys and Patriots square off in a potential Super Bowl preview. Here’s why I’m inclined to bet the Cowboys as 6.5-point underdogs.

Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 17, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Week 12 brings a host of huge contests with playoff implications, and one of the funnest might be the inter-conference showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. It features a pair of division leaders with strong offenses that very well could ride them to the Super Bowl. The playoff bracket is a crap shoot, but I don’t think anybody would be shocked by a Cowboys-Patriots Super Bowl next February.

For this regular season matchup, the Patriots are a 6.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. The money line has the Patriots at -286, while the Cowboys are +245, and the point total is installed at 45. The Patriots are 7-3 against the spread, while the Cowboys are 6-4 ATS. The Cowboys have had seven games go over this season, while the Patriots have had only three games go over.

Injury report

The Patriots find themselves in a tough spot. Phillip Dorsett returned to practice from his concussion, but Mohamed Sanu has sat out two straight practices with an ankle injury. For Dallas, Leighton Vander Esch is dealing with a neck injury that “flared up,” according to Michael Gehlken. The team is also missing offensive tackle La’el Collins with an MCL sprain.

Pick against the spread

The Patriots are covering the spread at home at over a 60 percent clip over the past decade. Realistically it’s the safe pick. Anything north of 57 percent is successful when it comes to sports betting, so I totally get anybody who wants to ride the wave.

I’m more of a glutton for punishment and am going to take the 6.5 points with the Cowboys. I’d love to get a full touchdown, but I can live with 6.5 because I think for once Jason Garrett will do the right thing. It might not be the best course of action on my part, but I’ll stick with it.

This game is built for Ezekiel Elliott to eat in a big way. The Cowboys passing offense ranks third in efficiency, but the Patriots pass defense is No. 1 in efficiency. Dak has looked great for extended stretches, but this is his toughest matchup of the season by a long shot. On the other hand, the Cowboys rank third in rushing offense efficiency and the Patriots rank 13th in run defense efficiency. More importantly, that ranking came against the third easiest run offense schedule, and since Week 8 the Patriots are 23rd in run defense success rate, according to our friends at the Bet The Board podcast.

All of that is to say, I’m betting on the Cowboys feeding Zeke on Sunday. If Jason Garrett decides he’d rather be stubborn and beat the Patriots entirely through the air, I have a feeling this pick will go south in a hurry. But if Garrett and the offense handle this the right way, the Cowboys could keep this close and maybe even spring the upset.

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