NFL Picks: Cowboys vs. Saints Opening Odds

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 1:22 PM GMT

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 1:22 PM GMT

The Dallas Cowboys have been the most profitable NFL bet this season. The New Orleans Saints haven’t been too bad themselves. Who will rule this Sunday night in Big D?

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 3 inclusive:

22-19-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

4-5 Totals

The Dallas Cowboys are this close to being 8-1.

Let that sink in for a moment. Dallas is actually 5-4 after escaping with a 27-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings (+10 away) in Week 9, but three of those losses were by a combined five points. So while people are busy bemoaning Tony Romo’s lack of clutchness, the Cowboys have been busy raking in the cash at 7-2 ATS. They’re the kings of NFL betting as we put the first half of the 2013 regular season behind us.

Naturally, the Cowboys were named 7-point road dogs on the opening NFL odds for their Sunday Night Football matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) against the New Orleans Saints, who have dropped two of their last three to fall to 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS. Seems like a simple football bet on the surface. Let’s see what lies underneath.

Check out SBRs NFL Week 10 Betting Odds Report

America’s B-Team

Once upon a time, the Cowboys were the most popular team in the NFL. Now they’re just the most valuable team in the league ($2.3 billion, according to Forbes). They’ve still got millions of fans, but it’s been nearly 20 years since they won the Super Bowl – Dallas hasn’t even made it to the conference finals since winning it all in 1995-96. The narrative surrounding the team has become more derisive with each passing season.

Some of this has been earned. In addition to being a hands-on owner (slash president slash general manager), Jerry Jones is a gaffe-meister supreme, and a highly visible one at that. Many fans in Texas still haven’t forgiven Jones for firing coach Tom Landry; then Jones decided to get rid of Jimmie Johnson after two Super Bowl victories, claiming that “any one of 500 coaches” could have won the title with the players Jones himself drafted.

Jones was right in a way. Barry Switzer (who had zero NFL coaching experience) was at the helm when Dallas won Super Bowl XXX, at the peak of the Troy Aikman Era. It’s no coincidence that the Cowboys haven’t won a thing since. Jones hasn’t had the luxury of picking first overall since grabbing Aikman after buying the Cowboys in 1989. He’s done quite well with his later first-round selections, including DB Terence Newman (No. 5, 2003), LB DeMarcus Ware (No. 11, 2005) and DE Anthony Spencer (No. 26, 2007). But not even Bill Parcells could win the Super Bowl for Big D without a supreme talent like Aikman at quarterback.

The Enemy of the Great

That’s Tony Romo’s problem in a nutshell: He’s not Troy Aikman. That’s the measuring stick for Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks, even though Romo didn’t arrive on the scene until 2006, and has played far better than the Quincy Carters and the Chad Hutchinsons who preceded him. Yes, Romo has had some high-profile stumbles in big games, but he’s also made the Pro Bowl three times.

I’m trying not to go on another Romo rant here. I’ll just let the numbers talk: Romo was seventh in the league in passing DYAR through Week 8. He’s thrown 20 TD passes with just six interceptions, posting a QB rating of 100.0. And how about his late game-winning drive against the Vikings? Nobody remembers these things. It’s just a regular-season game, after all.

Well, so is Sunday night’s matchup. The beloved Saints are the better team at No. 7 on the efficiency charts, ahead of Dallas at No. 11, and Drew Brees is the better quarterback at No. 3 in passing DYAR. But seven points better at the Superdome? I’m not buying it.

 NFL Pick: Take the Cowboys +7 at BetDSI

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