There’s a new way to perceive fantasy football.
It’s the chance to imagine what might have been, from a betting perspective, had the Cowboys reached the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
With the ‘Boys season over, it’s an elusive, yet intriguing concept for two teams that never faced each other with their top quarterback. The first regular-season matchup had no Dak Prescott, who was still injured, and the Cowboys fell 26-17 in Philadelphia. The rematch had no Jalen Hurts, also injured, and the ‘Boys won 40-34.
Had the ‘Boys beaten the San Francisco 49ers and invaded Philly for the NFC crown, what might that line have been?
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told HowBoutThem:
“Had the Eagles and Cowboys squared off, I think that betting line would have opened up right around Eagles -1.5. You’ve got to figure that had the Cowboys beaten the 49ers, they would have gotten past the best defense in football. Given that this would be an NFC East division rivalry and this game would have been on the road for Dallas, I think that line would have been pretty close to what we had for the Eagles-49ers.”
DraftKings opened that at Philadelphia -2 and it has been bouncing from 2 to 2.5 all week.
Around the country, the Cowboys are perceived as having choked, but that’s not the case.
This team ended up about where it should have. Nothing wrong with a 12-5 regular-season, a playoff victory and then a close 19-12 loss to the league’s best defensive team, one that has now won 12 straight.
It took a miracle catch by George Kittle to get the Niners off of their goal line on their game-winning drive late in the third quarter.
Dallas was one of the NFL’s final eight teams. It had gone 4-2 against this group, including a split with the Eagles, a win over the Cincinnati Bengals, a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and a sweep of the New York Giants.
They were good enough to beat some teams, not good enough to handle two top teams back-to-back.
“Dallas, well, they are just Dallas. It’s a Jerry Jones-driven team and to me, the coach is average at best. Zeke Elliott is a north-and-south runner, he can’t really break through to the outside. They lost a lot in that San Francisco game when Tony Pollard went down.”
Dallas being Dallas may frustrate fans, but not gamblers, because the season resonated with betting highlights.
The ‘Boys were 11-8 against the spread, one of the better teams in the NFL. The Giants were a league-best 14-5.
Dallas enjoyed a cluster of covers when Prescott went out and some individual highlights, like Micah Parsons being the likely defensive player of the year.
Here were some others, which serve as a way to interpret and handicap the team for next season.
The Era of Rush, Defense and Cha-Ching
HowBout those bettors who cashed major tickets in Week 2?
The ‘Boys had just lost Prescott for several weeks and their opener to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Here came the defending AFC champion Bengals and a whopping +8.5 for Dallas, at home. Across the sportsbook industry, Dallas was written off.
Not only did the Cowboys cover, but they beat the Bengals.
HowBout those bettors who rode the Cowboys getting points when Cooper Rush started?
With Rush at the helm, they went 4-1 to save their season. Bettors rejoiced at the Cowboys in plus spread numbers and then winning on the moneyline. The D yielded less than 20 points for four consecutive weeks and, on Dak’s return, halted the Detroit Lions 24-6.
Gamblers hopped to paydays on Dallas with points, on the moneyline and with the Under.
Betting Highlights After Dak Returned
HowBout that 40-3 thumping of the Minnesota Vikings, on the road. ?
That was the Boy’s most definitive beatdown of the season. Pollard notched two receiving touchdowns and secured 109 receiving yards. It was the game that began to separate him from Elliott as the team’s top back.
Gamblers made the Cowboys the favorite all week, despite Minnesota coming in as the hottest team in the league. And they were right on.
HowBout that comeback against the Houston Texans.? The game was lost until Dallas made a miraculous goal-line stand and Prescott then engineered a game-winning drive.
HowBout that 33-point explosion in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts? That blew open a 54-19 triumph that not only let the ‘Boys cover -10.5, but return a +1000 payday for them at FanDuel for having the most points that week in the NFL.