Ravens vs. Cowboys Odds & Picks: Your Guide To Betting Tuesday’s Clear Mismatch
Getty Images. Pictured: Amari Cooper, Lamar Jackson
Ravens vs. Cowboys Odds
Before the season, this was one of the Thursday night jewels of the season. Back then, it would have been reasonable to consider this a potential Super Bowl preview. Now, it looks nothing like that.
The Dallas Cowboys have seen their season go sideways and then some, currently standing dead-last in one of the worst divisions of all-time: The NFC East. On the other side, the Baltimore Ravens are still in the hunt, but fading quickly. A loss here would drop the Ravens to two games out of the wild-card picture after a COVID-19 outbreak that has wreaked havoc on their schedule and left many players sidelined.
(Once upon a time, this matchup was scheduled to be played last Thursday night, with both teams coming off a full week of rest after their respective Thanksgiving games.)
Still, as poorly as both teams’ seasons have played out, a win Tuesday keeps one of them in the playoff hunt. Will the Ravens take care of business as a sizable favorite, or will the Cowboys tailspin continue? Let’s analyze this matchup to find a spread angle.
The Cowboys enter this matchup with a 3-8 record, but a win here pulls them within one game of the division lead. They have just three wins all season by a total of seven points, and they’ve needed to survive the final minutes in each victory. Five of their past six losses have been by double digits, with an average losing margin of 17.5 points over that stretch.
Everything has gone wrong in Dallas.
The defense was a huge culprit early on, ranking last in points allowed per game and allowing at least 34 points in six of their 11 games. Since Dak Prescott went down for the season, though, the offense has been an even bigger problem. Over the Cowboys’ past six games, they are averaging 14.7 points per game. The Cowboys have scored fewer than 20 points six times this season.
The Cowboys are not been particularly good at anything other than special teams and individual wide receiver play at times. Their best hope for is a poor performance from the Ravens and a few flashes of brilliance by CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper against a sometimes beatable secondary.
The Ravens are just 6-5 on the season, but the remain advanced metrics darlings. They rank fifth in Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System and eighth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The Ravens are, as always, elite on special teams under John Harbaugh. The defense has slipped a bit, but still ranks in the top quarter of the league.
For Baltimore, there are two major questions that must be answered:
- Where has the COVID-19 outbreak left the team?
- Can the offense do enough?
The Ravens last played on Wednesday, so this is a relatively normal week of rest, akin to playing on a Monday and following Sunday.
The big weekend news is that Lamar Jackson will play, swinging this line a couple points toward Baltimore. Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins should also return to give the Ravens a full stable of running backs, and stud defensive end Calais Campbell will return as well. They’re still banged up in the trenches and far from whole, but they’re trending in the right direction.
The return of Jackson and the stable of running backs is key in this game. The Ravens’ passing offense has not been good this season, but the rushing attack has still been a top 10 unit when healthy. The Cowboys have seen their pass defense improve slightly over the course of the season, but they can’t stop the run to save their collective lives, ranking bottom five in the NFL. Against Baltimore, that’s going to be a big problem.
On paper, this is a major mismatch.
The Ravens are still the far better team despite their disappointing season thus far. For the Cowboys to even keep the game close, they will have to depend on big plays from their star receivers. More importantly, they will need another tepid performance from the Ravens.
But the Ravens are still very good at running the football and playing defense, and that spells trouble against a team that can’t score or stop the run.
Baltimore may only have six wins, but five of the six have come by 14 or more points. And remember, Dallas has lost by double digits five times already, too.
You never know with a weird Tuesday game in a strange pandemic season, but this looks like a get-right opportunity for Jackson and Co. This is not a great spot to tease the Ravens; either bet them to cover with ease as they have during their wins this season, or take Dallas outright at long odds.
At -8, this looks like a great spot to bet on the Ravens getting their season back on track.
PICK: Ravens -8