NFL Picks: Eagles vs. Cowboys Betting Odds and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 12/12/2010
The last time these divisional rivals met Tony Romo outperformed Donovan McNabb as the Cowboys pounded the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs last year. It has been only 11 months since that game, but it’s amazing how much has changed.
McNabb is gone, Romo is hurt, and Dallas has a new coach. Jon Kitna vs. Michael Vick is certainly not what you would have anticipated in this one if you looked at the NFL schedule at the start of the year. The schedule makers didn’t have this matchup in mind, either - they left the two games between these teams until the end of the season in the hopes of creating lots of drama, but with Dallas out of playoff contention it’s certainly not all that it could be.
The public is going to have a challenge here - both sides have stories that the media is all over right now, so it will be hard for the less sophisticated bettors to know where to put their money. The Eagles have the ongoing resurgence of Michael Vick going for them - from prison to potential MVP in two years. The Cowboys have won three of four since installing Jason Garrett as head coach, and are finally looking like an NFL team - something that couldn’t be said about them for the first half of the season.
The biggest improvement for the Cowboys has been the running game. They have gained 595 yards on the ground in the last four games. They only managed a total of 605 yards in the first eight games. The improved running game has opened up the passing game as well, and they have averaged 33.3 points per game under Garrett.
The Eagles are tied for the lead in the NFC East and they have the tie-breaking advantage over the Giants right now, so they really need to keep winning. Given their need to win and Dallas’ newly revitalized offense there is one stat that really stands out here - no team in the league has been worse in red zone defense than the Eagles. Being in the red zone has essentially meant seven points this year, and that’s obviously something that needs to change if this team has any significant playoff aspirations.
Jon Kitna is, in football terms, an old man. He’s playing good football for a guy of any age, though - his passer rating is 107.9 in the last four games. Kitna is about as mobile as a tank, so he’s clearly at his best when he has time and room to operate, so Philadelphia needs to find ways to knock him out of his comfort zone. There’s a good chance that Kitna already won’t be quite as comfortable here as he has been - he has developed great chemistry with receiver Dez Bryant, but the rookie is injured and out for the year.
Eagles vs. Cowboys Betting Odds and Line Movement
The Eagles are favored by 3.5 points in this one - a pretty big number for a road team in a divisional contest, according to this week’s NFL odds. It’s not likely to dip to a field goal or smaller by kickoff, either - more than 70 percent of bets have been on Philadelphia. The total opened at 51 and has been reasonably stable with just a slight dip to 50.5, and even 50 in some places.
Eagles vs. Cowboys Betting Trends
Philadelphia has gone ‘over’ in their last four road games, and in seven of their last eight games overall. Dallas has gone over in 10 of their last 11. This is the highest total Dallas has faced this year, though, and Philadelphia has only been this high once before - they went ‘over’ 51 last week.
Philly is 6-2 ATS in their last eight as road favorites, and 4-1 ATS in their last five against the NFC.
Dallas has covered the spread in their last four games, but is a dismal 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games in December. Philadelphia is a much more impressive 5-1 ATS in their last six in December.
Eagles vs. Cowboys NFL Picks and Predictions
Both defenses are going to have a bit of a tough day here. The Cowboys are clicking on offense, and Michael Vick always presents headaches. The puzzle here, then, is to determine how Dallas is going to respond.
On one hand, they have been playing well recently - three wins and a loss of just three points to a very good New Orleans team. On the other hand, an Indianapolis team that has a world of issues on offense right now scored 35 points against them last week.
Overall, though, I think that Dallas is going to be able to score, and they have at least a shot at slowing down the Eagles on offense. Dallas could easily win this one outright, and even if they don’t there’s a good chance that they keep it close - within a field goal. That means that there is value in taking the underdogs here.
I rarely have a problem taking a home underdog, so I’m happy with Dallas.
The total is too big to get serious consideration from me, but I’d bet on the ‘over’ if I had to choose - hard to think otherwise given what these teams have done recently.
Most Recent NFL Sunday Prediction
- Texans at Patriots Picks and NFL Betting Odds
- Cowboys at Redskins Picks
- Week 17 NFL Teasers Advice: Best Three for Basic Strategy Teases
- NFL Week 17 Player Props Odds and Betting Picks
- NFL Picks: Bears at Lions
- NFL Picks: Packers at Vikings
- Weekly Philadelphia Eagles Betting Picks: Week 17 vs. Giants
- NFL Totals Betting: Week 17 Over and Under Predictions
- Week 16 NFL Teasers Advice: Best Three for Basic Strategy Teases
- NFL Week 16 Player Props, Leaders Odds and Betting Picks