The wake-up call didn’t cost anything.
Now the 10-3 Dallas Cowboys – smarting but undaunted by the shaky 27-23 triumph over the one-win Houston Texans last week – try to stay relevant in the NFC East race.
The ‘Boys try to preserve the meaning of a Week 16 matchup with the 12-1 Philadelphia Eagles by defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road this week.
The Jags got the first nudge of betting love. DraftKings opened the betting line at Dallas -4.5. Jacksonville bettors weighed in, taking the number to -4 at midweek.
Dallas bettors countered, showing a majority of 67% betting handle at that number. The jockeying suggests this game may stay in the 4-4.5 range for a while.
Bettors also expect points in this game, as 90% of the handle supports the Over 47.5.
The last seven dogs have covered the spread in Jacksonville’s home games and the Jags have been showing signs of life. In recent weeks, they toppled two playoff-bound teams in the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. Earlier this year, they thumped the Los Angeles Chargers 38-10, paying +5000 (50-1) at FanDuel to score the most points in the league that day.
The Jags occasionally have a big game in them. They have reached the five-win mark, perhaps en route to seven by year’s end, and have taken a significant step forward.
Trevor Lawrence is growing as a quarterback and he is a good scrambler. Unlike some signal callers, Lawrence is not yet composed under fire if harassed by a good defense. The Cowboys would like to make Lawrence uncomfortable.
A Tweak and a Parlay
All references are Draft Kings odds.
If one believes the Cowboys and Eagles will both play well prior to their Week 16 matchup, but don’t like the spreads, a bet like this is one they might consider:
A two-legged parlay of adjusted lines with the Cowboys -1.5 and the Eagles -2.5 at the host Chicago Bears (rather than 9) is -103. Both ends of the bet must come in for it to cash, but it allows slack in the line in both games.
This is only one of numerous opportunities one can have by adjusting the lines in a couple of games and measuring the price.
Assess the Weekly Special Value
The Weekly Specials line is always intriguing. It has Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard each to score a touchdown, at +250.
Wait for the individual touchdown scorer prices to come out, and compare.
If Elliott and Pollard are both +100 or better, you don’t need this wager. Both ends have to come in and the price would not be much better than taking each player separately.
The specials often offer something that happened the week before and put it up as a prop. Both players scored last week. Pollard hit paydirt twice. What are the odds they both reach the end zone this week?
The misdirection angle is that CeeDee Lamb did not get in. He’s due.
Bettors know that the Dallas receiving corps is about to become more crowded with the addition of T.Y. Hilton. While this won’t impact Dak Prescott’s numbers, it could ultimately lower the totals of Lamb or Michael Gallup.
Get in the Game Early
- First score of the game:
- Dallas Touchdown +150
- Dallas Field Goal +360
- Dallas Safety +8000
- Jacksonville Touchdown +265
- Jacksonville Field Goal +400
- Jacksonville Safety +7500
Will the Cowboys score more than 26.5 points? The Yes is -105. That’s a fair bet with square odds for a team that has hit 28 and 40 points in its last two road games.
If the Cowboys cover 4.5 and the game goes over 47.5 points, that pays +255.
If the Cowboys cover 4.5 and the total goes under 47.5, that’s +270.
The Game Within the Game
Will the Jags score first and lose? Yes is +285. A Cowboys bettor is hoping for a Jags field goal to open the scoring, followed by a Dallas triumph.
Conversely, if a bettor wants to fade the Cowboys in the same scenario, they are +475 to score first and lose.
Prescott, Elliott, Dalton Schultz, Pollard, Lamb and Gallup are all viable scoring threats. Picking a couple of them provides a fair shot. Selecting one to tally first is profitable, yet risky. Perhaps one First TD scorer and a sprinkle of anytime scorers is a good mix.
Lawrence and Evan Engram, who had 162 receiving yards in Jacksonville’s win over Tennessee last week, are good prop possibilities for Jacksonville. So is running back Travis Etienne.
Bettors’ Caution About Whether Cowboys Are In A Lull
Conflicting signals impact whether gamblers will let loose on this game.
A heavy Cowboys bettor will believe the ‘Boys were embarrassed by the letdown and near-meltdown against the Texans and issue payback.
After all, they answered a loss to the Green Bay Packers by pummeling the Minnesota Vikings 40-3. And Dallas is a good December football team.
This angle allows for the Cowboys to use their unlikely comeback against Houston as a motivator. Despite two Prescott interceptions that put the Cowboys in a deep hole, the defense made a resounding goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter.
Demarcus Lawrence’s third-down backfield stop to deny a near-certain putaway touchdown was a building block. So was the fourth-down stop and the 98-yard touchdown drive then engineered by Prescott.
On the flip side, the Cowboys have not yet suffered a mini down period during Prescott’s return. The Eagles, for instance, had a loss to the Washington Commanders and a flat 17-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts in successive weeks, before snapping back into rhythm.
Accommodating that view in the grand picture, there would be little harm if a small slump occurs now.
The ‘Boys may realize that no matter what they do, they can’t win the NFC East. Even a victory over the Eagles would require them to get help from the Chicago Bears, New York Giants or New Orleans Saints beating the Eagles. And Philly just hammered the Giants 48-22.
Short of a major upset, Dallas is going to be an NFC Wild Card. How does that affect this game?
One suggestion: reserve a fair amount of capital for in-game betting. See the body language of the Cowboys. Watch the first couple of series. Make an interpretation and unload.