Time to get fat in the friendly confines.
As December rolls in, here comes a two-game stretch against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday and the Houston Texans the following week. The 8-3 Cowboys figure to reach 10-3 after these matchups.
This is their best chance to make up at least one game on the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles atop the NFC East before hosting them Dec. 24.
The Eagles play a tough Tennessee Titans team on Sunday and then start a three-game road stretch at the New York Giants, Chicago Bears, and in Dallas.
This upcoming set of games will determine whether the ‘Boys have a shot at winning the division or whether they prepare for a home Wild Card playoff game in January.
This week, bettors prepare to unload cash on a Cowboys team poised to beat a sub.500 foe.
.Here are some avenues they will consider.
The Point Spread and the Total
The Cowboys at -11 have a big number to clear against a team that usually plays tight games. Indianapolis has only lost twice by margins this size.
Nationwide betters favored the ‘Boys with 59% of the spread handle at -11, indicating this is a tough number.
In the Jeff Saturday era the Colts are 1-2 with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders, a one-point loss to the Eagles and an egg-laying 24-17 Monday Night football setback to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Their season is unraveling at 4-7-1 and it will soon be time to plan for next year.
One suspects Dallas can win this game by as much as it wants, but look at Thanksgiving Day. The ‘Boys had a 15-point lead reduced to eight when the Giants notched a touchdown and back-door cover with eight seconds left. The Cowboys were never in danger in the fourth quarter, but they did not have the urgency to win by double digits.
Will that be the case here?
The Over-Under Total is 43.5
This might be tantalizing for the Over, which, at -115, is slightly favored against the Under, -105.
This is not an abundance of points. It’s just a matter of whether Indy can do its part.
Bettors may also want to tease this down by six points, take the Over 37.5 and hook that bet up with another selection to create a parlay.
When those props are fully up, Zeke Elliott, Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup may garner significant tickets. Most bettors will have to choose one of them so as not to dilute their bankroll on the same bet.
But don’t forget the tight ends. I have sung the praises of Dalton Schultz all year and I think he’s the league’s most underrated star player at the position.
In the Cowboys’ 28-20 triumph over the New York Giants on Thanksgiving, he made the catch of the game on a third-and-goal situation from the New York 16.
The ‘Boys trailed 13-7 and had used half of the third quarter to wage a meticulous drive. On the big play, Schultz looked like a wide receiver hauling in a touchdown pass Dak Prescott neatly hoisted over a Giants defender. Schultz would go on to score another. Peyton Hendershot added a third.
Dallas got three second-half touchdowns from its tight ends. But Schultz had the key grab. If that’s incomplete, the Cowboys would have been forced to kick a field goal and the Giants may have gained momentum.
Will each team score at least one touchdown in each half? That’s +255 for yes. The big question will concern whether Indy can push it across, especially in the first half. This is a notoriously slow-starting team.
Total field goals is over-under 3.5. This is a bet that failed last week, based on the Cowboys. The Giants had two first-half field goals, but the ‘Boys suffered a pick on third down in Giants territory. An incomplete pass would have led to a field-goal try. And the normally reliable Brett Maher missed a field goal in the final minutes.
Nonetheless, this prop is fairly priced at +110.
Will there be a two-point conversion? Yes is +360.
Will the largest lead of the game be over or under 16.5 points? The Over is favored at -130 and the Under is +100. Playable on both sides. While the feeling is that the Cowboys should win handily, Indy rarely gets blown out. It plays a ball-control game to stay in contests and usually loses late.
DraftKings put up the first one. Will Pollard secure a rushing touchdown and Jonathan Taylor notch 100 yards? Both have happened at different times, but can that occur in the same game? Yes is +500.
What did they do last week.? Taylor ran for 86 yards and a score. He would need to notch 14 more against the stout ‘Boys defense. Gamblers would also have to believe that Indy won’t be playing from too far behind.
Pollard had 16 totes and, with a healthy Elliott, may be primed for platoon duty. Elliott is usually Dallas’ choice near the goal line so Pollard will have to score from further out.
There are some difficult conditions imposed on him here, making the prop more difficult. That’s why it pays well.
Look for Props on the Dallas D
Matt Ryan will usually make one big mistake each game for the Colts. He did it again last week, losing a fumble when the team was going in for a go-ahead score. Ryan is known for fumbles and Pick 6 tosses. This game looks ripe for that.
Get in on the action early
Bettors can try netting a payday with the game’s first score.
Here is how DraftKings lines it up:
- Colts touchdown +450
- Colts field goal +380
- Colts safety +7000 (70-1)
- Cowboys touchdown +115
- Cowboys field goal +310
- Cowboys safety +7500 (75-1)
This is just the start of an abundant wagering menu.
The sample of games is large enough that the books yield very few soft spots on the betting line. It’s hard to find an edge. The wagering lines can be tossups and thus props may provide the clue to find a payday.