Cowboys vs. Lions Betting Odds: The Biggest Mismatch Other Than QB

Cowboys vs. Lions Betting Odds: The Biggest Mismatch Other Than QB article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott

  • Our experts analyze every betting angle of the Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions, complete with odds and picks.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the news of the Lions ruling out Matthew Stafford.

Cowboys at Lions Betting Odds

  • Odds: Cowboys -6.5
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Sportsbooks finally posted odds following the news that Matthew Stafford would miss his second straight game, which means Jeff Driskel will get the start again. So what do you need to know about this matchup?

You’ll find Sean Koerner’s projected odds and more analysis below.

Cowboys-Lions Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Cowboys

The Cowboys continue to limit Amari Cooper (knee/ankle) in practice, but there likely isn’t anything to worry about as of now. A lot of their offensive line is banged up, but it’s typically normal for them to limit La’El Collins and Zack Martin. However, left guard Connor Williams (knee) is out indefinitely.

The biggest news around this game is Stafford (back), who has been ruled for the second straight week.

Ty Johnson (concussion) returned to limited practice, but he hasn’t cleared the concussion protocol yet. We’ll have a clearer picture on his status on Friday. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Cowboys RBs vs. Lions LBs

Running back Ezekiel Elliott is in the midst of a down season. He has career-low marks with 23.4 opportunities (carries plus targets), 22.7 touches and 108.9 scrimmage yards per game. In a vacuum, those numbers are great. But within the context of Elliott’s career, those numbers are disappointing.

Fortunately for him, he gets to face the Lions this week.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (21), Lions DT A’Shawn Robinson (91).

They are atrocious at defending the position, ranking No. 28 in run defense (per Pro Football Focus) and No. 25 in pass defense against running backs (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric).

With 168 yards and 1.56 touchdowns allowed to opposing backfields, the Lions have been the league’s second-most exploitable team for the position this year.

Much of the blame belongs to linebackers Christian Jones and Jarrad Davis, who are remarkably substandard at nearly everything they do (based on their PFF grades):

  • Jarrad Davis: 32.9 overall | 46.0 run defense | 43.3 tackling | 29.9 coverage
  • Christian Jones: 43.4 overall | 40.7 run defense | 55.8 tackling | 41.4 coverage

There are some remarkably poor linebacking duos currently in the league, but the Davis and Jones tag team might be the worst one.

On the ground and through the air, Davis and Jones match up extremely poorly with Elliott. Even explosive backup running back Tony Pollard could turn these linebackers to dust.

Even though the Cowboys are less of a run-focused team than they used to be, Zeke and Pollard still look like candidates to combine for close to 200 yards. — Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Cowboys -5.5
  • Projected Total: 47

Stafford will miss his second straight game after snapping a streak of 136 consecutive regular-season games — what was the second-longest active streak — so I’ve docked the Lions’ power rating to account for Driskel starting.

There’s quite a bit of value in Lions +7, since I make this 5.5 and both 6 and 7 are key numbers in NFL betting. Be sure to shop around for the best number; you may see a +7.5 pop with all the public love for Dallas.

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