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NFL Odds & Picks for Cowboys vs. Vikings: 3 Reasons Why Dallas Will Cover the Spread Against Minnesota


Photo by Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys

NFL Odds: Cowboys vs. Vikings

Cowboys Odds +8.5
Vikings Odds -8.5
Over/Under 47.5
PRO Projections Vikings -8 | O/U: 46
Time/Channel  4:25 p.m. ET, FOX
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The Dallas Cowboys are just 2-7 on the season and 1-8 against the spread (ATS) while the Minnesota Vikings have won three straight games and are now 6-3 ATS, including a win and cover against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.

So, of course, the play on Sunday is Minnesota -8.5, right? Wrong, and here are three reasons why.

NFL Picks: Cowboys vs. Vikings

1. Rest (or Lack Thereof)

As I mentioned above, the Vikings just played on Monday night, meaning they have a six-day turnaround until Sunday’s game against the Cowboys.

This is a bad spot for teams on short rest historically, especially for those that had to travel in their previous game like the Vikings.

According to our Bet Labs software, teams in this situation are 114-148-8 (43.5%) ATS since 2003, meaning fading them (or betting on their opponents) is 56.5% ATS.

2. Contrarian Betting Value

Thanks to our Team ATS PRO Betting System, we know that contrarian bettors are often rewarded by backing the league’s worst teams when playing the best, in terms of ATS performance, later in the season.

From Weeks 6-17, teams with ATS win rates of 30% or less (like the Cowboys) are 179-114-11 (61%) ATS when playing teams that that have covered more than half of their games (like the Vikings) since 2005.

This makes sense from a high level, as well.

Once the season is underway and games have been played, bettors think they “know” these teams and will jump at the opportunity to back those that have won them money, especially when their opponent has been consistently losing money.

Oddsmakers understand this psychology and respond by shading lines to penalize anyone blindly betting the good ATS teams in this scenario, which would be the Vikings on Sunday.

3. Mike McCarthy Off a Bye

We all know that Bill Belichick and Andy Reid are among the best coaches when given an extra week to prepare, but do you know who the best coach is for bettors?

Mike McCarthy.

Dating back to 2003, McCarthy has an 11-3-1 ATS record off a bye and has won more units for bettors than any other coach over that span.

I would never wager on an NFL game solely due a trend with such a small sample size, but when combined with a handful of other betting systems that include robust samples, this is just one more check mark aligning with the Dallas Cowboys.

Now, despite my incredible attention-grabbing headline, this doesn’t mean the Cowboys are locks to cover against the Vikings.

Remember, even a model, system or strategy with a 60% cover rate, which is absolutely incredible, over a large sample size will lose 40% of the time and sometimes in spectacularly bad fashion. And that is certainly possible for the Cowboys on Sunday.

However, when you look at the data as a whole, there is good reason to think Dallas is a savvy, yet ugly, bet against Minnesota.

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