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NFL DFS

Week 12 in the NFL begins with three Thanksgiving showdowns, including Washington Redskins versus Dallas Cowboys on Thursday afternoon. For this game and every other primetime contest, we’ll break down the sports betting lines and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings SportsbookBetStars, and FanDuel Sportsbook.

This advice is also relevant for fantasy contests on sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel and can be helpful in seasonal fantasy leagues as well.

Keep an eye on injury news right up until kickoff since things can change quickly in the NFL. Any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.

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Week 12 Thanksgiving Football Betting Odds

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Cowboys -7.5, 40.5 total
888 Sportsbook Odds: Cowboys -7.5, 40.5 total
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Cowboys -7.5, 40.5 total
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Cowboys -7, 40.5 

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The NFL commemorates Thanksgiving with one of its most storied rivalries. The Redskins and Cowboys have met on eight occasions overall on Turkey Day. Dallas won the most recent encounter in 2016 by a 31-26 margin. The Cowboys have a 7-1 edge over Washington in the holiday showdown overall.

However, Washington got the better of Dallas in their one prior meeting this season. The Redskins notched a 20-17 win at FedEx Field in Week 7. Dak Prescott threw for 273 yards but gave up a key fumble on a sack. For Washington, Adrian Peterson rushed for 99 yards on 24 carries to spearhead the offense.

Both teams come off vastly different Week 10 games. The Cowboys scored an upset road victory in Atlanta by a 22-19 margin on a game-winning field goal as time expired. The Redskins not only dropped a 23-21 decision to the Texans at home, but they also lost starting QB Alex Smith for the season to a broken leg. Colt McCoy took over for Smith in that contest and will start Thursday’s game.

Alas, Smith isn’t the only notable injury for the Redskins, which have been churning out robust medical reports all season. On offense, Chris Thompson (ribs) is questionable for Thursday. However, after missing the last three games and five of the last six, he’s likely trending toward doubtful. Then, Jamison Crowder is also questionable but appears on track to miss his seventh straight game with an ankle injury. He failed to practice the first two days of the week. Plus, fellow receiver Paul Richardson has already been lost for the season with a shoulder injury. The Skins have also lost both starting guards to injured reserve and could be missing three-fifths of their original starting line at minimum Thursday.

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On the defensive side, Washington could conceivably be missing key pieces against both the run and pass. Nose tackle Da’Ron Payne, who has 34 tackles and three sacks on the season, is questionable with a shoulder injury and was limited in Tuesday’s practice. Cornerback Quinton Dunbar shares the same designation with a shin injury and has missed four of the past five games. Considering he’s yet to resume running, he looks likely to be absent Thursday.

The Cowboys shape up as a healthier unit, even with some injuries of their own. On the offensive side, tight end Geoff Swaim is out Thursday following wrist surgery. He’s been serviceable while generating a 26-242-1 line this season. Then, Tavon Austin is listed as questionable with the groin injury that’s already cost him four games. Having failed to practice yet this week, he appears an iffy proposition for Thursday. They do have more walking wounded on the other side of the ball. No less than four defensive linemen sport questionable tags for Dallas as of Wednesday. And, linebacker Sean Lee remains out with a hamstring problem.

Overall, Dallas clearly outpaces the Redskins in firepower at present. Prescott has yet to throw for 300 yards in any game, but he’s been rock-solid and even more productive since the arrival of Amari Cooper via trade. Prescott has thrown for over 270 yards in two of the last four games and generated a 4:1 TD:INT during that span.

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One of the reasons the third-year quarterback sports only modest passing numbers is the effectiveness with which the Cowboys have run the ball. Ezekiel Elliott has 273 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns over the last two games. He’s supplemented those totals with a 13-115-1 line through the air over that stretch. Elliott also has three other 100-yard games on the season. Dallas ranks fourth with 133.3 rushing yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry.

Yet, it’s worth noting that Dallas’ strength on the ground is matched by Washington’s ability to limit rushing attacks. The Redskins limited Elliott to a season-low 33 yards on 15 rushes in their prior meeting. The Skins have allowed the sixth-fewest rush yards per game (95.7) overall. But, they’ve been one of the most ineffective teams limiting running backs through the air. Washington is tied with the Chargers for fourth-most receptions (65) yielded to backs. That’s especially notable given Elliott’s success as a receiver out of the backfield the last two games.

On offense, the Redskins could find themselves in a quandary no matter which way they turn Thursday. To begin with, the Cowboys are one of the best teams in the NFL at limiting opponent possessions. Dallas’ deliberate pace on offense is producing just 61 plays per game, eighth fewest in the league. They’re even a tick slower at home with 60.8 plays per contest. Dallas is tied with several times in fourth-fewest drives allowed (103) on the season. They also allow the fourth-fewest points per drive (1.79).

Then, Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones has proven to be a shutdown-quality coverage asset. His talents may be somewhat wasted in this game, considering Washington is likely to trot out Josh Doctson as its No. 1 receiver for the contest, with Maurice Harris, Brian Quick and Michael Floyd rounding out the wideout corps. Dallas notably held Washington to 178 passing yards and 56.0 percent passing in their prior meeting. That was with the more accurate Smith at quarterback. Pressure could also be an issue. The Cowboys’ 28 sacks rank them 10th in the NFL; the Redskins have allowed 24 QB takedowns and will sport a makeshift offensive line.

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It doesn’t get any easier on the ground. The Cowboys have been even more effective than the Redskins at limiting opposing rushers. Dallas is allowing the fifth-fewest rush yards per game (95.7). Plus, the 3.7 yards per carry they yield ties them with several teams for third lowest in the NFL. And, it’s worth noting that while Peterson did have an aforementioned 99-yard day against Dallas back in Week 7, that total included a 23-yard run. The multi-time Pro Bowler gained a modest 76 yards over 23 carries (3.3 yards per carry) in his other opportunities.

The game shapes up as certainly trending toward the low-scoring side, as evidenced by the total. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any fantasy goodness to be had. Elliott particularly projects as an appealing high-upside value play for both cash games and GPPs on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Despite the tough matchup, his locked-in workload through both the ground and air typically gets allows him to generate excellent returns.

Prescott and Cooper also have an opportunity for some sneaky production through the air versus a Redskins defense that’s allowed the ninth-most passing yards per game (261.0), a 67.0 percent catch rate and the third-most yards after catch (1,456).

In turn, the Redskins will likely sputter more often than not, given the Cowboys’ previously cited defensive metrics, Smith’s absence and their slew of injuries on the offensive side. Dallas will also limit their opportunities with their slow pace. The Washington skill players thus shape up as middling fantasy prospects. However, Jordan Reed could find some success versus a Cowboys defense that’s allowed the fifth-most receptions (57) and touchdowns (4) to tight ends.

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The Picks

The Cowboys should have a raucous home crowd behind them and are a vastly healthier team facing a backup quarterback. Dallas is 2-2 (.500) versus the number this season at home, but 2-1 (66.7 percent) against the spread in NFC East games. The Redskins do have strong numbers versus the spread on the road and in division games as well. However, the team they’ll field Thursday is significantly depleted compared to the one that helped build that solid track record earlier in the season.

Nevertheless, a 7.5-point spread is a particularly elevated one for a division game. Dallas’ offense isn’t typically one to just run away with a game either. We lean toward a Cowboys win but a Redskins cover in a mostly grind-it-out battle.

The 40.5-point total is a stingy one, but befitting of the circumstances. Both teams do sport solid defenses, and the Redskins are depleted enough to fall short of what their offensive expectations would have been had at least Smith been under center. The lean here is definitely toward the Under, as Dallas shouldn’t need to be overly aggressive to stay ahead of the short-handed Redskins.

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