The ‘Boys are back in business.
Yet the betting public is saying “We’re Not Sure.”
After standing the NFL gambling world on its ear by upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals at +7.5, the 1-1 Dallas Cowboys visit the surprisingly 2-0 New York Giants on the Monday Night Football stage.
This time, the Cowboys are only a +2.5 dog, with betting sentiment split.
Just over half the tickets, 51%, went on the ‘Boys. But 66% of the handle also went to them, indicating the biggest spread tickets are on Dallas. Bettors will surely watch that line.
Cowboys backers will be tempted to sacrifice some juice, perhaps going to the neighborhood of -120-125, to buy half a point and drive that number up to +3.
In the moneyline realm, 45% of the tickets are on Giants, but 61% of the handle is on Big Blue.
Early gamblers are favoring the Under 39.5. Both teams are 2-0 with the Under, as their defenses have been stout.
It will be interesting to watch the patterns unfold.
Cowboys backers are simply happy they have a season to care about. No team has reached the playoffs after starting 0-2 since 2018. And that’s what the ‘Boys avoided with an inspirational triumph over the defending AFC champion Bengals, 20-17.
Below, we’re detailing Dallas takeaways entering Week 3. Eight points, as in a touchdown and two-point conversion.
Cooper’s Adrenaline Rush
We indicated here last week that all was not doom and gloom with the absence of the injured Dak Prescott. Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations at DraftKings, amplified the sentiment by telling How About Them that teams often rally around a new quarterback for at least one game.
That was prophetic. Next man up Cooper Rush was methodically efficient with a 19-35, one touchdown performance. Maybe his best number was “0” as in no picks.
We’ve had that game. What happens now?
Rush: The Ramblin Gamblin Man, First Drive
Rush made Mike McCarthy’s first big dice roll an important one. It was just 2:31 seconds into the game. The Cowboys had 4th-and-2 from their own 44. New quarterback. Punt it, right? Wrong.
Rush hit Noah Brown for a 17-yard play, converting the first down. Six players later, he hit Brown for a TD.
Cool Under Fire, The Last Drive
Rush got the ball with 57 seconds left and drove the ‘Boys close enough for Brett Maher’s winning kick. He hit Brown once and Cee Dee Lamb, the money man, twice.
Brown may help take pressure off Lamb, who had a team-high 11 targets. Tony Pollard had seven out of the backfield and Brown had five. Rush spread the ball around, got rid of it quickly, and gave Dallas the chance to win the game.
Dallas is Big D. Literally.
Micah Parsons is a force. He obtained two of the six sacks recorded by what’s become one of the league’s better defenses. Two years ago, the ‘Boys couldn’t stop anybody. Now they have held teams led by Tom Brady and Joe Burrow to less than 20 points each time. That is saying something.
The Cowboys D looks like they will keep this team in a lot of games.
The Cowboys Are Always A Draw
Isn’t that the truth? Their first game, versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was the Sunday Night opener for the NFL. The second had an isolated spot in the late window. Game 3 is in Prime Time.
This matters because the big players are going to show up on the big stage. Everybody is watching.
Avello said the Cincinnati-Dallas game drew record television ratings and significant handle. And now the stakes have been raised for the ‘Boys:
“Many people thought their season was in real trouble after Week 1. But if they can beat the Giants and go 2-1, that’s good for their first three games.
“This is going to be a heavily-watched and heavily-bet game.”Johnny Avello
How About Those New Odds?
At DraftKings, the Cowboys improved from +550 to +450 to win the NFC East, with the Philadelphia Eagles improving to 2-0. The way the Eagles manhandled the Minnesota Vikings 24-7, they deserve to be favored.
Cowboys bettors still gain a premium price if they believe the team can stay close enough to compete with Philly and then steal the big Oct. 16 matchup in Philadelphia.
One Point Conversion
The Cowboys are happy that Dalton Schultz gains an additional day of rest before the next game. Their star tight end is considered day-to-day with a right knee injury suffered in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. He was not in the lineup during the game-winning drive.
Schultz would be a significant loss. He tied for the team lead in touchdowns last season, eight, and is a good blocker.
If Schultz can’t play Monday night, more responsibility will shift toward rookie tight ends Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot. The Cowboys also have third-year veteran Sean McKeon on the practice squad.
Two Point Conversion: The Avello Analysis
Avello told How About Them regarding the Dallas win over Cincinnati:
“That game turned out to be great for the book. The way a lot of people bet that game is they look at a team like the Bengals, who just played in the Super Bowl and they have all these players in place.
“The thinking was they should have won in Week 1 and Dallas has a backup quarterback, he’s probably adequate, but is he going to beat the Bengals?
“It was not only good for us because of the moneyline and the parlays, but the in-game betting,” he added. “A lot of people thought Cincinnati would come back and win. Cincinnati did come back, but not enough.”