Cowboys vs. 49ers Odds, Picks, Predictions: How Experts Are Betting Spread, Total On NFL Wild Card Sunday
Getty Images. Pictured: Cowboys WR Amari Cooper, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers TE George Kittle
Cowboys vs. 49ers Odds
|Time||4:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings as of Sunday afternoon. Find real-time NFL odds here.|
It took an overtime sweat to get here, but the 49ers are in the 2022 NFL playoffs, and they open against an old rival in the Cowboys.
San Francisco is a 3-point underdog for its Wild Card Sunday showdown in Jerry World — and our experts are aligned on the Niners to cover. They’re also aligned on how to bet the over/under. Find all of their bets below, including game and player props.
49ers vs. Cowboys Picks
|Click on a pick to skip ahead|
|3 Unanswered Scores Prop|
|4 Deebo Samuel Under 64.5 Rec Yards|
written by Raheem Palmer
The Cowboys are coming off a 51-26 blowout victory over the Eagles in a Week 18 game that was essentially a glorified scrimmage with Dallas taking advantage of a Philly team playing its backups. But despite that scoring outburst, this Cowboys offense has been far from impressive since Dak Prescott returned from his injury in Week 9.
Between Weeks 1-6, the Cowboys averaged 34 points, ranking fifth in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play, second in Success Rate, second in Dropback Success Rate and third in Rushing Success Rate. But from Weeks 9-17, they averaged only 28 points per game and were just 16th in EPA/play, 21st in Success Rate, 19th in Dropback Success Rate and 27th in Rushing Success Rate.
The Cowboys typically want to establish the run, but we’ve seen a decline in a rushing offense that was unable to capitalize against the Cardinals, who rank 16th in Rushing Success Rate and gave up 190 rushing yards to Seahawks backup Rashaad Penny in Week 18.
Now the Cowboys will have to deal with a 49ers defense that’s second in rushing EPA/play and Success Rate.
The 49ers also have a dominant pass rush and will be able to get home without blitzing as they’re sixth in ESPN’s pass rush win rate. They sacked Matthew Stafford five times in last Sunday’s matchup and should be able to get pressure on Prescott.
While the 49ers secondary has been leaky, with Michael Gallup out of the lineup, there’s one less weapon the Cowboys have to rely on. And with the 49ers secondary getting healthier, I like their chances of slowing down a Cowboys offense that has declined since Prescott’s return.
On the other side of the ball, the 49ers offense has been rolling.
Jimmy Garoppolo has quietly been a better quarterback than Prescott, besting him in EPA + CPOE composite, Success Rate, completion percentage and Football Outsiders’ DVOA. He also leads a 49ers offense that’s sixth in EPA/play and ninth in Success Rate.
With the Cowboys ranking 17th in Success Rate against tight ends, allowing 56% of plays to grade out as successful, they’re in for a long day against George Kittle.
And while Trevon Diggs has the reputation of an elite cornerback, outside of interceptions, he hasn’t been very good. According to PFF, he ranks 90th out of 91 cornerbacks with 300+ coverage snaps in yards allowed per target. It’s no surprise the Cowboys are 26th in yards allowed to opposing wide receivers at nearly nine yards per play. I’m expecting a big day from Deebo Samuel.
I’ll back the 49ers with the points down to +3 and take them to win this game outright.
written by Chris Raybon
Whether the 49ers win will depend on how well they can stick with the run, pass under pressure, and limit turnovers (color me skeptical). Regardless of whether that happens, this game is likely to trend toward the under.
If San Francisco is able to control the game, it will come via the incessant run game, which will bleed clock and keep the ball away from this Dallas offense. That will almost certainly be Kyle Shanahan’s game plan against a Cowboys team that led the league in points per game on offense (31.2) and hung a 50 burger on the scoreboard in two of its past three games.
But if the 49ers are struggling, it will be because their passing offense has been nowhere near as deadly against man coverage, which the Cowboys play at one of the highest rates in the league. The 49ers are averaging 7.9 yards per targeted pass against man coverage (which is below the league average of 8.0) compared to 10.1 vs. zone.
Deebo Samuel goes from a position-leading 3.70 yards per route versus zone to 1.84 against man, a drop-off of 50%. George Kittle goes from a position-leading 2.69 yards per route run against zone to 1.84 against man, a drop-off of nearly a full yard. Brandon Aiyuk also drops from 1.94 yards per route against zone to 1.47 against man.
You get the picture.
The you have the pressure element: The Cowboys are fourth in pressure rate (27.8%) and don’t have to bring extra rushers to generate that pressure, as their 27.1% blitz rate is the lowest blitz rate for any team with top-six pressure rate. Jimmy Garoppolo’s yards per attempt drops from 9.0 when kept clean to 7.4 under pressure this season, and his 29.2 PFF passing grade under pressure ranks dead last of 40 qualified quarterbacks.
San Francisco should be able to hold its own on defense, as well, as it ranks fifth in DVOA.
A big key is its run defense, which rates second. Stopping the run will inevitably lead to some third-and-longs for the Cowboys, who rank 31st in success rate on third and fourth downs with seven or more yards to go, converting just 16-of-92 (17.4%) such opportunities.
DVOA tells the same story, as the Cowboys rank 27th on third- or fourth-and-long.
On top of that, both teams play at a slow pace: In terms of situation-neutral pace, the Cowboys are 26th and the 49ers are 28th, according to Football Outsiders.
Indoor overs in the postseason had a good run, but that’s no longer the case, as postseason outdoor unders have gone 8-1 over the past three seasons, per our Action Labs data.
3 Unanswered Scores: No (+205)
written by Billy Ward
“No” on “either team to score three unanswered times” is one of my favorite bets to make, and has been consistently profitable (in the right situations) throughout the season.
The good news is for those with access to books in the latter group: The odds of this prop hitting don’t heavily correlate to the total.
For my math nerds, the R-squared between either team scoring three times in a row and the total is only .18, but it’s roughly .42 when examining the spread. Or in layman’s terms: The spread is about 2.5 times more predictive than the total on this prop.
The “no” side of this bet hits at just under 41% (since 2014) for games with a spread of three. The +205 line being offered by DraftKings has about 33% implied odds, giving us an 8% edge. This bet is still more likely than not to lose, but we’re getting good enough value to make it worth betting.
I’d bet it down to +180, which would be a 5% edge.
Deebo Samuel Under 64.5 Receiving Yards
written by Sean Koerner
Samuel is so dangerous with the ball in his hands that the 49ers have been giving him 5-8 rush attempts a game since Week 10. That’s naturally led to a decrease in his receiving production as he’s cleared this number in only three of eight games since they started deploying him this way.
Samuel’s receiving production could take another hit considering the Cowboys play man coverage at the third-highest rate in the NFL:
- vs. man: 1.88 yards per route run
- vs. zone: 3.67 yards per route run
I’m projecting this closer to 56.5 yards and would bet it down to 60.5 yards.