The tease is back on.
Maybe these Dallas Cowboys really can advance deep into the postseason.
That 31-14 pasting of the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoff opener restores big-game expectations when they face the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round. Yes, the same Niners who bounced them from the playoffs last year.
Bring on the betting love. The Cowboys have made one of the league’s biggest Super Bowl-winning odds drop in the past couple of days, from +1200 to +800 at DraftKings.
And as soon as they were listed at +4.5 against the San Francisco 49ers, bettors feverishly jumped on Dallas. The spread was down to +4 in the relative blink of an eye and +3.5 shortly thereafter. That’s when Niners bettors jumped in and commanded 76% of the spread handle once the line hit -3.5.
Betting has already hit high volume.
Here is a prop sample from DraftKings.
Cowboys vs. 49ers props
- Touchdown scorers, both first and anytime.
- Christian McCaffrey +500 first, -155 anytime
- Deebo Samuel +900 +130
- George Kittle +950, +150
- Zeke Elliott +1100, +145
- CeeDee Lamb +1200, +165
- Tony Pollard +1200, +155
- Dalton Schultz +1500, +220
- Brock Purdy +2500, +475
- Dak Prescott +2800, +425
- Cowboys defense/special teams +2800, +425
- Niners defense/special teams +2800, +400
Cowboys vs. 49ers game props
- Race to 10 points. Dallas +130, San Francisco -160
- Race to 15 points. Dallas +140, San Francisco -160
- Race to 20 points. Dallas +175, San Francisco -135
- Each team to score a touchdown in the first half and a field goal in the second half +380
And that’s just the start of the excitement.
Factors bettors will weigh:
The Cowboys played a 60-minute game and were the only team in the first round to lead their foe wire-to-wire. Can they do it again?
The team looks intact. Offensive returnee Tyler Biadasz anchored a line that protected Dak Prescott like Fort Knox. No sacks. Zero. And he responded by throwing zero picks.
And the defense looks as solid as in the beginning of the season, when it carried this team on its back.
Can it continue?
We mentioned here last week the return of defensive stalwarts Leighton Vander Esch and Johnathan Hankins.
Well, Vander Esch led the team with nine tackles, five solo. And Hankins tallied a sack.
That helped bettors in a unique category. The tight defense rewarded gamblers who took a FanDuel weekly special labeling Tampa Bay at +1000 to be the lowest-scoring team of the first playoff round.
The Dallas D provided a nice payout for those who believed it would contain Tom Brady
The defense also coaxed Brady’s first post-season red-zone interception as a Buc. That spans seven games.
Bettors who cashed that ticket can thank the Jayron Kearse end-zone pick and the Cowboys holding Tampa Bay to no points when the Bucs had a first-and-goal at the 2 in the fourth quarter.
Can Dak repeat his last effort?
The quarterback was light on his feet, threw touch passes and had a monster night with five TDs. He threw for four, ran for one and recorded the game’s two biggest plays on fourth down.
On the first, Dallas had 4th-and-goal on the Tampa Bay 1, leading 6-0.
“If it’s me, I’d go for the field goal,” former Cowboy Troy Aikman said on the air.”
Many people would have agreed. A field goal creates a two-score game.
But Prescott faked a handoff to Zeke Elliott and bolted left into the end zone on a beautiful bootleg.
Later, with Dallas leading 24-6, he hit Lamb for an 18-yard touchdown on 4th-and-4. Gutsy. Game-breaking.
It was the Cowboys’ most complete game of the season.
How Bout Them indeed.
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told “How Bout Them.
“Dallas played an absolutely great game. The Cowboys got out in front early and that was that. The only question now is whether they can do that two games in a row.
“The 49ers are a far better team than the Buccaneers, but you still have to like the way Dallas took care of business in that game.”
If they make it two in a row, the Cowboys will have captured multiple post-season victories since 1995. That year they won the Super Bowl.
Game Total: Bettors say the defense rests.
The Niners are the best defensive team in the NFC. The Cowboys are second. How does this impact the over-under of 46? Gamblers believe the offenses are going to show up. DraftKings reported 84% of the handle supporting the Over.
Style of Play
This is intriguing because the 49ers are a patient, ball-control offense. Their opening drive of the third quarter took up more than half of it, and they scored against the Seattle Seahawks enroute to a 41-23 victory.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, annihilated the Bucs by using the middle of the field. Watch for crossing routes by all the receivers and then try to guess who might have the biggest game.
Dallas also wins when it throws to its tight ends. We have touted Dalton Schultz all year and he notched two touchdowns against Tampa Bay. He runs good routes, is strong, and fights for the ball.
Is Schultz a good play on the props?
One school of thought indicates that you don’t bet a player who just had a breakout week to score again. Another is that a team will target the player again until the opposition takes him away.
San Francisco must worry about several receiving threats like Lamb, Michael Gallup and T.Y. Hilton, along with Pollard out of the backfield.
When the Cowboys emphasize their tight end, they win.
Do you trust Brett Maher for total points? Most will avoid it. He missed four extra points against Tampa Bay, a technical issue resembling a golfer suddenly doing something wrong with his swing. The Cowboys hope this is not in Maher’s head.
The Niners trailed the bottom-seeded Seattle Seahawks at halftime last week. Unusual for a team that has now won 11 in a row. The Niners haven’t been forced to beat good teams until now.
They also were burned for a 50-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Lamb prop bettors might be all over that one.
There is an avalanche of wagers to choose from this week.
Good luck cashing some!