Bet Cowboys Cover vs. Rams in Week 3 NFL

Jason Lake

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 4:53 PM GMT

The Dallas Cowboys shook off their disappointing season debut and thumped the NFL odds in Week 2. They’re getting plenty of early support for Week 3 against the St. Louis Rams, but who will play quarterback for St. Louis?

 

Jason’s record after Week 1: 1-4 ATS, 0-1 Totals
Profit: minus-6.6 units

 

There’s life in Big D after all. The Dallas Cowboys looked like XFL rejects in their 28-17 season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers (–3.5 away), but against somewhat easier opposition in Week 2, Dallas came alive and beat the Tennessee Titans (–3 at home) 26-10. We’ve seen this movie before. Last year, the Cowboys picked up seven of their eight victories against sub-.500 teams, and seven of their eight losses against the top half of the league.

The St. Louis Rams should probably go into that first bucket. They were 7-9 SU and ATS last year, including a 31-7 loss to the Cowboys (–3.5 at home) in Week 3. One year later, St. Louis is 1-1 SU and ATS with Dallas about to visit The Jones. But you won’t find too many people who think the Rams are a better team this year. Not without Sam Bradford (90.9 passer rating in 2013) at quarterback.

 

Name That Pivot
So who’s going to play quarterback for St. Louis this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)? That’s the $64 question, and the football betting world is waiting for an answer. Will it be Shaun Hill, the anointed replacement for Bradford who suffered a thigh injury in Week 1? Or will it be Austin Davis, the untested back-up who actually played quite well in a 19-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (–4 at home)?

Most of the online sportsbooks on our NFL odds board are keeping this matchup circled until we have an answer – but not all of them. A handful of intrepid books have opened the Cowboys as 1.5-point road dogs, and while we don’t have enough data yet for a consensus report at press time, it appears Dallas is getting overwhelming support from the football betting public at this price. As always, keep those eagle eyes on the NFL lines and newswires for further developments.

 

The Real Johnny Football
It’s really a shame that Bradford (torn ACL) was lost for the season – a shame for him, obviously, but also for St. Louis supporters. The Rams were a potential sneaky follow candidate in the tough NFC West, with the undervalued Bradford starting to find his groove and a defense that finished No. 11 in efficiency last year. Don’t forget about those great special teams, either; St. Louis led the league in net yardage on both kick-offs and punts in 2013. And it wasn’t even close on punts, as Johnny Hekker made the Pro Bowl after setting the NFL record for net punt yards at 44.2.

Those would-be advantages on defense and special teams have yet to materialize this year, which is why we have Dallas ranked ahead of St. Louis in this pivotal category. And things got considerably worse on defense with the ankle injury to LE Chris Long. He’s been put on IR and won’t be back for eight weeks at the earliest. That punches a big hole in the Rams’ front seven, which was easily the team’s strength in front of a porous secondary that’s missing LC Trumaine Johnson (sprained MCL) for at least a couple more weeks.

The Cowboys have plenty of injury concerns on defense, but they also have one of the best offenses in the league, with perpetually underrated QB Tony Romo (95.4 career passer rating) looking more like his usual self in the Week 2 win over Tennessee. We’ll bite the bullet and make Dallas our official pick here.

 

The Five Stars
Injuries/Suspensions/Travel/Rest: DAL
Defense/Special Teams: DAL
Coaching: STL
Market Bias: STL
Betting Line Value: DAL

Betting Verdict: 1-star pick on DAL

NFL Pick: Put 1.4 units on the Cowboys –1.5 at 5Dimes

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