Monday Night Football Picks: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Odds
by Alan Matthews - 10/24/2014
Redskins-Cowboys on "Monday Night Football"? Yeah, you have heard that record before. This is the 16th time the NFC East rivals will meet under the Monday night lights. The only rivalry that has been staged more on MNF is Raiders-Broncos with 17, and the Raiders probably aren't going to be on MNF for several years, so that could be passed by 2016.
If this were any other two-win team the Cowboys were facing, I would say this is potentially a huge trap game for Dallas. The Cowboys (6-1) have won an NFL-high six straight games on the back of DeMarco Murray. They are due a bit of a letdown game, but I don't see it happening in such a big rivalry game. Maybe next Sunday on a short week at home vs. Arizona. Despite being tied for the NFL's best record following Denver's win on Thursday night, Dallas is the third favorite to win the Super Bowl at +900 at Sportsbook.ag and second favorite to win the NFC at +450 behind Green Bay. The Cowboys are -140 to win the NFC East. I absolutely didn't see this coming. I thought 8-8 (again) at best this year and more like 6-10.
It's tough to get fired after one season as an NFL head coach, but it's not unprecedented. In fact, it has happened before under Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Marty Schottenheimer was canned after an 8-8 season in 2001. Thus, I wonder if Snyder is having second thoughts about hiring Jay Gruden. It's obviously not Gruden's fault that Robert Griffin III went down injured in Week 2, but Washington (2-5) just hasn't looked good since then (and didn't in his Week 1 start). At least the Skins finally have their first-round pick this year should they finish with one of the worst records, which looks likely.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Betting Story Lines
The big news here is that the Redskins will start third-string QB Colt McCoy, which makes me laugh out loud. Kirk Cousins looked like a savior once RGIII went down, but that lasted about a game-and-a-half. Cousins keeps throwing interceptions, and if you read his body language his confidence seems to plummet with each turnover. He had a pick and a lost fumble in the first half last week against Tennessee, and the Redskins were down 10-6 at the half -- lose that and Gruden is in real trouble.
So the coach put McCoy in for the second half and he was 11-for-12 for 128 yards and a TD as Washington won 19-17. This will be his first start since 2011 while with Cleveland. The former Texas star, a third-round pick in 2010, was not good in three years with the Browns. Last year he was a backup with the 49ers. Bovada has a Week 8 special on McCoy's total yards, set at .235.5 Both options are -115. McCoy is a lot like the Chiefs' Alex Smith as he throws very short passes. McCoy's yards per attempt since entering the NFL is a scant 6.33. He might have to throw a lot because Redskins running back Alfred Morris is averaging just 2.82 yards per carry the past three weeks.
Defensively, Washington loss pass-rushing linebacker Brian Orakpo to a season-ending injury last week. Orakpo had 10 sacks last season but just a half-sack this season along with 24 combined tackles. Orakpo is the second defensive starter Washington has lost for the year, joining cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Washington has been pretty solid on defense this year, ranking No. 7 against the pass and No. 12 vs. the rush. The team has given up a lot of points in large part because of turnovers by the offense.
On Bovada's updated MVP odds, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is the 7/2 second favorite to Peyton Manning. Obviously Manning is incredible, but how can you not give this award to Murray if the season were to end today? He has totally transformed this Dallas offense. Murray has rushed for at least 100 yards in all seven games, an NFL record to start the season. He leads the NFL in rushing yards by nearly 300. His 187 attempts are on pace to break the NFL record and are 61 more than any other player entering Week 8. If he breaks down, and history has shown he will, then the Cowboys are up the creek.
The good news is Dallas hasn't had its bye yet, so the Cowboys are no doubt praying he can make it there (Week 11) to get some needed rest. The early total for Murray's yards this week was 110.5 yards. By the way, Murray is in the last year of his rookie contract, so he's in line to get a huge payday. I think only Dallas gives it to him as teams are generally shying away from massive contracts to running backs these days. Murray (187 carries and 26 pass targets) and Dez Bryant (79 pass targets) have been the designed recipient of the ball on 63.3 percent of the Cowboys' 461 plays this season.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys NFL Monday Night Football Week 8 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Dallas is a 10-point favorite (+105), with an alternate line of 9.5 (-110). The Cowboys are -500 on the moneyline and the Redskins +400. The "over/under" is 49.5 points. Washington is 2-5 against the spread this season (1-2 on road) and 4-3 O/U (2-1 on road). Dallas is 5-2 ATS (2-2 at home) and 4-3 O/U (2-2 at home).
The Redskins are 2-6 ATS in their past eight vs. the NFC East and 2-7 in their past nine on Monday night. Washington is 1-6 ATS in its past seven after a win. The Cowboys are 5-1 ATS in their past seven following a win. They are 6-1 ATS in their past seven October games. The over is 6-2 in Washington's past eight against teams with a winning record. The over is 8-2 in Dallas' past 10 after a win. Washington has covered seven of the past eight meetings. The under is 8-3 in the past 11.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Monday Night Football Picks and Betting Prediction
The Cowboys swept both meetings last year but obviously didn't face McCoy (or DeSean Jackson as a Redskin). Murray had seven carries for 29 yards and a TD in Dallas' 31-16 home win. He had 22 carries for 96 yards and a score in the Cowboys' 24-23 win at Washington.
I trust McCoy zero percent. The Cowboys will be prepared for him, while the Titans weren't. Dallas will win, but 10 is too many in a rivalry game. Give the alternate line of 9.5 points and go over.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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