Betting the Cowboys to win the division or go over their posted win total means betting on a healthy Dak Prescott.
When Zeke rushes for 100-plus yards with Dak in the lineup, the Cowboys are 20-7 ATS (74%) all-time
Betting the Cowboys: Dak is Back
Dak Prescott was off to an epic start in 2020. His completion percentage (68.0), passing yards per attempt (8.4) and per game (371), were all at career highs. The season-ending injury Dak suffered in Week 5 against the Giants was the kind nobody wants to see twice. And although Dallas won that game, it would be their last until Nov. 22 (Week 11). Dallas finished the season with a 6-10 record, their fewest wins since 2015, when the team finished 4-12.
Football is a brutal game and injuries are a part of it, but Prescott is having the kind of offseason that anyone betting the Cowboys has to feel optimistic about. Dak signed a franchise record four-year, $160 million dollar extension that shows how confident trainers were in his rehab program.
Throughout six OTAs and two minicamp practices, Dak was moving without restrictions. His mobility, core and arm strength all looked exactly how the media was hoping. Whether the injury, which occurred at the end of a scramble, will change the way Dak and his coaching staff gameplan remains to be seen. But betting the Cowboys offense will return to its early-2020 production is backed by huge news from their offensive line.
The Dallas Cowboys used 13 different O-Line combinations in 2020.
Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, all of whom missed significant time last year, are on pace to start the season healthy.
Martin, RG: Drafted 1st Round, 16th overall, 2014 (DAL). Started 16 of 16 games in five of seven years. Six-time Pro Bowler. Missed six games in 2020 due to concussion, calf injury. Ranked second by Pro Football Focus of all guards ahead of 2021 season, behind Quenton Nelson (Colts).
Smith, LT: Drafted 1st Round, 9th overall, 2011 (DAL). Played only two games last season. Coming off neck surgery. Health and durability are major concerns as he has not played a full season since 2015.
Collins, RT: UDFA, 2015 (DAL). Missed all of 2020 after hip surgery after a breakout year in 2019. Solid run blocker and in pass protection.
Surrounded by Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, this offense is ready to go. The O-Line is in much better shape this year and for now, it puts the brakes on last year’s revolving door at QB.
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Dallas Cowboys Odds
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2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 9.5 OV -110
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 9.5 UN -135
2020 Record: 6-10
Average Wins 2018-20: 8
Odds to win the Division: +123 (1st)
Net Strength of Schedule: 7th best
If betting the Cowboys win total last year was a letdown, you might look at 2021 as another chance to roll the dice. Given the team’s 6-10 record, though, the ‘ask’ is a great deal higher this year.
In 2020, the average Cowboys win total with online sportsbooks was 9.63, which was 1.63 more than the team’s 8-8 SU record in 2019. This year, the win total is in the same ballpark but the jump is much more significant. Hitting 10 wins after going 6-10 the previous year is not a common occurrence.
Teams that were asked to make a significant jump in 2020 include the Cardinals, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Lions, Chargers, Giants, Bucs and Washington.
- On average, these nine teams were projected to win 2.6 more games than the previous year.
All of those teams other than Dallas won more games in 2020 than they did in 2019, but their win totals went 4-5 (44%). When you factor in the juice on the five OVER-bet losers, it was a losing proposition, and Dallas going OVER would have still resulted in a net loss.
Keep an eye on the Dallas win total odds over the next six weeks. America’s team is often a popular public bet and that can drive up the price. They do have a nice strength of schedule, especially in the second half, but betting the Cowboys to win the division at plus-money could actually be a better play than going OVER their season win total.
Dallas Cowboys Trends
Prescott has a career average of 255.6 passing yards per game.
- In games where Prescott passes for 200-250 yards, the Cowboys are 15-5 (75%) ATS.
- Dallas is 30-19 OVER (61%) in home games during the first half of the season since 2008.
The Cowboys outscored opponents 27-24 in those 49 games. Only three teams, the Dolphins, Lions and Saints have played OVER at a higher percentage during that span.
- HC Mike McCarthy has a 49-34 ATS (59%) record in all divisional games.
McCarthy was long thought of as a coaching mastermind when it came to divisional battles, but a word of caution. His divisional record since 2017 is 5-10-1 SU and 4-12 ATS. The OVER is 10-6 (63%) and given the state of Dallas’ defense, it’s a stronger overall play.
- HC McCarthy has an all-time record of 45-26 OVER (63%) on artificial surfaces.
- Dallas is 12-2 ATS after a bye week if they were favored at home the week before their break.
- The Cowboys are 12-30 ATS (29%) on turf when the line is within +/- 3 points of Pick em and they are coming off a home game.
- As a favorite of -7 points or more, the Cowboys are 8-3-1 ATS (73%) the past five years.
Dallas won 11 of those 12 games straight up and scored 32.2 points on average. Check Week’s 3 (Eagles), 4 (Panthers), 5 (Giants) and 9 (Broncos) for potentially big ATS lines. Strong results against Tampa and the Chargers in Week’s 1-2 will play a big role in the pointspreads for that three-game Cowboys homestand in Week’s 3-5.
Cowboys Bottom Line
The next question anyone serious about betting the Cowboys wants to ask is, “What about the D?”
Jaylon Smith has underperformed but has the Cowboys over a barrel thanks to a five-year extension signed in 2019. There is little upside to trading or releasing him, so he’ll remain a part of new D-Co Dan Quinn’s system. Quinn is also looking to convert Keanu Neal from DB to linebacker and Neal has the athleticism to line up deep, and slide into nickel coverage. He’s been compared to Darren Woodson in his prime and had 100-plus tackles for the third time last year in Atlanta.
LB Leighton Vander Esch has had trouble staying healthy and will give way to this year’s first round pick, Micah Parsons (Penn St). With a full season, Parsons could lead the team in tackles but he’ll also be a nightmare for opposing QBs. An explosive player, Parsons ran a 4.39 forty in his pro days, racking up 14 tackles and five sacks in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season. He’ll be in the starting lineup this year and gives an immediate boost to a unit that finished 21st in DVOA against the pass, and 23rd against the run.
Quinn was a huge reason for Seattle’s ‘Legion of Boom’ defensive success in 2013-14, and he has a great understanding of what it takes to get all three levels playing in-sync. That didn’t translate into much success with Atlanta, where his D only finished Top 10 once in his six years as head coach, but with this group there is only one way to go.
In the end, Dallas will need the offense to set the pace. Dallas averaged 32.6 points per game in their first five games last year, third in the NFL behind the Packers (38 PPG) and Seahawks (33.8). Dak has the weapons and it looks like he’ll be 100-percent by Week 1. Get your popcorn ready.