On Saturday night, the Dallas Cowboys will head to the west coast and take on the high powered Los Angeles Rams for a birth in the NFC Championship game.
Dallas just beat one NFC West team, the Seahawks, and they are looking to make it two straight. The Rams are coming off a bye week and hope that the time off helped heal some of their superstar players like Todd Gurley.
Will it be the Dallas defense or the LA offense that prevails this weekend? Kickoff inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is at 8:15 PM ET.
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The following odds are courtesy of live odds feed:
|Betting Data||Dallas Cowboys||Los Angeles Rams|
|Current S/U record||11-6||13-3|
|2018 ATS Home||5-3-1||3-3-2|
|2018 ATS Away||4-4||4-4|
|2018 O/U Home||6-3||5-2-1|
|2018 O/U Away||2-6||2-6|
Saturday’s Wild Card game between the Rams and the Cowboys will mark the 34th time these two teams have played against each other. Currently, the Cowboys hold a 17-16 advantage in this series and have won 3 of the last 4 games.
The Rams won the most recent encounter, which was last year in Dallas and it signaled to the NFL that LA was for real. These two teams have also played against each other 8 times in the playoffs, with both teams having won 4 games apiece.
The Cowboys (11-6) are coming off a solid win against the Seattle Seahawks last weekend. They were able to shut down the powerful Seattle rushing attack and play a physical style of football that could carry them further into the postseason.
Dallas is looking to reach the NFC title game for the first time since 1995, which is also the last time they won the Super Bowl. Dallas has the ingredients to pull off the road upset, but will they be successful in So-Cal?
The Rams (13-3) earned a first-round bye in the playoffs and were very fortunate that they did. Los Angeles had some players banged up, none more important than their franchise RB Todd Gurley who missed the last two games of the regular season. With an extra week to rest, Gurley will be ready to roll.
Additionally, it gave the Rams more time to acclimate backup RB CJ Anderson to the offense. Can the Rams return to the NFC title game for the first time since 2001 when they lost in the Super bowl to the Patriots?
The spread for this game opened at 6.5 points in favor of the Rams, but quickly shot up to 7 points with most online betting sites. The Over/Under has opened at 49 total points and has remained unchanged with the majority of football betting sites.
The Rams enter this postseason with an all-time record of 19-25 in the playoffs, while the Cowboys own a 35-27 record.
For Dallas to get their 36th all-time postseason win, they will need to slow down this explosive Rams offense that was #2 in the league in total yardage with 421.1 ypg. They were also 2nd in the NFL in scoring at 32.9 ppg. They will also need to establish their un and try to control the game clock.
For the Rams to win, they will need to stop the powerful Dallas rushing attack, force 3-and-outs with the Dallas offense, and hit some home run plays. The Cowboys were 10th in the league with 122.7 rushing ypg.
However, they put up 164 yards on the Seahawks last weekend. The Seahawks were 13th in the league against the run, but couldn’t stop Ezekiel Elliott all game long. The Rams have the 23rd ranked rush defense as they allow 122.3 ypg.
When I took an early look at these betting odds upon first release, I was really surprised that Dallas was getting 7 points. I believe that Dallas will cover this spread as they do have a puncher’s chance at beating Los Angeles this weekend.
The Rams have a sub-average defense that also allows 24 points per game. They haven’t lived up to their potential on defense except for Aaron Donald. Unfortunately, he’s going up against one of the best offensive lines in all of football this weekend and could be neutralized.
I believe the Rams front 7 will have a tough time against Elliott, especially when he comes out of the backfield.
For the Cowboys defense, they were #6 in points allowed at 20.2 ppg, #5 against the run at 94.6 ypg, and #13 against the pass. Against Seattle last weekend, they held the #1 rush offense to just 73 rushing yards, which was roughly 90 yards below their average.
Dallas is 4-0 ATS when an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points, 3-1 ATS when a road underdog of 3.5 to 7 points, 10-5 SU in grass games, 15-5 SU after winning 2 or more straight games, 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 overall games, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games against the Rams.
The Rams went 4-4 ATS this year when favored by 3.5 to 9.5 points, 7-13 ATS in their last 20 home games, 14-20 ATS in their last 24 conference games, 2-4 ATS in their last 6 against the NFC East, 3-7 ATS in their last 10 playoff games, and 4-11 ATS in their last 15 against winning teams.
I believe the Rams are going to be in for a fight. Dallas can run the ball and protect Prescott on offense. They can stop the run and slow down explosive offenses on defense. If they can win the time of possession battle then they have a real shot at winning.
With that said, I’m taking the Cowboys to cover the +7 points. That’s a lot of points for a playoff built team. However, I do think the Rams will win this game in the end. Los Angeles has too much fire power to be held down for all 4 quarters. I expect the Rams to take the lead late in the game and hold on to win. I’m predicting Los Angeles 27 – Dallas 24.
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