Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys Preview and Pick – Monday Night Football Point Spread

Carolina Panthers (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (1-1 SU, 1-1
ATS), 8:30 p.m. EST, Monday, September 28, 2009, Cowboys Stadium,
Arlington, Texas TV: ESPN

by Badger of

Point Spread: Panthers +9/Cowboys -9
Over/Under: 46

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The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones were handed a bitter loss in
the debut of their new Cowboys Stadium last Sunday night in primetime
on NBC, but they get a second chance right away for redemption in
primetime this week when they host the winless Carolina Panthers on
ESPNs Monday Night Football.

The Cowboys evil NFC East rival, the New York Giants, spoiled the
Boys inaugural game at their new digs, kicking a late field goal to
steal a 33-31 victory on the road. But truth be told, both
quarterback Tony Romo (three bad interceptions) and the once-
formidable Dallas defense (427 yards allowed, no turnovers, no sacks)
played so lousy against the G-Men that theyve got to be happy to be
getting another chance to save face so quickly.

The Panthers havent had too much to be happy about either so far
this season. The good news is the Panthers did play much better in
their week two loss at Atlanta, 28-20, than they did in their week
one debacle at home against Philly, 38-10. The bad news is they are
still winless, and they still have major issues on defense, which
could be exposed for the whole world to see with a game on Monday
Night Football

Oddsmaker opened the game with the Cowboys as early 9.5-point favorites at home, and the number has held there or dropped the half-
point down to 9-point favorites at most of the offshore sportsbooks
on the Web.

The over/under total has also shown a little of line movement early
in the week, starting off at 45 before it moved up to 46 or even 46.5
due to the early steam at the window.

With the way these two teams have played defense the first two weeks, this game could turn into a track meet on Monday.

Romo threw some game-changing interceptions Sunday and the Cowboys passing game as a whole was terrible, but the running game racked up
251 yards on just 29 carries (8.6 ave.) as Marion Barber ran for over
100 yards (124) and Felix Jones nearly hit the century mark on just
seven carries (96).

Plus, the Panthers defense lost another defensive tackle last week when Louis Leonard broke his leg in the Atlanta game, so even my 3-
year-old is smart enough to call a steady diet of Barber and Jones
inside runs against the questionable Carolina defensive front seven.

Panthers QB Jake Delhomme rebounded from a disastrous opening game
versus Philly with a 300-yard, 1-touchdown, 1-interception passing
game against the Falcons last week, but thats still not the way the
Panthers want to play offense anyway. The Panthers dynamic duo of
DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have been held in check
through the first two games, as they average just 115 yards per game
so far which is only 15th in the NFL at this point.

The Panthers offense has a good shot at getting things clicking this
week against the Cowboys defense, the once-proud unit that is a shell
of its former self. The Cowboys are 30th in the 32-team league so far
by giving up 438.5 yards per game, including a whopping 303 yards
through the air (30th). The unit has yet to record a sack, or force a
turnover this season too.

The last four games these two teams have played versus each other have all come in Charlotte, with Dallas winning three of the four and
three in a row including a 20-13 victory in December of 2007. The
Cowboys actually own an 8-2 SU record versus Carolina, as well as a
slight 5-4-1 ATS record in the last 10 games in the head-to-head series.

But it should be noted that in those same 10 games, the underdog is a
strong 7-2-1 ATS in the head-to-head series. The point spread the dog
has had to chase has only reached double digits once though.
Ironically, that happened last season when the Panthers covered as
10.5-point dogs at home.

If youre a fan of betting trends, than youll probably like the over in this game. The over is 9-1 in the Panthers last 10 games versus
the NFC, 5-0 in their last five games as the underdog and 4-0 as a
road dog to boot. The over is also 6-0 the last time the Cowboys were
favored in the 3.5-to-10 point range, and a stellar 7-2-1 the last 10
times the Cowboys have played on Monday Night Football.

Badgers Pick: Its hard to not like the over in this game because
the Panthers defense is battered-n-bruised and the Cowboys dont seem
to want to play it anymore. Both teams will have success running it,
but the running clock will still make the over a nail-biter for
bettors. The Panthers should cover the big number though, so Im
taking Carolina plus the 9 points.