Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys NFL First Touchdown: Expert Picks & Predictions (12/30/23)

 

Get Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys First Touchdown picks & odds for the (12/30/23) matchup as well as a player prop search tool to optimize odds shopping for Saturday’s game.

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Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys First Touchdown Picks

The goal of the First Touchdown prop is to identify which player will score the first touchdown of the game. Who will score the first touchdown in the Lions vs. Cowboys matchup?

Jake Ferguson First Touchdown (+1200 MGM)

The Dallas Cowboys come into this contest with a massive advantage when on offense, getting the opportunity to shred a weak Lions secondary. That puts value toward the Cowboys pass catchers, being the direct recipient with their efforts of exploiting the weak coverage.

One pass catcher who is priced a little too low is Cowboys tight end Jake Ferguson, a red-zone target monster who can jump over the top of a small defender and bulldoze his way into the end zone. He has consistently found himself as one of the leaders in red-zone targets, now getting the chance to anchor the middle against a wide open gap in Lions coverage.

The Lions coverage has been an issue all season long, ranking 16th in Def Pass DVOA, 24th in Def Pass EPA, and 25th in Def Pass Success Rate. Those metrics turn even worse when eliminating their hot start to the season and using their bye week as the first point of data, ranking dead last in Def Pass EPA.

As for the Cowboys, their pass attack has been efficient all season long as Dak Prescott has graded out as a top-3 quarterback per PPF Grade. He’s maintained above average marks in the Cowboys pass attack, ranking 10th in Pass DVOA, second in Pass EPA, and third in Pass Success Rate.

Better yet in favor of the pass attack, rush production may be tough to come by as the Lions front seven still does a good job at limiting opposing rush success. The Lions rank fourth in Def Pass DVOA, fifth in Def Rush EPA, 11th in Def Rush Success Rate and ninth in Def Adjusted Line Yards. That means Tony Pollard may be contained in the trenches, forcing the Cowboys to revert to a heavier dose of the pass which increases the chances of Ferguson cashing this prop.

Brandin Cooks First Touchdown (+1200 MGM)

After a relatively slow start to the season, Brandin Cooks has started to play a bigger role in the pass attack as of late. He is the perfect complement to CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, playing as the speedy pass catcher who exploits the gaps created by Lamb and Gallup stretching the field.


Not only has he found success in the mid field, but he is also getting the benefit of singular coverage in the red zone. Defenses have him as a low priority with Lamb transitioning into a super star receiver, as well as having to anchor the linebackers with Tony Pollard serving as a threat in the backfield.

When it comes to making a profit in this market, capitalizing on the highest chances of scoring opportunities is the way to go about it. That puts the spotlight on the Cowboys pass catchers as their offense should be the most consistent factor of success against a horrific Lions secondary. Especially with the Lions front seven being able to contain Pollard, forcing them to throw at a heavier rate.

Jahmyr Gibbs First Touchdown (+1000 DK)

Like the advantage with the Cowboys pass attack being in a position to shred the Lions secondary, the Lions also have a big advantage in their own right with their ability to abuse the run. The Cowboys front seven has struggled to contain rushing production at the trenches, ranking dead last in Def Rush Success Rate.

That means opposing running backs are having no issue with cutting the distance to gain in half on early downs, as well as converting on later downs. The Cowboys Def Rush EPA metric has also been steadily dropping, now currently ranking 14th in that department.

That plays right into Jahmyr Gibbs hands, the Lions dual threat speed type back who has seen his role steadily increase throughout the season. He’s also the better option of the two backs as David Montgomery may find it tough to find rush success up the middle against a stout Cowboys interior defense. Expect the Lions to utilize Gibbs at a heavy rate, avoiding the Cowboys elite pass coverage marks and exploit their weakness in stopping the run.

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Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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