Cowboys vs Colts Odds: Sunday Night Football Prediction Fades Indy
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Ryan.
- The Sunday slate of Week 13 closes with Cowboys vs. Colts on Sunday Night Football.
- Dallas is a 10.5-point favorite at home, as it looks to keep up with the Eagles in the NFC East.
- Stuckey breaks down the matchup and delivers his betting pick below.
Cowboys vs Colts Odds
Two teams headed in opposite directions will meet on Sunday Night Football, which we're going to find a Colts vs. Cowboys pick for.
On paper, this game should be straightforward. It's a clear mismatch between one contender and disappointing team.
Despite an impressive 8-3 record, the Cowboys sit two games back of the Eagles in the NFC East because of a head-to-head loss earlier this season. As things stand, the Cowboys are the top wild-card team in the NFC.
If Dallas has any dreams of catching Philadelphia in the division, it can't afford to drop any of its next three games against the AFC South — Colts, Texans and Jaguars (on the road) — ahead of a Week 16 showdown in Arlington against Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, the 4-7-1 Colts are getting close to being officially eliminated from playoff contention. If they can somehow pull off the upset tonight, they'd have around a 10% chance of making the playoffs. A loss would essentially be the final nail in the coffin of a very disappointing 2022 campaign.
Despite the difference in how good these teams are, we have a point spread. Can Dallas cover as a double-digit home favorite, or will Indy keep this within single digits? Let's take a closer look.
Cowboys vs. Colts Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Cowboys and Colts match up statistically:
Colts vs. Cowboys DVOA Breakdown
Since Dak Prescott returned in Week 7, the Dallas offense has fired on all cylinders, ranking third in EPA per Play. Over that stretch, only Tua Tagovailoa has a higher EPA+CPOE Composite than Prescott, who leads all quarterbacks with a 57.2% Success Rate since returning.
In fairness, the competition hasn't been the greatest with Prescott getting to face the Lions, Bears, Packers, Vikings and Giants. From a DVOA perspective, all five rank in the bottom third of the league in Total Defense.
The Colts defense, which ranks eighth in EPA per Play, will provide the toughest test for Prescott since coming back from injury. The Dallas offense may find it a bit more difficult to move the ball, but it still should find enough success against a defense that won't have the services of Pro Bowl nickel corner Kenny Moore, who will be especially missed for his prowess against the run.
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While the Colts' defense should put up a decent fight, the biggest mismatch will come with Matt Ryan under center against an elite Dallas defense that enters Week 13 ranked first in DVOA and second in EPA per play.
Last season, the Cowboys defense really benefited from turnovers, which inflated their metrics across the board. That's not the case this season. If you remove turnovers, they still rank fourth in EPA per Play.
I'm just not sure how the statuesque Ryan will hold up against the ferocious Dallas pass rush that leads the league in pressure rate. It doesn't help that starting right tackle Braden Smith will not suit up, which means a rookie left tackle and Matt Pryor — who PFF grades as the 75th of 76 offensive tackles — will try to hold back DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons.
When under pressure this season, Ryan has only one big time throw compared to 12 turnover worthy plays — despite the fourth-lowest average depth of target among 35 quarterbacks with at least 50 drop backs under pressure. That spells trouble against this Dallas feast unit.
Not only is this a brutal matchup for the Indianapolis offense, it's also a tough spot for a Colts that is hitting the road on a short week after losing on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Cowboys stayed home following a mini-bye week after playing on Thanksgiving, which gave them four-plus additional days of preparation and rest.
It's tough to see this Colts offense moving the ball unless Jonathan Taylor can break a few runs. It's not like Ryan has shown the ability (nor will have the time) to exploit an aggressive Dallas secondary with explosive plays downfield.
I could only back Dallas here, but I don't show enough value on my projections. It's also tough to lay double digits in the NFL this season in a potentially reduced-scoring environment.
The Cowboys will warrant a look live if they get down early, but I believe the best pregame bet is to take the Colts team total under. I just don't see a path to consistent offense and we should ultimately get one or two Matt Ryan turnovers under pressure.
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