Cowboys vs. Rams Odds: Dallas Now An Underdog On Sunday Night Football
Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Ramsey, Amari Cooper
- After opening as 2.5-point favorites, the Dallas Cowboys are now 1-point underdogs against the Los Angeles Rams.
- Our analyst Chris Raybon explains why the Rams were a sharp Sunday Night Football pick at their original odds.
- Now with 38% of the bets but 52% of money on the Rams as of 6 p.m. ET, there's no longer value on the line.
Sunday Night Football Odds: Cowboys vs. Rams
When these teams met in Week 15 of the 2019 season, the Cowboys blew out the Rams for a 44-21 beatdown. But Los Angeles is well-positioned to exact revenge on Dallas in the first Sunday Night Football showdown of the 2020 season.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup.
Normally, you would expect a head coaching change or a super talented first-round pick falling into the team’s lap to qualify as the most notable changes for the team. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, it’s two absences that take centerstage: Five-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick retired before the season at age 29 and stud right tackle La’el Collins, who earned a top-five grade at his position from Pro Football Focus last season, was placed on the Injured Reserve with a hip injury.
The Cowboys still have blue-chippers Tyron Smith and Zack Martin on the line, but the losses of Frederick and Collins will sting from both a continuity and talent perspective against Aaron Donald and Co. Frederick’s replacement, Joe Looney, played all of five snaps at center last season. And Collins’ backup, Cameron Erving, was graded 80th out of 81 tackles last season by PFF.
Dallas’ 44-21 win over L.A. in Week 15 last season was keyed by the running game. Ezekiel Elliott (24-117-2) and Tony Pollard (12-131-1) combined for 248 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries. The Cowboys’ top-two graded lineman in that game? You guessed it: Frederick and Collins.
Expectations are high for Dak Prescott and the passing game, but it may not come easy in this matchup. When these teams met last season, Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill and Co. held the Cowboys starting wide receiver trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb to just three catches on seven targets for 19 scoreless yards, with Ramsey shadowing Cooper on 58.3% of his routes and holding him catch-less.
There’s no guarantee that we’ll see the same game plan from new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley on Sunday night, but there’s also no question that the Rams have the talent to take away the Cowboys’ most dangerous passing game weapons.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams knotted the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter in last year’s matchup, but were ill-equipped to play from behind after the Cowboys rattled off three second-quarter touchdowns to take a 28-7 halftime lead. The Rams became one-dimensional and ended up with 54 dropbacks and only 14 rushing attempts in the contest.
LA finds itself better positioned offensively this time around.
For one, the team gets Rob Havenstein back at right tackle in place of Bobby Evans, who started that game and surrendered a team-high seven pressures.
The Rams also have No. 2 tight end Gerald Everett back. Tyler Higbee had success in last season’s matchup against the Cowboys, catching 12 passes for 111 yards on 14 targets. But without the injured Everett, the Rams were forced to roll almost exclusively with 11 personnel. The Cowboys defense was able to sit on Jared Goff’s intermediate-to-deep throws — when he even had time — limiting him to 3-of-12 passing for 38 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
For the season, the Cowboys defense allowed a 46% pass success rate vs. 11 personnel but a 51% vs. 12 personnel, according to Sharp Football Stats. Having their optimal 12 personnel lineup will be particularly key against Cowboys edge rushers Everson Griffen and Demarcus Lawrence.
Two of the cornerbacks who had a hand in that standout performance won’t be in the lineup for Dallas: Byron Jones signed a five-year deal for $82 million with the Dolphins and Jourdan Lewis has been ruled out with an ankle injury. This puts a lot of pressure on rookie Trevon Diggs and the rest of the back end in their first game under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
Despite the lopsided result when these two squads faced off last year, they were more evenly matched than you may think. The Cowboys finished No. 4 in the NFC with a +5.3 in Simple Rating System (schedule-adjusted margin of victory) while the Rams were No. 5 at +3.9.
The Cowboys are a team that I would expect to hit its stride later in the season — not in Week 1 with a new head coach, a new center, a fill-in right tackle and a rookie cornerback.
Even with the Rams’ weakest link — their offensive line — they still have continuity working in their favor, and players they didn’t have available for last season’s matchup, like Everett and second-round running back Cam Akers (who specialized running behind poor O-lines at Florida State) who will help them mitigate their biggest deficiency.
I would play the Rams down to +1.5.
PICK: Rams +2.5