Saints vs. Cowboys odds, line: Thursday Night Football picks, top predictions from proven model on 13-2 run

Thursday Night Football features two division leaders battling it out in the first game of the Week 13 NFL schedule. The Saints hold a four-game lead over the Panthers in the NFC South, while the Cowboys are ahead of the Redskins via tiebreaker in the NFC East. Even with both teams sitting pretty, there's still plenty at stake, with New Orleans needing a tiebreaker to hold on to home-field advantage in the NFC over the Rams. In the hours leading up to kickoff, New Orleans has dropped from a 7.5-point favorite to seven, while the over-under, or total projected points Vegas thinks will be scored, has slipped from 53.5 to 51.5 in the latest Saints vs. Cowboys odds. Before you make any Saints vs. Cowboys picks and predictions for Thursday Night Football, check out what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

SportsLine's proprietary computer model went 176-80 last season and beat over 95 percent of CBS Sports Office Pool players in 2016 and '17. It also performed better than 98 percent of experts tracked by NFLPickWatch.com during that span. Additionally, it went 48-34 on A-rated picks against the spread last season, and $100 bettors who have followed it the past two seasons are up nearly $4,000. 

The model has continued to nail its top-rated picks in 2018, entering Week 13 on a blistering 13-2 run. For the season, it is now 27-11 on all top-rated picks, extending its two-year run to a strong 75-45. And when it comes to all straight-up picks, the model went 12-3 last week and is 118-56 for the season, ranking in the top five on NFLPickWatch.com. Anybody who has been following it is way, way up.

Now the model has dialed in on Saints vs. Cowboys (stream live on fuboTV). We can tell you it's leaning Over, but it's also generated a strong point-spread pick that's hitting well over 50 percent of the time. You can only see it at SportsLine. 

The model knows that one of the big reasons why the Saints' offense has been so dangerous is their efficiency in high-leverage situations. The Saints have converted 46.8 percent of their third-down attempts (sixth in the NFL) and 11-of-12 fourth-down attempts (first). Sean Payton's team has hit pay dirt on 73.1 percent of its trips into the red zone, third in the NFL. 

Meanwhile, the Cowboys offense ranks 21st, 12th, and 23rd in those categories, respectively. And Dallas' defense is an abysmal 29th in third-down efficiency, giving Drew Brees and company an even better chance than normal of keeping the chains moving.

But just because the Saints can move the ball doesn't mean they'll cover on Thursday Night Football, especially against a top-10 defense like the Cowboys, who are yielding only 331 yards per game. 

The model also knows the Cowboys' offensive line is humming again, allowing star rusher Ezekiel Elliott and his backfield mates to pick up a whopping 4.9 yards per carry. Zeke leads the NFL with 1,074 rushing yards. He has six 100-yard games this season to go with eight total touchdowns. He's also become a sharp weapon out of the backfield with 47 receptions for 363 yards.

Quarterback Dak Prescott, coming off a two-touchdown Thanksgiving performance against the Redskins, has run in scores each of the last three weeks.

Who wins Cowboys vs. Saints? And which side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to be all over on Thursday Night Football, all from the proven computer model on a blistering 13-2 run, and find out.

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