Four of the last five Dallas games have gone OVER the posted total on the NFL odds board. It’s going to be tough for Washington to keep up the pace Monday night with Colt McCoy starting at QB.
Jason’s record after Week 7: 22-29 ATS, 7-11-1 Totals
Profit: minus-29.68 units
Is it okay to be a Dallas Cowboys fan again? The team that used to be America’s Team has won six straight games – two more, and they’ll already have matched their regular-season win total of eight on the NFL props market. It’s very likely Dallas will pick up Win No. 7 on Monday Night Football against Washington, the worst team in the NFC East. And it’s very likely that the Cowboys will find their way into the end zone. They’ve scored at least 30 points in four of their past five games – all of them going OVER.
So why aren’t people betting that way? Our consensus reports for Monday night’s matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Arlington saw 60 percent of early bettors adding the UNDER to their Week 8 NFL picks, with the total opening at 49.5 points. As we go to press, the UNDER is still the preferred choice of 54 percent of bettors, despite the total dipping to 49.
I’m a Doctor, Not a Quarterback
You can’t blame people for throwing their weight behind the UNDER in this situation. It was the right choice in eight of the last 11 games between these old rivals, stretching all the way back to 2008. And while Dallas has the No. 3-ranked offense (No. 6 pass, No. 3 rush) on the Week 7 DVOA charts, Washington’s offense is only No. 20 in efficiency (No. 23 pass, No. 13 rush).
And that was before Colt McCoy was named the “starting” quarterback. We have to use the ironic quotes there because it’s still not 100 percent official; Washington could conceivably start Robert Griffin III on Monday, if his left ankle is healthy enough. We’re proceeding as if McCoy will get his first start since he was with the Cleveland Browns in 2011. In which case, don’t expect big things from Washington’s offense. McCoy had 20 touchdown passes in his 21 starts for the Browns.
The chances of McCoy somehow catching fire on Monday Night Football aren’t very good, either. The most TD passes he’s ever thrown in a game: two. Cleveland made up for that somewhat in 2010 with a strong season from RB Peyton Hillis (4.4 yards per carry) to lift the OVER to a 6-2 record in McCoy’s eight starts, but Hillis turned into a pile of dry leaves in 2011 (3.6 yards per carry), and the UNDER went 8-5 before McCoy lost his starting job to Seneca Wallace.
Is Alfred Morris the new Peyton Hillis? Morris was just a sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic in 2012; Hillis was taken in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Arkansas. Both men ended up rather surprisingly at the top of the depth chart. And Morris has only rushed for 3.8 yards per carry this year after putting up 4.6 yards per carry in 2013. All that’s missing from the equation is the Madden Curse.
Washington also has to deal with an offensive line featuring a hobbled Trent Williams at left tackle, and a new starting right tackle in Tom Compton, who is mercifully taking over for Tyler Polumbus, Human Turnstile. If there’s any hope of racking up points against Dallas, it’s because the Cowboys only have the No. 19-ranked defense in the league (No. 11 pass, No. 26 rush), and partly because the Dallas return game hasn’t been stellar with Dwayne Harris fielding punts and kicks. Otherwise, it looks like Washington is bringing a knife to this gunfight. Sign us up for our standard small bet on the UNDER.
Free NFL Pick: Bet one unit on UNDER 50 at Bovada
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