Cowboys vs. Saints: The best Dak Prescott player prop bets for TNF
Fresh off the back of a thrilling Thanksgiving Day shootout with the Las Vegas Raiders, the Cowboys are looking to get out of a rut that has seen them go 1-3 since Dak Prescott returned from injury. Dallas still dominates the NFC East and can now put things right as they travel to New Orleans to face the Saints.
Things aren’t going much better for New Orleans, who are 0-4 after starting the season 5-2, and have an injury ward overflowing with talent. QB Taysom Hill might be without Alvin Kamara, who is questionable with a knee injury, and that puts the Saints up against it as they take on the NFL’s most dangerous offense.
Here are the three best player prop bets for Dak Prescott as the Cowboys look to get back on track.
Fri, December 3 2021, 1:20 AM
Over/Under 280.5 Passing Yards
Prescott fans must be feeling good about this line after watching the Cowboys’ star QB in action on Thanksgiving. Without his two star wide receivers in Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, Prescott still completed 68% of his 47 passes for 375 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third-highest passing yards game of the year.
Things are looking up for Dak, who will welcome back Lamb, who has cleared the concussion protocol and is back at practice. Amari Cooper (COVID-19) has a good chance of suiting up, but Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson proved they can both step up as they each went for more than 100 yards over the Raiders.
Prescott has thrown for an average of 293.2 yards per game this season (ranked fifth in the NFL), and has beaten this line in four of his last six matches – although in his two previous matches with the Saints he’s thrown for just 249 yards (Week 13 2018) and 223 yards (Week 4 2019).
But this is a Saints team you can, and probably should, throw on. Despite their run defense getting torched in the last two games – giving up a combined 355 yards on the ground to the Eagles and Bills – New Orleans has the third strongest run defense in the league, and will try to stuff Zeke, who is not 100% healthy.
Their pass defense, on the other hand, ranks 23rd, and they’ve given up over 251 yards per game this season. The Saints give up 7.3 yards per attempt, while Prescott is averaging 7.8 yards per attempt on the season. The Cowboys are road favorites here in a game that has one of the higher slates of the week, so we’re taking the Over.
Over/Under 35.5 Pass Attempts
Prescott threw the ball 47 times against the Raiders, as the Cowboys mounted a second half comeback, and that’s still not his highest tally of the season. In Week 1 he threw 58 times in that wild game against Tampa Bay, and then in Week 6 he threw 51 times against New England. Overall this season, Dak has thrown an average of 37.6 passes per game, with only Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Ben Roethlisberger attempting more.
What is more relevant here, is what Prescott has done most recently in line with Ezekiel Elliott’s ongoing knee issues. As tough as Zeke is, he's clearly playing hurt. In the Cowboys' first seven games this year, Zeke played a total of 72% of offensive snaps. In the last four weeks that number has dropped to 58.8%.
While Zeke’s usage has dropped, Prescott’s has gone up. He averaged 36 pass attempts before the Week 7 bye (even including those two monster 50+ games), but since Week 9 when Zeke has been limited, Prescott’s average attempts per game have gone up to 40.
Elliott says he’s playing on Thursday, and we’ve no reason to think otherwise, but the Cowboys may manage his snaps and that will lead to more pass plays for Dak. The Over price is a value play.
Over/Under 23.5 Pass Completions
Given I’m on the Over for Prescott pass attempts, it comes as no surprise that I’m on that side for completions as well. But for good reason. Prescott is the only player in the NFL this year averaging more than 32 pass attempts per game and completing more than 69% of them. He has been deadly accurate this year, and his 69.4% completion rate is the highest it’s been in his six years with the Cowboys.
That figure would jump up to 71.8% if you disregard the Week 9 anomaly against Denver. Prescott was returning from missing a game with a calf strain and posted a completion rate of just 48.7% - the second-worst completion rate of his entire career.
Prescott has completed 26.1 passes per game on average this year, but that figure jumps even higher to 28 completions per game when you look at the last three weeks when Zeke has been limited.
If, as we hope, he chucks the ball at least 36 times and maintains his average completion rate this year, we should clear the 23.5 line with ease.