NFL Betting: Cowboys vs. Dolphins Early Odds, Preview & Free Pick

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 19, 2015 7:40 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015 7:40 PM UTC

Now that Tony Romo is about to make his return, the Dallas Cowboys are a popular football pick for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins. Should we join the parade?

Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 17: 39-34-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 22-29 Total

So it was written, so it has come to pass. The Miami Dolphins were the preferred NFL pick of early bettors for Sunday's matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) with the visiting Dallas Cowboys, but as we go to press, the Cowboys have already turned the tide. They're pulling in 58-percent support as a pick' em, although action has been light enough to keep us from producing an expanded consensus report just yet.

Tony Romo this, Tony Romo that, blah blah blah. Yes, we expect him to be an upgrade over Matt Cassel, at least in the longer term – how well will Romo play this Sunday in his first game off injured reserve? That's harder to say, but even if Romo is back to his old self, we're not comfortable recommending Dallas for your consideration this week.

Speedy Speedy Speedy Lee
Let's take another look at that Cowboys defense. We're still waiting for the fresh DVOA stats from Football Outsiders, but going into Week 10, Dallas ranked No. 24 overall (No. 18 pass, No. 27 rush) in defensive efficiency. Those numbers should look better after the Cowboys lost 10-6 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1 at home), but it's still a dark harbinger for Sunday's game.

For some statistical back-up, we turn to the fine folks at Pro-Football Reference, who have their latest Simple Rating System numbers available through Week 10. Dallas doesn't look so bad in this case at +1.5 DSRS. Perhaps things aren't as bad as they seem; DE Greg Hardy (four sacks in five games) has bolstered the Cowboys pass defense since his arrival, and LB Sean Lee (66 tackles) has cleared the league's concussion protocol after missing the Bucs game. Hmmmm.

Fishy Fishy Fishy Fish
It's not as if we're running headlong into the arms of the Dolphins (4-5 SU and ATS). They've been having many of the same issues as Dallas when it comes to dubious defense and special teams. But is their offense any good? Football Outsiders had Miami ranked No. 13 (No. 19 pass, No. 4 rush) in offensive efficiency through Week 9, while PFR has that offense rated below average at –0.7 SRS, factoring in last week's 20-19 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles (–5.5 at home). Hmmmm.

We're going to take the soft option here at the ranch and shift our focus to the totals on the Week 11 NFL odds board. The weather forecast calls for a 50-percent chance of thunderstorms over old Joe Robbie Stadium, with some crosswinds thrown in for good measure. There's a 47.5-point total on this matchup at press time, up from 46 at the open, and our consensus reports show 90-percent support for the UNDER. That's an old-school sharp pick in a desert of uncertainty.

Free NFL Pick: Take UNDER 47.5 (-105) at WagerWeb

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