The Dallas Cowboys held on for a 24-22 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in a thrilling wildcard game last Saturday. For their efforts, America’s Team gets a date with the Los Angeles Rams at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, January 12 in 2019 NFC Divisional Round betting.
Although the Cowboys didn’t cover the -2.5 spread, beating the Seahawks surprised plenty of NFL handicappers. Many backed Seattle on the moneyline. All the money on Seattle went out the window after the Cowboys did something they have rarely done since the early 1990’s – win a playoff game.
2019 NFC Divisional Round Betting
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams
Saturday, January 12th – L.A. Memorial Coliseum – 8:15pm ET
Odds: L.A. Rams -7 (49)
The road most definitely gets tougher in the Divisional Playoffs against the Los Angeles Rams. The 2-seed in the NFC, the Rams got the week off. That shouldn’t work against them even though they were hot at the end of the season when winning two straight: 31-9 over Arizona and 48-32 over San Francisco.
Will the Rams carry their great play against the Cardinals and 49ers into this game versus the Cowboys? Can Dallas surprise the naysayers again, this time beating one of the favorites to win Super Bowl 53? Time for analysis and a pick.
Cowboys Hope to Control Clock with Zeke, Short Passing Game
Dallas does a couple of things well that gives them a huge chance of upsetting the Rams on Saturday. First, they play solid defense. The Cowboys rank seventh in total yards allowed and sixth in points allowed. It’s a sneaky quality that should drive some action their way in 2019 NFC Divisional Round betting.
The other thing they do well is run the football.
Cowboys’ coaches, fans, and backers should expect a healthy dose of Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas’ RB1 led the NFL in rushing this season He’s equally effective at running between the tackles and around the edges. He’s also a decent pass-catcher and that’s where the Cowboys could have more success.
During the offseason, Rams’ coach Sean McVay acquired two of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Either will have success in man-to-man coverage on Amari Cooper, but that doesn’t do enough to make up for the glaring weakness that’s plagued the Rams all season. Their linebacking corps, unfortunately, still stinks.
Teams average over 123 rushing yards against Los Angeles. If the Rams put an eighth man in the box, Dak Prescott shouldn’t try to throw long to Cooper. He should dump it off to Elliott in space or throw inside slants to his other wide receivers. If Prescott has success doing that, the Cowboys can control the clock, keep the ball from the Rams’ offense, and possibly pull off the upset. The ingredients are in the bowl.
Goff Must Step Up His Game
Sean McVay’s offensive system revolves around his quarterback. How his quarterback plays on Saturday is probably the one thing that keeps him up at night this week. Although Jared Goff was great against Arizona and San Francisco in Week 16 and Week 17, he played horribly in the 3 previous games against Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
Goff had trouble dealing with the Eagles’ pass rush. Dallas’ pass rush, led by great DE DeMarcus Lawrence, is better than Philly’s. The Rams could decide to soften up the Cowboys’ front seven by rushing Todd Gurley, but that might not work because Dallas allows less than 95 ground yards per.
No matter anyway we look at this game, the Rams must get excellent play from Goff to not only cover, but to win. Which Goff will show up? We should know right away. The good Jared Goff will get the ball out of hands quickly, make the right read, and not force anything. Goff can be cherry picked for not taking risks, but he has a knack for striking when the opportunity presents itself. Patience is key to succeeding at quarterback and the former first overall pick is more than happy to bide his time, for better or worse.
What’s troubling those trying to support the home team in2019 NFC Divisional Round betting is that there’s such thing as a “bad Jared Goff”. This iteration of the quarterback will force throws, take too many chances and panic. Goff played great against the 49ers and Cardinals, but the Cowboys are on another level. He must step it up for the Rams to move on to the NFC Championship.
Cowboys-Rams Betting Analysis and Pick
Early NFL handicappers were all over the Rams, but then they took a look at both team’s ATS record and trends and jumped on the Cowboys. The line went up to Rams -8. It’s back down to Rams -7.
Trends are definitely a factor. Los Angeles is 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 home games versus a team with a winning road record, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 playoff games, and 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous.
The Cowboys are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 versus the NFC and 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 on grass. Dallas is also 5-1 ATS in their last 6 after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous.
Trends favor Dallas, but so do the matchups. The Cowboys have what it takes to not only cover, but to also beat the Rams SU. The Rams are soft in the 4 in their 3-4 while Dallas rushes the ball as well as any team in the NFL. The Rams has a quarterback that must step it up while the Cowboys are great at applying pressure.
I’m willing to take a big stand here. Dallas won’t just cover on Saturday, they’ll upset the L.A. Rams and move on to the NFC Championship.
2019 NFC Divisional Round Betting Free Pick: Cowboys ML