Philadelphia Eagles (11-5, 9-7 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (11-5, 9-7 ATS), NFC Wildcard Game, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Saturday, Jan. 9th, 8 PM Eastern, NBC
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Cowboys -4/Eagles +4
Last week's regular-season finale between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, with so much at stake, turned out to be a disappointing dud, as Dallas won with relative ease. So let's hope this Saturday's rematch between these two teams, this time in an NFC Wild Card-round game, is a little more competitive, at least for our viewing pleasure.
Most online sportsbooks opened this Saturday's game with Dallas favored by 3 ½ or four points, but as of Wednesday afternoon the Pokes were listed at -4 almost everywhere. The total opened at 45, and has held steady in early betting action.
The Cowboys are also being listed at around -200 on most NFL betting moneylines, with the Eagles getting about +175 as the underdogs.
Dallas enters the playoffs as the three seed in the NFC, and would play at Minnesota next week if they win Saturday. Philadelphia enters as the six seed, and would play at New Orleans next week if they win Saturday.
The Eagles struggled to a 5-4 start this season, highlighted by a 40-17 romp over the New York Giants but lowlighted by a bad loss to New Orleans, a puzzling defeat at Oakland and consecutive dropped games to Dallas and San Diego. Philly then reeled off six straight wins, which brought them to 11-4.
The Cowboys started 2-2 this season, then won four straight, starting with that crucial overtime win at Kansas City and bookended by the 20-16 win over the Eagles at The Linc. Dallas then stumbled at Green Bay, a loss that doesn't look that bad now, after the Packers' solid finish. A win in a bad performance over the Redskins followed, as did a Thanksgiving victory over Oakland. But the Pokes then lost two straight games, at the Giants and vs. San Diego, which created doubt about their playoff chances. The Dallas defense, however, made a statement in a 24-17 win over the previously undefeated Saints, and the Cowboys followed that up with a 17-0 blanking of Washington to get to 10-5.
So it came down to these two teams last week in Arlington for the NFC East title, and at least the luxury of playing at home on Wild Card weekend. And in a fairly shocking outcome, Dallas dominated Philly, winning 24-0. The Pokes outgained the Eagles 474-228, outrushed Philadelphia 179-37 and held the ball for 40 minutes.
The Cowboys went off last Sunday as three-point favorites over Philly, with a total of 47 ½.
It was the first time in 70 regular-season games the Eagles had been shut out.
As mentioned above, Dallas defeated Philly back in week nine 20-16, outgaining the Eagles 358-297 and holding the ball for almost 32 minutes.
Both games these teams played this season stayed UNDER the totals on the betting lines.
On the season Philadelphia ranked 11th in the league in total offense at 358 YPG, but just 22nd in rushing at 103 YPG. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles ranked 12th in total defense at 321 YPG and ninth vs. the run at 105 YPG.
The Cowboys this season ranked second in total offense at 399 YPG, seventh in rushing at 131 YPG, ninth in total defense at 317 YPG and fourth vs. the run at 91 YPG.
Dallas also ranked fifth in the league in average time-of-possession at 32:04, while Philly ranked 28th at 28:15.
In the two games these teams played this season, Pokes QB Tony Romo completed 45 of 68 pass attempts for 618 yards, with three TDs and two interceptions. Meanwhile, Eagles QB Donovan McNabb went 36-66 passing for 450 yards, with one touchdown pass and two INTs.
The totals are 6-10 in Cowboys games this season, and 1-8 in their last nine games. On the season Dallas games averaged 38 total points.
Philly went 10-6 on the totals this season, but only 6-6 over its last 12 games. For the season Eagles games averaged 48 points.
The underdog is 8-3 against the pointspreads over the last 11 games in the series between these two teams.
Pokes coach Wade Phillips is 0-4 all-time as a head man in playoff games. On the other sidelines, Philly head coach Andy Reid is 10-7 in the playoffs, with one conference title.
Philadelphia began the season as about a 5/1 choice to win the NFC championship, and 10/1 to win the Super Bowl. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Eagles were getting upwards of 10/1 to win the conference title at various online sportsbooks and 15/1 to win the Superbowl.
And with 11 victories Philly went OVER its regular-season wins over/under of 9 ½.
Dallas started this season getting from 7/1 to 10/1 to win the NFC and from 15/1 to 20/1 to win the Super Bowl. As of Wednesday the Cowboys are getting about 5/1 to win the conference and 9/1 to win the Super Bowl.
And Dallas also went OVER its wins total, which was nine.
The Sagarin PURE POINTS ratings at USAToday.com rates Dallas at 27.3, Philly at 24.9. Toss in Sagarin's updated NFL home-field advantage figure of 2.6, and the Cowboys are favored by five points over the Eagles on the Sagarin line.
Z-Man's Pick: "Son of Bum" get his first playoff win, Tony Romo proves that he's not a choker as the Cowboys roll the eagles in a low scoring, hard fought game. Take the Cowboys to cover the spread.
Preseason Picks - Many don't realize that there's good value in NFL preseason picks! They claim "how can you bet on a game when you don't know who is going to play?" Truth be told, many head coaches tell you how much playing time key players will receive prior to the game!
Editor's Picks - Each week our in house pro's tackle the week's card and make predictions on the week's games ATS! Best bets, top plays, premium selections, etc. FREE!
Expert NFL Picks - Free premium plays from the "real" expert football handicappers from around the web. Don't fall for second rate picks from ESPN, the NFL Network, Hank Goldberg or the screaming touts on TV.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We forecast the loudest barking dog of the week. Expect a 60% winning percentage with these plays.
Favorite of the Week Play - We examine "the chalk" and determine the safest bet in which who you should lay the points with. Forecasting winning favorites long term isn't easy, but we've had some pretty good luck with it over the years.
Line Movement Plays - We report all the major line moves from the gridiron and forecast whether it's public money or sharp action causing the move. Who will cover the spread this week? Our line move plays!
NFL Consensus Picks - See what the general public is betting on. We use this info to fade the public to the tune of big profits over the course of the season.
Bookies Picks - Each week, we'll post which side the bookies are on. Please note: These are not OUR picks. We're simply reporting the teams the bookies need to cover the spread in order for them to win. Games receiving equal action on both sides will not be factored into these records.
Office Pool Picks - You asked for it and you got it! Each week, we'll post our predictions to win each game straight up so that you can RULE your pick'em league!
NFL Trends - Don't ever let anybody tell you that the trend is your friend. These picks make great fades which is exactly what we do with them.
NFL Computer Picks - We enter the statistics into the database and the computer crunches the numbers and gives final score predictions. These should be used for entertainment only!
Monday Night Football Picks - The ultimate bailout play. Our MNF picks are golden and have hit 62% or better 3 out of the past 4 years. (Last season was a disaster!) Did we mention that their FREE?
2016 NFL Predictions - Badger breaks down each division and gives his picks on which teams he thinks will win the AFC and NFC Conferneces (plus Super Bowl winner prediction).
Super Bowl Picks - Everybody here in the Predictem office takes their best preseason shot at predicting the winner Superbowl 50. Pride is on the line here! Oh, and LOOT too!
5Dimes - Bet your NFL football picks at -105 odds every day of the week! 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Pleasers and huge point buying opportunities as well!
Bovada - Tired of deposit hassles? Bet on football using your credit card at a sportsbook where your Visa CAN and WILL work for deposits! Offers a 50% sign-up bonus up to $250 FREE!
MyBookie - Credit cards work GREAT here! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $1000 in free cash!
Bookmaker - Watch the game for a bit THEN make a wager! Yes! You can jump in after the action has started using their awesome live betting feature! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $300 in FREE bonus cash OR take advantage of their enormous 15% bonus up to $2500 in free cash! The best sportsbook for highrollers!
Super Bowl Betting - We explain all the different types of wagers you can making including point spread bets, totals, moneylines and prop bets. No need to go to Vegas! You can bet the big game online!
Weekly Fantasy Football - If you drafted a crappy team or the injury bug has bit you and wrecked your season, we've got something really cool to turn you on to that will change the way you play fantasy sports forever!
Famous Football Quotes - From the inspirational to the greatest touchdown calls of all time. We've got them!
Pro Football Hall of Fame - A full list of NFL players who have been inducted into the NFL HOF.
The Spread - Offers free NFL football predictions, matchups, stats including both offensive and defensive and more!
Fantasy Football Sites - Get recommendations on where to find weekly updated player news, depth charts and legit websites that offer the best stat and record tracking for your fantasy football league.