Free NFL Picks for Saints vs. Cowboys Total & Spread

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 6:21 PM GMT

The Saints and Cowboys collide in week 4 NFL betting, a Sunday Prime Time Football extravaganza that many believe screams shootout. Here’s our preview of this must-see game with our choice NFL pick.

New Orleans Saints (1-2, 0-2 away), Favoured on the Road
New Orleans Saints hit the road again. After opening the season with a 0-2 SU and ATS record on the road, it was amidst heavy burden of expectation the Saints returned home to face Minnesota Vikings in week 3. A must-win game if they were to avoid the dreaded 0-3 start on the season that would have all but written doom all over their 2014. Fortunately, the Saints deposited their best account yet, beating the Vikings 20-9 and laying the points as the prohibitive 9.5-point (thereabouts) favourites. They aren’t out of the woods yet. A defeat in Dallas would send the Saints on to a 1-3 mark into week 5, all while a Bye looms ahead in the following week.

It many ways this is a must-win game for the Saints. At the crux of the matter is an abysmal road record in recent memory: Saints went 3-5 SU on the road last season; they are 0-2 on the road this season; and they are a staggering 0-6 ATS in their last six road games spanning both terms.

 

Can the Saints Overcome Their Road Woes?
The win over the Vikings marked their ninth straight home win since 2013, picking up from where they left off last season on a perfect 8-0 record. Taking that momentum to Dallas is going to be crucial if the Saints are to deliver as the firm -165 NFL odds favourites to win straight up. Drew Brees threw 27-of-35 for 293 yards and two touchdowns, all while recording his best passer rating of the season (120.3). Still considering the Saints combined for almost 400 yards of total offense, converting all that to just 20 points leaves something to be desired; that is, if we’re to nitpick.

On the upside, the Saints are fifth overall in passing offense with 281.3 yards per game and sixth overall in rushing with 140.3 yards per game. Opposing the pass they are a dubious 29th in the league with 278.3 yards allowed, but they are a much better tenth in the league at defending against the rush with 101.3 yards allowed per game.

 

Dallas Cowboys (2-1, 0-1 home), Home Pups
Last season, Saints beat Dallas 49-17 at the Superdome – a game that saw the Saints combine for a whopping 625 yards of total offense and Drew Brees alone put up 392 yards and four touchdowns. The Cowboys were outgained 625-to-193 yards while Tony Romo went 10-of-24 for just 128 yards and a touchdown (and three sacks). It was a forgettable outing for the Cowboys, to say the least.

This so-called “grudge game” or “revenge rematch” is set to take place in Dallas this time around, where the Cowboys should have some advantage, despite being dubbed the +145 underdogs to win SU. Granted the Cowboys were clobbered by the Niners in their home opener. But if we’re being generous, it was down to a lot of mistakes and errors on both sides of the ball as well as Romo’s lack of form following back surgery and sloppy defensive play.

 

Can Cowboys Overcome a Porous Defense?
Since the unmemorable start, the Dallas Cowboys have bounced back with two wins on the road, including a sensational comeback against the St. Louis Rams last week where Romo erased a 21-0 deficit and led the Cowboys to the 34-31 victory. To put a bit of a damper on the come-from-behind win, the Cowboys were outgained by 108 yards and their pass defense gave up 327 yards to an unheralded Austin Davis. That’s more than mildly concerning for Cowboys fans with the Saints slated next at the AT & T Stadium.

Cowboys are 21st in the league opposing the pass with 250.3 yards per game. To counter some of their defensive issues, not to mention Romo’s struggles with his back, the Cowboys have developed a previously unseen run game. They are third in the league with 156.7 yards. Since 2012, Cowboys are only 6-11 ATS at home and 2-2 ATS as the home underdog.

 

NFL Betting Line:
New Orleans Saints -3.0 (-115), -165, O/U 52.5
Dallas Cowboys +3.0 (-115), +145, O/U 52.5

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":290622, "sportsbooksIds":[19,43,227,1096,999996,93,238,123,139], "LineTypeId":5, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

 

NFL Betting Analysis
Cowboys are riding a two-game winning streak ahead of this game but their positive 2-1 record on the season belies some glaring issues on both sides of the ball. On the defensive side, they are extremely porous – something we saw in all its ugliness against the San Francisco 49ers, and, to some extent, at the start of the game with the Rams last week. Let’s not forget, their winning run of form is built on two questionable sides in the current NFL betting landscape – the Titans and Rams. Clearly, bookies aren’t reading into those results overly as they send the Cowboys into their home affair as the underdogs at +145, as well the 3-point dogs on the spread.

On paper, the Saints are superior; on the offensive side of the ball, they are inside the top ten (5th in passing and 6th in rushing) and that presents a challenge to a Dallas defense that still has a lot to prove to critics. Largely down to that they are the favourites to win straight up at -165. However, Saints’ defense isn’t much to write home about either when they are 29th against the pass, and when the Saints lost to both the Falcons and Browns on the road – two sides that were subpar last season – through costly turnovers and defensive mistakes.

 

NFL Betting Verdict
All in all, these two sides stack up rather interestingly – both skilled on offense while underwhelming on defense. No wonder it has shootout written all over it, which means technically it could go either way. Forced to decide one way or the other, we’re mostly concerned about Dallas’ defensive issues and turnover-prone offense. They haven’t faced a quality quarterback since the defeat to Kaepernick and the Niners. Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees is undoubtedly better than the last two centres they’ve faced and he’ll certainly provide a much better litmus test for us about where things truly stand with the Cowboys. As such, we’re swinging towards the Saints ever so slightly to win straight up at -165. Indeed, it wouldn’t shock us if the Saints win by exactly a field goal to push the 3-points. Our value NFL pick is therefore the 'Over' 52.0 (-110), which just seems way to low given the offensive weapons and defensive issues of both teams. 

NFL Picks: Saints SU at -165; Over 53.0 -110 at 5Dimes