Any line above a field goal is dicey when the Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants.
The Cowboys are 4-point favorites against the Giants in their Week 1 Sunday Night Football meeting, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Dallas is only 3-6-1 against the spread over its last 10 home games against NFC East competition and an even more abject 0-4-1 ATS in its last five matchups against the Giants.
Dallas opened as a 5.5-point favorite, but the line has come down even though the Cowboys had RB Ezekiel Elliott reinstated this week whereas Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (left ankle) is considered 50-50 to play.
New York was a playoff team last season, going 11-6 SU and 8-7-2 ATS, and a defense that boasts SS Landon Collins, CB Janoris Jenkins (the designed Dez Bryant stopper) and veteran DE Jason Pierre-Paul will keep them in a lot of games.
The outlook for the Giants offense, specifically an offensive line where LT Ereck Flowers has been exposed at times, is not as bright. Quarterback Eli Manning will once again have to pick up the slack for what is a less than well-rounded offense.
The Cowboys were 13-4 SU and 10-6-1 last season, winning the NFC East before losing in the divisional round. Offensively, on Sunday the onus will be on the Cowboys to get Elliott in gear, which might not be easy against the Giants, who had the second-most efficient rush defense last year.
If Bryant continues having trouble shaking Jenkins, second-year QB Dak Prescott will have to seek out other targets such as WR Cole Beasley and TE Jason Witten. Dallas is 5-1 SU in its last six night games. The total has gone over in seven of the Cowboys’ last eight home games against the Giants, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
In another primetime matchup, the Minnesota Vikings are set as 3.5-point betting favorites against the New Orleans Saints as they face their former star, RB Adrian Peterson, who is now with New Orleans.
The Saints were 7-9 SU and 10-5-1 ATS in 2016 and the jury is out on whether the changes they’ve made on defense will help give Hall of Fame-bound QB Drew Brees another playoff run. They are money on the road (8-1-1 ATS in their last 10), but have stumbled in season openers with a 1-6 ATS mark over their last seven Week 1 games.
Brees will mainly be working with WR Michael Thomas, WR Ted Ginn Jr. and TE Coby Fleener against a Vikings defense that was fourth in the NFL in yards allowed per pass last season.
The Vikings faded to an 8-8 SU and 9-7 ATS finish last season. Whether they can continue a trend of being 6-1 ATS in their last seven games at night likely boils down to whether their offense makes a leap forward. In the passing phase, that would mean QB Sam Bradford connecting downfield (he led the NFL in passes thrown at or behind the line of scrimmage in
2016, hence the 70 percent completion percentage) more often.
Minnesota was almost historically bad at run blocking last year and has changed almost all its personnel in the ground game, with RB Dalvin Cook and RB Latavius Murray coming aboard.
The total has gone under in eight of the Saints’ last 11 games as road underdogs.
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