Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings (11/10/2019): NFL Betting Picks, Lines

Last Week: 10-3
All-Time Results: 64-55-1, +10.31 Units

Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings 1st Quarter Under 8.5 -110 – .25 Units

The total for this game is 48.  Traditionally, a game with a total of 48 would have a 1st Quater Total of 10.  Bettors have bet this 1st Quarter Total down heavy. I think rightfully so.  Since 1st Quarters Totals are very unlikely to land on 8 or 9, I don’t mind the 1.5 line movement as much.  Most likely, it will land on 7 or less or go to 10 or more.

Why are folks betting so heavily in this particular 1st quarter to be low scoring, and why do I agree?  One reason: The Death of the NFL Running Back Has Been Greatly Exaggerated.

Both of these franchises pride themselves on establishing their star RBs early.  Moreover, both the Vikings & Cowboys have injury question marks at key wide receiver positions.  Adam Thielen is likely out.  Amari Cooper is likely less than 100%.

Under the bright lights of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, I expect these teams to attempt to impose their Plan A to begin the game.  I don’t think either will mind punting early.  Whichever team establishes their will at the line of scrimmage in the running game a will have major edge down the stretch as the opposing defense begins to wear down.

Particularly in the Vikings case, with Kirk Cousins’ poor history in Prime Time games, I very much expect them to ease him into the game by establishing Dalvin Cook.

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Dallas Cowboys -3 vs. Minnesota Vikings – .25 Units

Pregame.com Founder, RJ Bell had this Trend of the Week: Mike Zimmer is 74% ATS when coming off a loss.  I guess Chris Berman ought to have said “Nobody circles the wagon like Mike Zimmer’s Minnesota Vikings”.

That said, I am bucking this trend on this bet.  Why?

A.) Dak Prescott is better than Kirk Cousins.  I have been one the most ardent defender of Cousins that I know.  For a long time, I may have been the only Kirk Cousins defender that I knew.  Each step of his journey people thought he was one step below where he actually was.

dallas cowboysFirst, when he was drafted in the 4th round, everybody said that Washington reached badly.  Next, after he played well off the bench in his first season people said it was too expensive for other teams to trade a 1st round pick for him.  When he became a starter and led Washington back to the playoffs, everybody thought they should trade him and just start Colt McCoy.  In the 2017 offseason, when he signed a big contract – absolutely everybody – until about a week and a half ago – said it was the worst contract in football and only served to guarantee that this talented roster would never sniff a Super Bowl.

Finally, I think people have come around to what I’ve been saying for 8 years.  Cousins is an above-average NFL QBR.  He is a smart player, a fearless player, and a limited player.  Much like Phillip Rivers, Cousins can give you 15 years of B to B+ football.

Dak Prescott, mostly because of his mobility, I think is just a half level above Cousins.  Given I think these rosters are about equal – both B+’s on each side of the ball – for a big-time game like this, I’ll take the slightly better quarterback unless I have a good reason not to.  While Zimmer’s amazing ability to rally his troops was a consideration, I don’t think The Clapper (Jason Garrett) is quite as bad as everybody else does.  I think the value here is on the Home Favorite.

B.) Secondly, Ezekiel Elliot > Dalvin Cook.  Cook has been nice this year – #1 in rushing yards.  Elliot has been a sensation for almost half a decade now.  I still think he’s underrated.  From his rookie year on, I see Elliot as a player that can challenge for the title of Greatest Ever at his position.

4-Team, 8-Point Teaser (+168): Minnesota Vikings +11 @ Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions +10.5 @ Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens -2.5 @ Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers + 13.5 @ Green Bay – .5 Units

Vikings +11:  While I have Cowboys winning the game, I think Zimmer will have his team ready for a dog fight.  Don’t expect either squad to run away with this one.

Lions +10.5: If the Bears beat a team by more than 10 it would have to be by the Final Score: 11-0.  I have high confidence in the Lions’ ability to keep the Bears pitiful offense under 17, and I think Matt Stafford could get at least one touchdown in 60 minutes against almost any defense in history.

Ravens -2.5: I don’t expect a big let down here.  The vibe in Baltimore is too cool right now.  The Bengals have shown n0 ability to contain the rush and I can’t see Harbaugh let the tandem of Zac Taylor and Ryan Finely knock this team off course.

Panthers +13.5: The Packers are 32nd in the league in Football Outsider’s “Adjusted Line Yards”.  That pretty much means they have the worst rush defense in the league.  With CMC coming to town, I think the Panthers run all day on the Pack.  Carolina at a minimum keeps it close.

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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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