The NFL betting odds are on hold while we look forward to Sunday's trip to Jolly Old England when the Dallas Cowboys and the Jacksonville Jaguars battle it out in Week 10.
Jason’s record after Week 8: 24-33 ATS, 9-12-1 Totals
Profit: minus-29.93 units
In theory, the Dallas Cowboys have opened as 7.5-point favorites for Sunday’s matchup at Wembley Stadium (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But as we go to press, all of the online sportsbooks featured on our Week 10 odds board have this game circled. Will QB Tony Romo start this game? Or will it be Brandon Weeden?
No doubt the books don’t want to get burned again like last week, when the Cowboys had a limited opening as 4-point home favorites against the Arizona Cardinals despite Romo (back contusion) being considered a game-time decision. Once it became clear the morning of the game that Weeden would get the start, the NFL odds were thrown into chaos. Some books had the game as a pick ‘em; others had Dallas –1.5, still others had Arizona –1.5. The Cardinals ended up winning 28-17. So what mayhem do we have in store this week?
The Cowboys are talking as if Romo is going to start – owner Jerry Jones even said he’s “betting” on it. But that doesn’t mean we should, as well. Jones suggested last week that it was just a matter of “pain tolerance” whether or not Romo would start against Arizona, and the team listed him as questionable, suggesting a 50/50 chance of Romo competing. He missed the entire week of practice. Was Romo ever really going to play last week?
For the purposes of this column, we’re going to go ahead and assume that Romo straps on the pads in London, and that the spread stays at 7.5 points. But we’re only doing this because we’re actually going to add the Jaguars to our NFL picks at this price. If Weeden happens to get another start, bully for us. We like Jacksonville in this situation either way.
Icy Hot Won’t Save You
The last time we saw Romo, he was being hustled back into the Week 8 game against Washington after getting drilled during the third quarter. Weeden had come in and thrown the game-tying TD pass to Jason Witten in the fourth, but Romo was brought back in to go for the win. And he looked absolutely miserable. Romo was sacked again and fumbled the ball at his own 12-yard line, only to see DeMarco Murray recover the ball for Dallas. Then Romo and the Cowboys (–9 away) couldn’t answer when Washington scored a field goal in overtime. Final score: Washington 20, Dallas 17.
Washington might be a bad team, but Jacksonville (1-8 SU, 2-6-1 ATS) is clearly worse, sitting at No. 31 (No. 31 offense, No. 11 defense, No. 25 special teams) on the DOVA charts after Week 8. Dallas was No. 11 overall (No. 6 offense, No. 19 defense, No. 21 special teams). Notice the gap in defensive efficiency there. But we’re giving Dallas the edge in that category based on defensive SRS, where the Cowboys are plus-0.2 and the Jaguars are minus-2.9 all the way through Week 9.
In the end, we’re still speculating about Romo’s ability to play in Week 10. But if he does, it’ll be with a messed-up back that’s had to endure a transcontinental flight. And he’ll be playing behind an offensive line that is starting to lose bodies (Doug Free, Ronald Leary). Jacksonville hasn’t done a very good job of realizing its value as a double-digit dog this year, but we can’t help but go with the Jags this time. Pip pip.
The Five Stars
Defense/Special Teams: DAL
Market Bias: JAX
Betting Line Value: JAX
Verdict: 1-star pick on JAX
Free NFL Pick: Bet 1.4 units on the Jaguars +7.5 at Bet365