“Sunday Night Football” will play host to two of the NFL’s most intriguing teams in Week 1, with the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams set to square off at brand-new SoFi Stadium. Two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, Sean McVay’s Rams are desperate to prove they still belong in the NFC West, and they’ve got premier talent at key positions — including cornerback, where Jalen Ramsey is the newly highest-paid player in the league. The Cowboys, meanwhile, might be this year’s hot Super Bowl pick out of the NFC, what with new coach Mike McCarthy commanding arguably the most explosive lineup in the conference.

While their Sunday night showdown is sure to be a fun watch regardless of whether you’re betting on the action, we’ve got you covered in this space with everything you need to know from a gambling perspective. All odds are courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook.

How to watch

Date: Sunday, Sept. 13 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, California)
TV: 
NBC | Stream: fuboTV (try for free) 
Follow: CBS Sports App

Cowboys (-2) at Rams

The line opened this spring at -2 in favor of the Cowboys, then an immediate influx of bets on Dallas pushed it to -3 … before things came back down on Saturday. Considering the hype around the ‘Boys, you’d think that number might be even higher. But the Rams will be at home, and relatively close moneyline marks (-135 for Dallas, +115 for Los Angeles) indicate this is still a tighter bet than other big late games like Cardinals-49ers (-300 for San Francisco) and Giants-Steelers (-250 for Pittsburgh).

Pick: Cowboys -2. Dallas isn’t immune to a prime-time letdown, and the Rams have won two of their last three against the Cowboys under McVay. There’s also a strong case to be made that L.A.’s wide receiver corps (Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp) will find openings against a transitioning secondary. But there’s just no denying the overall disparity here. The Cowboys have the better quarterback, running back, receiving corps and offensive line; and their pass rush should be able to penetrate Jared Goff’s protection, forcing the Rams signal-caller into an occasional tizzy. If Mike McCarthy keeps his hands off Kellen Moore’s play sheet, there’s little reason Dallas shouldn’t be able to showcase some of its offensive firepower on the West Coast.

Play moneyline at Rams +115? This is a low-risk, low-reward proposition just because it’s a projected close game. The Rams don’t necessarily feel like a crazy play as a straight-up underdog pick (again: at home, with some weapons to surprise), but ideally you’d get a bigger payout for banking on them overcoming the Cowboys’ clearly superior depth. So if you’re really convinced the uncertainties stemming from this offseason will seep into McCarthy’s debut running Dallas, it might be worth a shot. Otherwise, don’t bother.

Over/Under 51.5 points

Pick: Over. The 51.5-point mark is the highest of the entire Sunday slate, and for good reason: Neither the Cowboys nor the Rams have a whole lot of defensive certainty. Both sides have a handful of big names — the Cowboys boast Everson Griffen and DeMarcus Lawrence; the Rams have Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey — but aren’t exactly devoid of question marks. Can Dallas’ banged-up secondary withstand the Rams’ receivers? Do the Rams have any shot of pressuring Dak Prescott off the edge? Consider that both the ‘Boys and Rams are capable of high-scoring games, and this feels like a solid call on the Over.

First half: Cowboys -0.5, O/U 25.0

Pick: Cowboys -0.5. This dropped from -2 to -0.5 between Friday and Saturday, perhaps as a result of more bets on the home team. Truth is, if there’s any point in the game where the Rams will threaten Dallas’ lead, it’ll probably be earlier on in the game, but still, the Cowboys are flat-out better, and if they have a lead through two quarters, odds are it’ll be by at least a field goal. If this were more of a lopsided line, like the Houston Texans at +6 against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, then it might be worth a harder look at the underdogs.

Player props

Dak Prescott

O/U 23.5 completions
O/U 36.5 attempts
O/U 284.5 passing yards
O/U 1.5 passing TDs (Over -175)

You’ll notice the oddsmakers are clearly forecasting a big offensive day for the Cowboys, and that starts with Prescott, who’s got some pretty gaudy passing attempt and yards totals. The Pro Bowler only threw 37 passes in seven of 16 starts (43%) in 2019, but he did complete at least 24 passes in nine of 16 (56%), while hitting 285 yards in seven games (43%). Based off that recent history, and the fact the Rams have holes in the secondary outside of Ramsey, the thinking here is that while it’d be wise to be cautious with the Over on attempts and yards, 24 completions and at least two touchdown passes seems very reasonable on Sunday night. If you’re going to pound the Over on one of these, make it the TD passes, with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb all poised for flashy 2020 debuts.

Jared Goff

O/U 24.5 completions
O/U 38.5 attempts
O/U 274.5 passing yards
O/U 1.5 passing TDs (Over -175)

The Rams might seem like more of a run-heavy team considering their previous deployment of Todd Gurley and Sean McVay’s insistence on a three-back rotation this year, but Goff is actually asked to chuck it a lot, so the high pass attempt mark isn’t as wild as it might appear. In 2019, for example, Goff cleared 40 attempts in seven of 16 games (43%) and came close in a bunch of others, throwing at least 37 passes in 10 of 16 starts (62%). If you think he’s going to be playing catch-up for half or most of this game, it’s reasonable to bet the Over on both attempts and yards, though his occasionally erratic arm means the completions are likely worth a stayaway. 

Ezekiel Elliott

O/U 19.5 rushing attempts
O/U 79.5 rushing yards
O/U 111.5 rushing and receiving yards

Like Dak, Elliott is projected to be busy, and rightfully so. That said, his carry totals have been pretty unpredictable. In 2019, for example, he only hit 20 rushing attempts once in the Cowboys’ final five games. Right before that, however, he hit 20 carries five times in a six-week stretch. Rushing yards, meanwhile, have been a little easier to forecast; he hit at least 81 in four of his last six games of 2019 — and nine out of 16 (56%) during that season. In this game, the smart lean is toward the Over in pretty much every category, namely because of the moving parts on the Rams defense, which is now without tackling machine Cory Littleton in the middle.

Three other props to consider

Blake Jarwin receiving yards O/U 36.5

In 2019, the tight end hit 36 yards in five of the nine games (55%) he caught at least two passes. If you figure he’s going to catch at least two on Sunday night, against a Rams team transitioning at linebacker and in the secondary, and with weapons like Cooper, Gallup and Lamb creating space on the outside, then you almost have to expect he’ll clock at least 36 yards. There are only so many passes to go around, yes, but if Dallas is truly primed for a big offensive night, he’ll surely be involved.

Tyler Higbee receiving yards O/U 47.5

The Rams apparently balked at teams trying to trade for No. 2 tight end Gerald Everett, possibly signaling a return to a bigger role for Higbee’s counterpart, but Higbee was the guy Goff couldn’t throw to enough at the tail end of 2019. If L.A. is trailing late, it’s easy to envision the TE once again serving as Goff’s safety valve to the tune of something like six catches for 80-some yards. Remember, Brandin Cooks is no longer part of this receiving corps.

Michael Gallup longest reception O/U 24.5

All eyes in Dallas tend to be on Dak, Zeke, Cooper and the hot young rookie, CeeDee Lamb, but overlook Gallup to your own peril here. The third-year vet averaged nearly 17 yards per catch in 2019, with long receptions of more than 30 yards in six different games. Couple that with the fact Jalen Ramsey is likely to be locked on Amari Cooper throughout Sunday night, and the Over feels like a solid gamble if you’re looking to cash in on a big-play prop.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here