Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys kicks off Saturday (12/30/23) at 8:15 p.m. EST in Dallas as a home game for the Cowboys. Get Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys predictions and best bets below. Our best bet is on the Cowboys -6 as the perfect buy low spot for them to cover the spread.
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys Prediction & Best Bet
For the first time in 30 years, the Detroit Lions can call themselves division champions. It’s been so long since their last title in 1993 that the NFC North was called the NFC Central and featured the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They secured the title with a win over a Nick Mullens-led Vikings squad. Now they have to come off a high point to face the Dallas Cowboys on the road, a team who might be better in nearly every facet on both sides of the ball.
The most obvious advantage for the Cowboys will be on offense. When Nick Mullens was not throwing picks, the third-string quarterback was still able to move the ball down the field against the lowly Lions secondary. Since their bye week, the Lions secondary ranks dead last in Def Pass EPA and Success Rate and now have to face Dak Prescott, who has been a top-3 quarterback per PFF Grade for a majority of the season. He leads the Cowboys pass attack to top-3 ranks in Pass EPA and Pass Success Rate.
With the Cowboys offense poised to find themselves in scoring position on nearly every drive, it will be up to their defense to help get them to the cover. They are capable of doing just that, using Micah Parsons’ elite talent on the edge as a disrupter who commands opposing offensive line attention. Being able to break up the Lions elite offensive line and generating pressure is the key to slowing down their high-powered offense, allowing the rest of the Cowboys to get singular coverage and create quarterback pressures.
Jared Goff has struggled against pressure, panic throwing into coverage and generating a plethora of turnover-worthy plays. Not only does he have to deal with Micah Parsons and their fearsome defensive line, but the Cowboys as a whole blitz at the eighth-highest rate as well. That means more bodies crashing down across the middle, as well as the pocket collapsing on the outside from Parsons. That may lead to stalled drives, giving the Cowboys extra offensive possessions to help pull away.
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys Prediction & Best Bet: Cowboys -6
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys Betting Odds
Even at the Lions highest point of their franchise, as well as the Cowboys on a two-game losing skid, oddsmakers still have Dallas as a comfortable -6 favorite. That is a sharp increase from the lookahead line, originally opening the Cowboys at -3.5. Bettors believe -6 is still too low, backing the spread up to -6.5 in some shops.
As for the total, oddsmakers believed points would be scored at a very quick rate as they opened the number at 50.5. Bettors believe points will come at an even faster rate, backing the over up to 53.5 as of writing. The steam makes sense as the Cowboys should put up points on nearly every possession while the Lions offense should still find production at various points.
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys Key Injuries
Both teams come into this one healthy with only left tackles Tyron Smith and Taylor Decker being listed as questionable as notable names on the injury report.
Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys Key Matchups
Can the Cowboys front seven bounce back and bottle up the Lions ground game?
Detroit Lions Rushing Duo vs. Dallas Cowboys Front Seven
The Cowboys don’t have too many weaknesses in their metrics, but one glaring issue for them has been their inability to limit mid-field rush success. The Cowboys front seven currently ranks dead last in Def Rush Success Rate and now need to try and contain Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery.
Jahmyr Gibbs is special man pic.twitter.com/cpBkLd0y9Q
— The 33rd Team (@The33rdTeamFB) December 27, 2023
Luckily for the Cowboys, their high use of the blitz may play toward their favor as they contain their rushing ability with extra bodies in the trenches. Especially against David Montgomery, the Lions bull back who bruises up the middle. Gibbs getting to the outside is a worrisome thought, yet the Cowboys defensive front four’s ability to crash the pocket may allow their linebackers to sit back and crash the outside and bottle up Gibbs when he tries to bounce past the tackles.