New England Patriots (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: October 11th, 4:25 PM ET
TV: Direct TV
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: NE -8.5/ DALL +8.5
Over/Under Total: 49.5
The injury riddled Dallas Cowboys will look to get back on track against a team that looks unbeatable. There is always one team every year that gets decimated with injuries and the Cowboys are by far that team. Talented play-maker Lance Dunbar is out of the season with an ACL injury. He played a big role in the passing game, especially with Tony Romo out with his collarbone injury. Dez Bryant is expected back sometime after their BYE in Week six, but that won’t help in this game. Last Sunday night, the Cowboys were defeated by the Saints 26-20 as 3.5-point road dogs. New Orleans outgained Dallas 438-335, with Drew Brees throwing for 359 yards and two touchdowns. New England crushed Jacksonville before their BYE, easily covering the 14.5-point spread at home. The Patriots have won the stats in two of their first three tilts and look pissed off in the process. You know, the whole the Deflate Gate thing!
New England has two weeks to prepare for this contest and we all know how good Bill Belichick is with extra time to prepare. He does a fantastic job of taking away the opponent’s best option. I would expect Jason Witten to have his worst performance of the season. Brandon Weeden has a quarterback rating of 108.8 this season. I was surprised to see how high it was because the eye test shows me he has major limitations. Lets just say he’s no Tony Romo in the pocket. Weeden is awful at avoiding even the slightest of pressure. I would look for the Patriots to blitz a lot on obvious passing downs.
When I bet underdogs in the NFL I need to know they have a reasonable chance to win the game. Brandon Weeden is 5-20 straight-up in his career. That includes 0-2 this season. With two weeks to prepare, the Patriots should be firing on all cylinders in this game. All-pro linebacker Sean Lee is listed as questionable, but is expected to play. The return of Sean Lee will help Dallas only slightly. Rob Gronkowski will line up all over the field. You can be sure Belichick will get the matchup (against a safety) he wants. I would grab Gronkowski in Daily fantasy this week. He should go off against a team that has trouble with physical receivers. Julio Jones is a perfect example. He shredded the Cowboys’ secondary two weeks ago. I see Brady and company doing the same. The Cowboys do get stud pass rusher Greg Hardy back, who is done serving his four-game suspension to start the season. Tom Brady does a great job of throwing quick passes to avoid the rush, so the Cowboys defense should be in for a long day. Rolando McClain returns for Dallas, but he’s much better in stuffing the run than rushing the passer. I think the Patriots will look to throw more often than not as Dallas has been solid against the run, allowing 91 yards per game.
The Patriots are ranked first in points per game, first in yards per game, first in pass yards per game, while the host Cowboys are ranked 15th in points, 11th in yards, and 8th in pass yards. The Cowboys are allowing 21 fewer yards than New England, but the Patriots are allowing two fewer points on the scoreboard. Home team underdogs with the better defense are normally “wise guy” plays, but we don’t trust Brandon Weeden at quarterback. The public and “sharps” will be on the same side in this late afternoon affair. Look for this line to close near 10 by game time. The Patriots are not a “Lock” by any stretch of the imagination. New England could be up big in the first three quarters, than start to play conservative and have Dallas score a touchdown for the back door cover. I have seen it too many times in my 35 years of watching football.
NFL Road favorites after a BYE perform very well. When you have a strong team and give them an extra week to get healthy and get prepared, that team is going to be dangerous. This is backed up that NFL road favorites coming off its BYE are cashing 59% since 2005. If the team is favored by less than 5 points that number increases to 63% ATS winners. The Patriots are 5-1 ATS as road favorites when playing with a week of rest. Keep in mind, this will be one of the larger lines the Patriots will have to cover after their BYE week in recent memory. The line is heading up!
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:New England -8.5
I am not a fan of laying this many points in the NFL on the road. The home team is 38-8 ATS in Patriot games. The underdog is 20-7 ATS in Cowboy games of late. With those numbers and a possible back door cover, I will make the Patriots a very very light play. With that said, the Patriots should win by double digits.
Don’t want to lay all those points? Insert this game into a GIANT teaser at an online bookie that offers 19 point NFL teasers and 20 point college football teasers! —> 5Dimes
Additional NFL Football Betting Previews