Can fewer distractions help the Cowboys make a Super Bowl run? A pedestrian 2018 regular-season schedule certainly helps. Here it is, including an early look at which games to back and fade against the spread.
The Dallas Cowboys need less controversy and greater focus to return to the playoffs to challenge a historic 13-3 record from two years ago. So far, so good. The front office released polarizing wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Ezekiel Elliott’s legal battles are behind him, and owner Jerry Jones is showering fewer criticisms and divisive comments.
Below you will find the Cowboys' straight-up and against-the-spread records from last year’s NFL regular season, including average margin of victory, 2017 average odds, 2017 win totals, 2018 pre-schedule betting win total and projected strength of schedule using opponents’ combined record from 2017.
2017 SU Record: 9-7 (1.4 avg. margin)
2017 ATS Record: 8-7-1 (-0.7 avg. margin)
2017 Average Line: -2.1
2017 Win Total: 9.5 (+120)
2018 Strength of Schedule: T15, 128-128 (.500)Three Games to Back ATS
@ Texans, Week 5
Dallas is 17-11 SU and 17-9-2 ATS in away contests against AFC opponents under head coach Jason Garrett.
@ Redskins, Week 7 & @ Eagles, Week 10
Toss out a few meaningless Week 17 matchups, and the Cowboys are 8-2 SU and ATS as road underdogs against division foes since 2010. Amazing upset potential when you consider they kick off 4.5-point pups on average. Dallas will definitely catch points at Philly. Advanced lines will have the Cowboys slight favorites at Washington, but this could move the other way depending on how the Redskins fare without Kirk Cousins to begin the year.
Three Games to Fade ATS
Lions, Week 4 & Eagles, Week 14
It’s no secret among bettors the Cowboys stink under Garrett covering the spread as home chalk. Since 2011, they are 13-27 ATS overall. Where Dallas is weakest is against strong passing offenses adept at finding the end zone. Hosting opponents that passed for greater than 1.65 touchdowns per tilt the prior season, the Boys are 6-14 SU and 4-16 ATS. They are failing to top a -0.9 average line by 3.7 points per game. The Eagles topped the NFL with 2.4 passing touchdowns in 2017; the Lions mustered 1.8 behind gunslinger Matt Stafford.
Redskins, Week 12
The Thanksgiving Day clash with the Redskins will see Dallas get four days to prepare. Fade time. Under Garrett, the franchise is 4-11 SU and 1-13-1 ATS when getting fewer than six days rest. It is kicking off -2.1 favorites in this spot, but losing by a hefty 6.7-point margin.
Trap Game Potential
@ Colts, Week 15
Dallas is 3-8 SU and ATS all-time as a road underdog against the AFC South. Advanced lines will see Dallas favorites, but a healthy Andrew Luck for Indy could move this game move closer to a pick’em come kickoff.