Monday NFL Betting Picks: Cardinals vs. Cowboys Spread & Moneyline Bets
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Amari Cooper
The NFL closes out Week 6 with a Monday Night Football doubleheader featuring the Chiefs at Bills and the Cardinals and Cowboys.
Our staff details how they’re betting both matchups below.
NFL Picks for Monday Night Football
Cardinals vs. Cowboys Picks
Raheem Palmer: Cardinals +1
Much has been made about the injury to Dak Prescott, but it’s the rest of this Cowboys team that has been the biggest factor in the team’s 2-3 record.
The defense has given up 20, 39, 38, 49 and 34 points through the first five games of this season and rank 24th in defensive DVOA — 20th against the pass and 23rd against the run. The Cowboys are allowing 12% of running plays to go for 20 or more yards and 9% of passing plays to go for 20 or more yards; those marks rank 21st and 25th among NFL teams.
They get linebacker Leighton Vander Esch back but DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald will still be a problem for a secondary that Pro Football Focus has graded as the NFL’s worst coverage team.
On offense, the Cowboys are surrounded by weapons but they’ve been playing musical chairs with their offensive line all season. They lacked continuity without Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, but Prescott was able to overcome the deficiencies of this struggling unit
Are we sure Andy Dalton will be able to do the same given his lack of mobility?
The Cardinals are missing Pro Bowl linebacker Chandler Jones but their pass rush, which is 12th in sacks (14) and sixth in pressure rate (24.7%), still presents a problem for the Cowboys offensive line.
Turnovers aren’t predictive, but bad teams have a tendency to beat themselves. Regardless of how great the skill position players are, the Cowboys are a bad team. They’re third in giveaways this season at 11 with the only teams ahead of them in the Vikings and Eagles playing one additional game.
My full-season numbers including Prescott made this game Dallas -2. If I’m downgrading for Dalton, the Cardinals should be a slight favorite. Oddsmakers opened this line Cardinals -2.5, and while sharp money has taken this to a consensus line of Cowboys -1, I vehemently disagree with the move.
I’ll fade the Cowboys in this spot and would bet the Cardinals down to a pick’em.
Anderson: Cowboys ML -110
Dak Prescott is really good, and the Cowboys are going to miss him a lot. That much is true.
But is it so true that the Cowboys should be home underdogs to the mediocre Arizona Cardinals?
It’s natural to see doom and gloom for the Cowboys season after the Prescott injury, and it’s true that any remaining hopes of winning this season’s Super Bowl are probably gone, but Dallas doesn’t have to win a Super Bowl on Monday night — the Cowboys just need to beat the Cardinals.
Andy Dalton is a perfectly fine quarterback. He’s always been a reflection of the talent around him, and in Dallas, he’ll be surrounded by more offensive talent than he ever played with in Cincinnati.
The Cowboys don’t have Dak Prescott anymore, but they’ve still got Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Dalton and the offense will be fine, especially against this very average Cardinals defense that’s now missing its best player with Chandler Jones on IR.
Arizona is historically awful in Dallas, losing 14 of 16 games since 1990. And sure, that’s because Dallas is usually just more talented, but that’s still the case tonight. It’s normal for a team to have an upswing after a big injury as they pull together, and I expect a similar run from Dallas. They should not be a home underdog to the Cardinals and I’ll take the moneyline for the win.
Chiefs vs. Bills Picks
Brandon Anderson: Chiefs -5.5
On paper, the Bills look a lot like the Raiders, who just upset the Chiefs.
Like Las Vegas, which shredded Kansas City with big play after big play in last week’s win, Buffalo is built to attack aggressively downfield in the passing game. And like the Raiders, the Bills probably aren’t going to win the game with their defense. Their defense hasn’t been good this season, so they would likely need to win a shootout like the Raiders.
Add everything up and Buffalo looks like a candidate for the same type of upset, with Josh Allen entering the MVP fray with a huge Monday night win against the champs. Allen has put up huge numbers all season and isn’t afraid to chuck it.
The problem is that I loved the Chiefs against the Raiders last week precisely because of their poor defense and one-dimensional offense, so I have no choice but to love Kansas City for all the same reasons again this week.
Entering last week, Kansas City had the league’s No. 1 rated pass defense, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA. That’s obviously not the case anymore after their poor showing against the Raiders, but one game doesn’t destroy a month of good work.
The way to beat the Chiefs is not to challenge them to a shootout. It’s their run defense that’s weak, and the right strategy is to control the ball and run at them all game like New England did with some success a few weeks ago, keeping Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense safely off the field. Yes, the Patriots lost with that method while the Raiders won, but don’t be results-oriented.
This matchup favors the Chiefs, and all the better that the Bills are on a weird short week after last Tuesday night’s game. Take the Chiefs in a rare spot giving under a touchdown.
I’d bet them at anything under -7.
Mike Randle: Mecole Hardman Under 4.5 Rec (-139)
With starting wide receiver Sammy Watkins out for several weeks with a hamstring injury, the speedy Mecole Hardman will likely see an increased workload. However, an increased opportunity will not translate to five or more receptions against the Bills.
In 21 career games, Hardman has never totaled five receptions in a game. In fact, in the three prior games he has played without Watkins, Hardman hasn’t even seen an average of five targets.
Hardman’s 4.33 speed and big-play ability make him the sexy, but not best play, on Monday Night Football.
Teammate Byron Pringle has historically been the player who benefits most in Sammy Watkins’ absence. In Week 5 of last season, Pringle produced the overall WR12 stat line — six receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown — in Watkins’ absence. When Watkins exited in Week 5 of this season, Pringle ran only 11 routes but still caught a 23-yard reception.
I’m sure Kansas City will get Hardman involved as both a rusher and receiver, but this line looks too high. With Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Pringle and Demarcus Robinson, I don’t see Hardman getting to five receptions.
This is also a 9-rated prop on our FantasyLabs Player Prop tool. This season, props with a rating of nine have a 56% (149-114-4) hit rate. I’m taking the under at 4.5 receptions for Hardman.