Dallas Cowboys (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. New York Giants (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Wednesday September 5th, 8:30 p.m. EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Dal +4/NY -4
Over/Under Total: 47
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The defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants earned the honor to host the NFLs special season kickoff game, but this year the game will have added drama because the Giants host the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys in a Wednesday Night opener on NBC.
The last time the Giants hosted the Cowboys on the MetLife turf back on New Years Day 2012, both teams were fighting for an NFC playoff spot. The Giants eliminated any doubt with a 31-14 drubbing of the Cowboys that day, earning the playoff spot and win No. 2 of what turned into a season-ending six-game win streak that culminated with another Super Bowl title.
This year round one of the Cowboys-Giants series is right away on opening night, giving the game extra eyeballs with the national audience as well as early divisional tiebreaker points to the victor.
Back in late summer when a few of the big offshore sportsbooks initially released the point spreads for the opening week of the NFL, the New York Giants opened as the standard 3-point favorite at home in MetLife Stadium. Now with a week till kickoff the Giants are listed as 4-point favorites at most sportsbooks. The over/under total opened at 47 and has held firm since its release.
The G-men have looked good during the preseason, although rarely exposing much of the first team prior to the third preseason game. But even in preseason games, quarterback Eli Manning is playing like he has nothing to prove anymore and the Giants offense as a whole should be a strong unit overall. Defensively they still have a very fearsome and formidable front seven, but early injuries to defensive backs Terrell Thomas (torn ACL) and Prince Amukamara (high-ankle sprain) has the Giants dangerously thin in the secondary.
Dallas has also played well in the preseason, especially the offense under QB Tony Romo in their third preseason game tune-up over St. Louis (17 points in 1st quarter, Romo 9-of-13 for 198 yards and 2 TD). But for the Cowboys its never been about talent, which they have plenty of on both sides of the ball, its always been about them not playing up to their potential. Wednesday night in primetime well see if 2012 will be more of the same, or if the Cowboys are for the next step.
If youre a little leery about betting on this game based on a few snaps in preseason action, then there are a few betting trends on this game worth noting.
The last three years the Cowboys have played great (for bettors) in the underdog role, going 5-1 ATS in the games when they closed as big dogs (+3.5 to 9.5 points). Likewise, the last three years the Giants have always seemed to find a way to win (10-3 SU), but they rarely covered the number as big favorites (6-7 ATS at -3.5 to -9.5 points).
But before you run to Dallas at the window, you need to know that they have been downright terrible against the NFC East, going 2-10 ATS in the division the last three seasons.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: With a full arsenal of weapons (WR Miles Austin is probable, TE Jason Witten is questionable) at his disposal, I really like Romo and the Cowboys offense to score some points against the Giants dinged-up secondary. But its only a lean toward the Cowboys because honestly, Im a little gun shy on Dallas having been on them for most of those 2-10 ATS vs. NFC East loses. I will be playing the over of 47, because Im looking at a 27-24 or 28-24 type of game in the opener.
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