NFL Picks: Redskins-Cowboys Betting Odds Analysis

Jason Lake

Monday, October 20, 2014 8:33 PM GMT

Is Colt McCoy really the solution for Washington’s quarterback problems? And will it even matter with the defense falling apart? The NFL odds for Monday night’s game against Dallas aren’t very encouraging.

Jason’s record after Week 6: 21-22 ATS, 5-10-1 Totals

Profit: minus-13.99 units
 

Colt McCoy deserves his moment in the sun. Here’s a guy who set all the quarterback records at Texas and won his first three bowl games – before getting injured on the first drive of the 2010 BCS National Championship Game against Alabama. Then he got drafted by the Cleveland Browns. Life hardly seems fair sometimes.

But here we are at roughly the mid-point of the 2014 NFL season, and McCoy gets to be the hero again for at least one week. Washington’s third-string QB was pressed into service Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, and he delivered a 19-17 come-from-behind victory. The Titans still beat the NFL odds as 6-point road dogs, but McCoy got the job done, connecting on 11 of his 12 passes. So will he play Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) when Washington visits the Dallas Cowboys?

Early Week 8 Betting Value

Colt’s Mild
Short answer: We don’t know. But it doesn’t seem to matter as far as the NFL odds makers are concerned. They didn’t bother circling this matchup at all; Dallas opened as an 8.5-point home chalk, edging up to –9.5 in early betting. Our consensus reports show bettors favoring the Cowboys very slightly at 51 percent, but we’re still waiting for enough data to come in on how much money is landing on either side.

It does appear that McCoy will get his chance to start on Monday Night Football. Washington head coach Jay Gruden told reporters that McCoy would get the first-team reps in practice, ahead of Kirk Cousins, but he also said that Robert Griffin III – remember him? – could make his return against the Cowboys. It’s probably not going to happen, but Griffin (ankle) has been putting in some limited practice, and if he looks at all healthy this week, Washington will pull the trigger.

Or so says Gruden. This could be a smokescreen designed to protect McCoy from criticism – or unreasonable expectations. It would be a big stretch to say McCoy (76.1 career passer rating) is a better option than Cousins (86.4 passer rating this year) at quarterback. We’re hearing chatter about how McCoy is a better fit in Gruden’s system, but weren’t people saying the same thing about Cousins when he took over for Griffin?
 

DeMarco Murray Dance School
As usual, too much attention is being paid to the quarterbacks. Washington has a much more serious problem on defense, where LB Brian Orakpo has been lost for the season to a torn pectoral muscle. Orakpo was the best player on a defense that ranked No. 17 in efficiency (No. 25 pass, No. 7 rush) through six weeks. Second-round draft pick Trent Murphy out of Stanford will take Orakpo’s spot in the starting lineup.

This is about the last thing Washington needed with the Cowboys next on the schedule. Dallas had the league’s No. 8-ranked offense (No. 11 pass, No. 3 rush) before beating the New York Giants 31-21 last week as a 4.5-point home chalk. The Cowboys put up 423 yards of offense against the No. 12-ranked Giants defense; Tony Romo (104.7 passer rating) threw three TD passes with just one pick, and DeMarco Murray (4.9 yards per carry) had his seventh straight 100-yard game, an NFL record.

We were on the Giants last week because they had a ton of betting angles in their favor, but that didn’t mean we were permanently jumping off the Cowboys bandwagon. They’re doing a lot of great things this year. Football Outsiders had them ranked No. 10 overall going into Week 7, and after their win over Big Blue, Pro Football Reference has the ‘Boys at plus-5.6 SRS, also No. 10 overall. Let’s see how the quarterback situation evolves in Washington before we make our NFL picks, though.

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