Sunday Night Football Picks And Predictions: Cowboys at Rams

The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams will open up SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. in the Week 1 Sunday Night Football contest. As is the case around most of the league to begin the 2020 NFL season, there’ll be no fans permitted for the grand opening of the NFL’s newest stadium. PlayPicks has you covered wherever you’ll be watching with our Sunday Night Football betting breakdown. We’ll look at the NFL betting odds and lines at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportbook each week and will make our picks and best bets for Cowboys at Rams below.

Both the Cowboys and Rams are looking to return to the playoffs after missing out in 2019. The Cowboys finished 8-8 and second in the NFC East. They subsequently fired long-time head coach Jason Garrett and replaced him with Mike McCarthy. The Rams finished third in the tough NFC West at 9-7. They underwent several key roster changes on both sides of the ball but remain led by head coach Sean McVay and QB Jared Goff.

Below, we focus on the Cowboys-Rams’ moneyline, spread and over/under; I’ll also provide my favorite team or player prop for Sunday Night Football. All bets will be given as either a “pick” or a “lean”. Picks are to be made with a high degree of confidence at the odds listed. Leans are more tentative plays and require more news on player availability or more profitable betting odds. In combination with weekly SNF betting picks for PlayPicks, I’ll be providing a full Sunday Night Football Betting Preview at TheLines each week.

Cowboys at Rams odds

Cowboys at Rams picks: Moneyline

The Cowboys are the betting favorites on the road in the Rams’ new stadium. As mentioned above, the Rams will have even less of a home-field advantage than they’ve had since relocating from St. Louis with no fans occupying SoFi Stadium for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic. LA is 16-8 at home in McVay’s three seasons as head coach, but it ranked near the bottom of the league by percent of stadium capacity in each of those seasons.

These two teams squared off at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in Week 15 with the ‘Boys pulling out a 44-21 victory. Cowboys RBs Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott both topped 100 rushing yards and combined for three scores. QB Dak Prescott completed 15 of just 23 pass attempts for 212 yards but two touchdowns without a pick. Goff completed 33 of 51 attempts for 284 yards and two scores but threw one interception. The Rams totaled just 22 yards on the ground with Goff and former lead RB Todd Gurley combining for 14 carries.

Dallas should again have the much stronger run game in 2020 after dominating in that facet in last year’s head-to-head clash. C Travis Frederick retired, but a still strong group returns to lead the way for Elliott. Rams RBs were stuffed on 21% of attempts last year (to 13% for the top-ranked Cowboys). Rookie Cam Akers will be tasked with helping to replace Gurley in a committee with Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson.

Look for the Cowboys to focus on the ground game in much the same way as they did last year and control the clock. Back the road favorites on the moneyline as McCarthy starts his Dallas tenure 1-0.

The pick: Cowboys (-162 or better)

Cowboys at Rams picks: Against the spread

The Cowboys are laying an even three points and will need to win by four or more points to cash ATS tickets. They were just 2-6 straight up in one-score games last year while the Rams were 3-3 in those games. Overall, the 2019 Rams were 10-5-1 ATS, winning by an average of 1.9 points per game but failed to cover the line by 0.8 PPG. The Cowboys were 9-7 ATS. They won by 7.1 PPG and covered by an extra 1.7 points on average. The Rams dipped to just 3-3-1 ATS at home with the Cowboys dropping to 4-4 as the road team.

LA was favored at -1.5 for the Week 15 meeting in Arlington last year. The Cowboys pulled the upset with ease in a 23-point victory. They have much higher expectations than the Rams this season by the Super Bowl futures odds. Dallas is +1600 at DK Sportsbook to win Super Bowl LV, while LA is just +4000. The Cowboys are also favored to win the NFC East. The Rams are ranked third by the futures odds to win their division.

Stand by the favorites on the point spread but wait this one out in hopes it drops by a half-point toward the home side. Getting the Cowboys at -2.5 would be the preferred line, but take them at -3 if we don’t get the desired line movement by Sunday’s kickoff.

The lean: Cowboys -3 or better

Cowboys at Rams picks: Over/Under (total)

Both offenses ranked in the top seven of the NFL in yards per game last year; the Cowboys averaged a league-high 431.5 total yards with the Rams seventh at 374.9. They ranked sixth and 11th, respectively, in points per game.

Defensively, the Cowboys allowed 20.1 PPG to the 22.8 PPG surrendered by the Rams. Both teams lost key pieces on defense with the Rams losing LB Dante Fowler Jr. and LB Cory Littleton to free agency. The Cowboys lost CB Byron Jones and S Jeff Heath. Dallas made the more notable additions on the defensive side with DT Dontari Poe, LB Aldon Smith and DE Everson Griffen bolstering the front seven. LA’s biggest defensive add was LB Leonard Floyd.

On offense, both teams made their biggest changes through the draft. The Cowboys took WR CeeDee Lamb in the first round, adding him to a group fronted by Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. The Rams took Akers and WR Van Jefferson both in the second round to help replace Gurley and Cooks.

The league-wide expectation in 2020 is for offensive rookies to struggle in the early going of the season due to the abbreviated offseason accessibility. The Cowboys’ strengthened pass rush will also prove a difficult first test for a Rams offensive line ranked just 22nd by team pass block win rate in 2019.

Finally, SNF totals are generally inflated by the primetime audience and viewers hoping for a shootout. Take the Under, with DraftKings offering a line of 52 while FanDuel has it set at 51.5.

The pick: UNDER 52 or better

Best SNF prop bet

Cowboys to score first and win (+143 at DraftKings Sportsbook)

As mentioned throughout the above, I have higher hopes for the Cowboys offense at the onset of the 2020 season. Dallas is also favored at -136 to score first Sunday night, with LA +100. Parlay this together with the Cowboys’ moneyline to get a much better value than the standalone outright odds.

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