Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys
Monday, October 19th 2020 – 08:15 PM ET at AT&T Stadium
What to Expect
For Monday night’s matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys, I disagree with the NFL odds that have been set. The Arizona Cardinals have been set as only one-point favorites against the Dallas Cowboys. Additionally, the point total has been set at 54.5 points. I disagree with both the spread and point total as I think the Cardinals will easily win a low scoring game.
The Cowboys are without Dak Prescott for the rest of the season due to a gruesome injury from last week’s game against the Giants. Starting in his place is veteran Andy Dalton. Dalton previously served as the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals where he made three Pro Bowls. However last season the Bengals finished with a 2-14 record the worst in the NFL and they drafted Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow.
Typically, teams will groom a rookie quarterback under a veteran, but the Bengals decided that they would be better off releasing Dalton. While Dalton was once a great quarterback, there is a reason why he started the season as a backup. That is why I am betting on Dalton having under 290.5 passing yards and fewer passing yards than Kyler Murray of the Cardinals.
Based on my theory that Andy Dalton is past his prime, there are many great NFL picks to choose among. My favorite player prop for Monday night’s game is for Andy Dalton to have under 290.5 passing yards. The reason why the passing yards total has been set too high is that when Dalton filled in for Dak Prescott last week, Dalton went 9 for 11 in pass attempts for 111 yards. I think Dalton’s performance had more to do with a tired Giants defense than his actual talents. Additionally, I think Dalton benefitted from an element of surprise, as the Giants were unprepared for a quarterback other than Dak Prescott.
There are many reasons why Dalton will throw for fewer than 290.5 passing yards, the most important of which is the Arizona passing defense. Among all 32 NFL teams, Arizona allows the fourth fewest passing yards per game as they give up an average of only 222.4 passing yards per game.
Last week Arizona limited Jets quarterback Joe Flacco to only 195 passing yards, the week before they limited Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to only 276 passing yards. Most impressively, the Arizona defense limited Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to only 270 passing yards. I think that Dalton will have an awfully hard time against the Arizona passing defense.
The other reason why I think Dalton throws for fewer than 290.5 passing yards is because of Ezekiel Elliot. While Elliot has had a down year, I think he is going to much more of the workload with Dak Prescott being out. In his last game against the Giants, he had 19 carries for 91 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
I think Elliot will have around 25 carries in Monday night’s game, and that will only take away passing opportunities from Dalton. Based on the Cardinals defense and the strength of Ezekiel Elliot, I am betting that Andy Dalton has under 290.5 passing yards.
NFL Pick: Andy Dalton Under 290.5 Passing Yards at -114 with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)
My other favorite NFL free pick for the Monday Night Football game is for Kyler Murray of the Cardinals to have more passing yards than Andy Dalton. There is a sharp contrast between Dalton and Murray where both quarterbacks are at different points in their careers. Dalton is a backup quarterback toward the end of his career, while Murray is a 23-year old starting quarterback for the Cardinals.
Murray was the number one overall draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and was the 2018 Heisman Trophy award winner. The passing yards total for Murray is set at only one passing yard lower than Dalton at 289.5 passing yards. While Murray's total is accurately set, Dalton’s is too high and that is why I am betting that in the head to head matchup Murray has more passing yards.
Besides Murray being a better quarterback than Dalton, the other reason to bet on him having more passing yards is because of the defensive matchup. While Arizona has a great passing defense, Dallas does not. The Dallas passing defense is ranked 20th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game with an average of 248.6 passing yards allowed per game. I think that Murray takes advantage of this passing defense and that is one of the reasons why I am betting on Murray against Dalton.
Head-to-Head NFL Pick: Kyler Murray (ARI) more passing yards than Andy Dalton (DAL) at -118 with Bovada