Free Pick: Cowboys at Redskins
The Cowboys erased a huge deficit to take New Orleans into overtime this past Sunday, but they could not seal the deal in a 34-31 loss as one-point home favorites. At 8-7 straight up they can still win the NFC East with a win, but they are now just 3-6 against the spread in their last nine games and 6-9 ATS for the year. The total has gone “over” in four of their last five games.
Washington dodged a bullet against Philadelphia in Week 16 with a 27-20 victory as a 4.5-point road favorite. It was its sixth straight win both SU and ATS. The Redskins are now 9-6 SU and a profitable 10-5 ATS. They are 4-3 at home this season SU and ATS and the total has gone over in four of their last five games overall.
The loss to the Saints snapped a three-game winning streak, but Dallas has a knack for keeping games painfully close not matter which team it is playing. Its inability to put teams away or avoid falling way behind like it did against New Orleans makes the Cowboys a crapshoot to wager on week in and week out. The one constant has been that the spread in their last six games, win or lose, has averaged 3.67 points, with seven points being the widest gap. Therefore, you have to believe that this game will remain close no matter which team wins.
Tony Romo has held up to the pressure down the stretch, as he has been playing at a high level for much of the second half of the season. He threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns this past Sunday to raise his season total to 4,685 yards and 26 scoring strikes. The Cowboys are ranked third in the NFL in passing and sixth in overall yards. The inconsistencies on defense remain their biggest problem, which could get even worse if all-pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware is unable to go after injuring his shoulder against the Saints.
Behind Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Robert Griffin III, Washington finds itself just one win away from its first NFC East Division title since 1999. At 9-6, they also have a shot at doubling their SU win total from 2011. Another huge factor for this resurgent offense has been the play of rookie running back Alfred Morris, who along with RG III have the Redskins ranked first in the NFL in rushing yards per game. This has also translated to points on the board, with the fourth highest average (27.2 points) in the league.
Much like Dallas, the Redskins troubles this season have been primarily with a defense that is giving up an average of 24.7 points a game, which is ranked 21st in the NFL. Sunday night’s matchup should come down to which team’s defense is able to step up its game to limit the amount of big plays by the other team’s offense.
Odds and Trends by 5Dimes
Washington has been opened by 5Dimes as 3.5-point home favorites with the “over/under” line set at 50.
The Cowboys are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games against the NFC East but 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road games against a team with a winning record at home. The total has stayed under in eight of their last 10 road games.
The Redskins are 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in their last five division games and 6-0 ATS in their last six games following a SU win. The total has stayed under in five of their last seven games against a team with a winning record on the road.
Head-to-head, the underdog is 23-6 ATS in the last 29 meetings, and the road team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine. The total has stayed under in four of the last six games played in Washington.
The current half point on this spread is huge, as this is a three-point game either way. Do not be surprised if this contest actually goes into overtime between two very closely matched rivals. I see the Redskins getting the SU win and division title, but stick with the Cowboys to cover with 3.5 points.
Take #315 Dallas (+3.5) over Washington (Sunday, Dec.30, 8:30 p.m. NBC)
- Notre Dame
- Power Sports
- November 28, 2015 - 7:30 PM
- Offered at:
- carbonsports @ 4 -110 Notre Dame
1* Notre Dame (7:30 ET): I realize that this is a revenge game for the favored Cardinal, at home, but the underdog Fighting Irish are likely to be the more motivated side as they were just dropped in the most recent CFP rankings. A win here could very well get them back in the coveted top four, so the points look like a premium in an even matchup.
Yes, I went against Notre Dame last week in what appeared to be a "lethargic" effort, a 16-13 win over Boston College. But delving further inside the box score reveals that the game was a little more one-sided than the final score shows. The Irish actually owned a 447-302 edge in total yards, but were hampered by five turnovers. Four of those turnovers occurred when ND was inside the BC 35-yd line, three inside the 10! So it was a bit of a "lucky" cover for my backers and I. Meanwhile, Stanford was actually severely outgained in its win over rival Cal last week, 495-356.
The Cardinal have a game scheduled for next week, that being the Pac 12 Championship Game, so their collective focus may not entirely be on the Irish. It would take nothing short of a miracle for Stanford to somehow find itself in a position where they can make the top four in the CFP rankings. For Notre Dame, this is the regular season finale and they should leave it all on the field. Remember that their ONLY loss this year came at unbeaten Clemson, by just two points, and they had a chance to tie the game w/ a 2-pt conversion that ultimately failed. 1* Notre Dame
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