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Laying the points and counting on Ezekiel Elliott on Thanksgiving

The Cowboys and Bills square off on Thanksgiving and I’m laying the points. Ezekiel Elliott is a big reason why.

21The Dallas Cowboys are back in their traditional role as host on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys host the Buffalo Bills in the middle game of the traditional Thanksgiving triple-header, with kickoff set for 4:30 p.m. ET.

This game offers up the most significant playoff implications of the day. The Cowboys are 6-5 and hold a one-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. With the two wild card teams two games up on the Cowboys, it’s division or bust for them. Meanwhile, the 8-3 Bills are two back of the New England Patriots in the AFC East, but have a two game lead on the remaining wild card teams. They are not in “must-win” territory, but a win would certainly provide a boost.

The Cowboys are a 6.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook after the line opened at a touchdown. The point total sits at 47, with the Cowboys -278 on the money line and the Bills +235. The Cowboys are 7-4 against the spread and have gone over the point total seven times this season. The Bills are 7-3-1 ATS and have gone over the point total three times.

Injury Report

Bills

WR Robert Fosters: Questionable
C Mitch Morse: Questionable
OT Ty Nsekhe: OUT

Cowboys

S Jeff Heath: Questionable
LB Leighton Vander Esch: OUT
DT Antwaun Woods: OUT

Pick against the spread

The best game of the holiday brings with it the toughest pick. The Bills defense isn’t quite as good as the Patriots, but it’s a stout one. It’s also worth noting they’ve performed this against the 32nd ranked schedule of opposing offenses. Dak Prescott has had his share of troubles with quality opponents, so this is a big test both for him and the Bills defense.

On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys defense ranks 19th in efficiency, and that has come against the 30th rank schedule of opposing offenses. The Bills rank 21st on offense, primarily due to their rushing attack. Devin Singletary and Frank Gore are offering a solid two-headed attack, and Josh Allen is one of the better scrambling quarterbacks in the NFL.

On the short week, I’m going to lay the points on the assumption that Ezekiel Elliott will get a sizable workload. Jason Garrett and his coaching staff are shaky at best, and I would like to think the quick turnaround will keep them from getting too cute. Consider this a bet primarily on Zeke.

It’s worth noting that a lot of shops are offering a full touchdown line, not 6.5 points. I’d be more inclined to simply stay away at a full touchdown, but that half point hook is what I’m counting on.

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