Free Expert NFL Picks: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 12/11/2014
With all due respect to Broncos-Chargers or 49ers-Seahawks or whatever game you want to give me, the clear top matchup of Week 15 is the Sunday night NFC East showdown between Dallas (9-4) and Philadelphia (9-4) for first place in the division. Guarantee you it draws the most betting action of the week and does monster ratings because that's just what Dallas does -- especially when good.
Obviously the Cowboys-Eagles winner will have the upper hand in the division. If Philly wins this game, it's all but over because it beat Dallas a couple of weeks ago and obviously would win the tiebreaker. If Dallas wins, it's still a race. The head-to-head tiebreaker would then be a wash. It would improve the Cowboys to 3-2 in the division and drop Philly to 3-1 -- divisional record is tiebreaker No. 2. Dallas has a tough home game Week 16 against Indianapolis before closing at Washington. The Redskins are awful, but they hate the Cowboys and would love to ruin their division chances. The Eagles close at Washington and at the NY Giants, two games they should win and would be favored in.
Philadelphia is the -200 favorite at Bovada to win the NFC East and Dallas +150. The Eagles are +800 third-favorites to win the NFC and the Cowboys +1000. The loser Sunday has just about no shot at getting a top-two seed in the conference even if it rallies to win the division. I'm just assuming Green Bay (10-3) doesn't finish worse than 12-4. I think Seattle (9-4) probably also finishes 12-4. The Eagles lose a tiebreaker to both. Dallas didn't play the Pack but beat Seattle. Then you have to factor in Arizona (10-3, but I think loses at least twice more) and Detroit (9-4) just to get a wild-card spot. The Cowboys lost to the Cardinals and didn't play the Lions. The Eagles also lost to Arizona and didn't play Detroit.
Cowboys at Eagles Betting Story Lines
Philadelphia hasn't lost two straight all year and has followed each loss with a two-game winning streak. That electric offense was totally shut down last week in a 24-14 home loss to surging Seattle. Mark Sanchez has played pretty well in place of the injured Nick Foles, but he looked like, well, Mark Sanchez in that game. He was 10-for-29 for 96 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. The Eagles, who had won 10 straight home games, managed just 139 total yards and nine first downs. Guys like Brent Celek and Darren Sproles didn't even have a catch.
That game clearly showed that as good as Chip Kelly's offense can look at times, a good defense can still shut down a high-powered offense. Seahawks fans know that well from the last Super Bowl. It was the fewest yards the Eagles have had under Kelly and fewest allowed by Seattle since 2005. That's what's worrisome if you have an Eagles NFC championship ticket. They haven't really measured up to the good teams. Philly didn't score a point on offense in a loss to the 49ers and managed only 20 in losses to Arizona and Green Bay -- and the Packers aren't even that good on defense.
Dallas, meanwhile, had a few extra days to prepare for this one after beating the lifeless Bears 41-28 in Chicago last Thursday to improve to 6-0 on the road. The only season in which the Cowboys finished with a perfect road record was 1968 when they finished 7-0.Tony Romo was brilliant vs. the Bears, going 21 of 26 for 205 yards and three touchdowns.
DeMarco Murray rushed 32 times for 179 yards and a touchdown and even caught a career-high nine passes for 49 yards. That dude's legs are going to fall off. His 41 touches were the most in a game by any player since Larry Johnson had 41 in 2006. Murray has three games with 35 or more touches this season. All other running backs combined have four. Murray, a lock to win the rushing title, has 11 100-yard games, matching Emmitt Smith's team record. The victory clinched the Cowboys' first winning season since 2009. Those extra few days off can only help Romo's injured back.
On Thanksgiving, Dallas was a 3-point home favorite against Philadelphia but was dominated in a 33-10 loss, easily the team's worst effort of the season. Romo didn't look healthy in that quick turnaround game, going 18-for-29 for 199 yards and two interceptions. Murray was held to a season-low 73 yards on 20 carries. He has played four games against Philadelphia in his career but has yet to reach the 100-yard mark. Sanchez was solid: 20-for-29 for 217 yards and a TD. LeSean McCoy had his best game of the year with 25 carries for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles NFL Week 15 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Philadelphia opened as a 3-point favorite (-120) with alternate lines of 4 (+113), 3.5 (+105), 2.5 (-145), 2 (-150). Philly is -170 on the moneyline with Dallas at +150. The total is 55. The Cowboys are 7-6 against the spread (5-1 on road) and 7-5-1 "over/under" (5-1 on road). The Eagles are 8-5 ATS (5-2 at home) and 8-5 O/U (5-2 at home).
Dallas is 2-5 ATS in its past seven December games. The Cowboys are 0-4 ATS in their past four after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game. The Eagles are 5-0 ATS in their past five after a loss. Philly has covered just two of its past eight after scoring less than 15 points in its previous game. The over is 5-0 in Dallas' past five road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The over is 5-0 in the Eagles' past five after a loss. The road team has covered five of the past six meetings. The under is 6-2 in the past eight.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
Sanchez could be in line for a big game here as since Week 11 Dallas is allowing 292.3 pass yards per game, 30th in the NFL. In Weeks 1-10, the Cowboys allowed only 239.8. Dallas has had some trouble getting to the passer of late, getting Sanchez just once in that first meeting and Jay Cutler zero times last week.
The Cowboys have two straight and four of five at Lincoln Financial Field, but that ends Sunday. Give the 2.5 points and go under. I expect something like Eagles 30, Cowboys 21 (but give only 2.5 to be safe).
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