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Cowboys vs. Rams Picks: How We’re Betting Sunday Night Football

Cowboys vs. Rams Picks: How We’re Betting Sunday Night Football article feature image

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott

  • The Los Angeles Rams host the Dallas Cowboys in the first Sunday Night Football matchup of the season, and since the time of writing, pros have bet this line down to Rams -1.
  • Our staff sees value on both teams and a couple of Cowboys player props on Sunday night.
  • Check out how our experts are betting Cowboys vs. Rams below.

The Los Angeles Rams host the Dallas Cowboys in the first Sunday Night Football matchup of the 2020 NFL season.

With pros betting this line down from Cowboys -3 to -2, where does the betting value lie? Our staff takes a closer look at the spread and a couple props for Sunday night.

Cowboys vs. Rams Picks

Click a pick to skip ahead to that analysis.

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Chris Raybon
Rams +2
Brandon Anderson
Cowboys -2
Sean Koerner
CeeDee Lamb Over
50.5 Rec Yards (-110)
Mike Randle
Ezekiel Elliott Over
25.5 Rec Yards (-121)

Chris Raybon: Rams +2 vs. Cowboys

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 Gerald Everett and second-round running back Cam Akers (who specialized running behind poor offensive lines at Florida State) who will help them mitigate their biggest deficiency.

You can read my full breakdown of the game and why I bet the Rams at +2.5 here, but I would play them down to +1.5.

PICK: Rams down to +1.5

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Brandon Anderson: Cowboys -2 at Rams

America’s Team on the first Sunday night game of the season in a gorgeous new L.A. stadium in front of a national audience with a Super Bowl roster and aspirations? I’m gonna have to take the opposite side as Raybon.

Dallas is my pick to win the NFC this fall. The offense returns all the key pieces from what was already the No. 2 unit in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, importantly including offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and they’ve added the top weapon in the draft too in rookie WR CeeDeeLamb. The defense is a work in progress, but I like new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to unleash the best set of linebackers in the league in new and unique ways.

The Rams are decidedly not my NFC pick. I have them last in the division, really only even in the mix of things thanks to Sean McVay’s brilliance. The roster itself is rather blah. Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks are gone and not really replaced, and the defense has gotten remarkably barren outside of Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald.

The Rams built a studs and duds roster, and I’m not sure that works in real life.

My one hesitation here is the Dallas offensive line, which is replacing the retired Travis Frederick at center and is now short La’el Collins at tight tackle. That troubles me against the best defensive lineman in the league, but not enough for me to stay away from Dak Prescott dominating Jared Goff in a big national TV spot. Grab the Cowboys before you get the hook here.

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Sean Koerner: CeeDee Lamb Over 50.5 Rec Yards (-110)

Lamb was my top rookie wide receiver entering the draft. It was bittersweet seeing him fall to the Cowboys in the first round. He’ll likely be the No. 3 WR initially, but his ceiling in this offense would be massive if Amari Cooper or Michael Gallup were ever to miss time.

I like investing in Lamb hitting the over in his NFL debut.

One thing I’ve noticed to begin the season is that a lot of rookies are being overlooked in Week 1. I have to imagine this is due to the lack of preseason, which is when rookies usually flash their potential and get people excited to bet on them early in the season. I think that’s the case with Lamb, who will show off his elite yards after catch ability on SNF — I’m more willing to back the over on players who demonstrate ability to pick up yards after the catch.

Lamb is likely to line up in the slot, meaning he’ll avoid matching up with Jalen Ramsey. The Rams parted ways with slot corner Nickell-Robey Coleman in the offseason, making this a matchup in which targets are likely to funnel Lamb’s way in the slot.

I would set this number closer to 57.5 and would bet the over up to 53.5.

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Mike Randle: Ezekiel Elliott Over 26.5 Receiving Yards (-121)

The Cowboys enter this primetime spot with one of the NFL’s best offenses. Dallas ranked second in offensive DVOA and added explosive rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb to an offense that tallied the second-most passing yards in the NFL last season.

The center of the backfield touches rightly remains with two-time NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott. With the arrival of new head coach Mike McCarthy, preseason reports indicate a focus on increasing Elliott’s passing game usage. Elliott ranked ninth in both running back targets and receptions last season, following a 2018 campaign that saw him rank fifth in both statistics.

McCarthy is known for having a pass-first philosophy, and has always found ways to involve inferior running backs in the passing game throughout his career. Players like Eddie Lacy (42 receptions and four touchdowns in 2014), Ahman Green (46 receptions in 2006), and Ryan Grant (268 receiving yards in 2011) saw success as a receiver under McCarthy in Green Bay.

Look for Dallas to get Elliott away from All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and attack a Rams secondary that will be focus on the trio of wide receivers in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Lamb.

Elliott surpassed this total in nine of his 16 games last season. With Dallas losing center Travis Frederick (retirement) and right tackle La’el Collins (IR), they will need to get creative with their running back touches. One of the best offenses in football, on national television, should facilitate Elliott cresting this relatively low receiving prop.

I would bet this up to 27.5.

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