Titans-Cowboys Betting Preview & Pick: Is Dallas Laying too many Points?
Week 9 Recap: I finished with a 3-1 ATS record on Sunday, cashing the Steelers (+3) over the Ravens, the Saints (+1.5) over the Rams, and the Patriots (-5) over the Packers. My lone loss was ugly, as the Redskins (-1.5) were essentially boat-raced by the Falcons in Washington.
Season Recap: The 3-1 Sunday puts my season record at 30-13-1 against the spread. My goal this year was to hit around 60 percent, so I’m thrilled to be around 70 percent as we move into the second half of the season.
473 Tennessee Titans at 474 Dallas Cowboys
- Spread: Cowboys -5.5
- O/U: 40
- Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
The Cowboys opened as 4-point home favorites, but the line was bet up to 5.5, which is where the number currently sits at most online sportsbooks. As for the total, it hit the board at 42 but was bet down to 40.
While 59 percent of the betting tickets are on the Cowboys, 53 percent of the money is on the Titans. That’s an indication that while public bettors are backing Dallas and laying the points, the sharps are taking the underdog. As for the total, 67 percent of the betting tickets and 53 percent of the money is on the over.
Dallas enters tonight as the more injury-ravaged team. Tight end Geoff Swaim (knee) and right guard Zack Martin (knee) are questionable. Defensive tackle David Irving (ankle) has been ruled out and receiver Tavon Austin (groin) will miss several weeks.
Yes, Dallas has played well at home this year, but this matchup is pretty even. The Cowboys own the No. 2 scoring defense in the league at 17.6 points per game, while the Titans employ the No. 3 scoring defense, allowing 18.1 points per game. Neither team lights up the scoreboard, as the Titans rank 30th in scoring while the Cowboys are 25th, and both teams are coming off a bye.
As previously mentioned, the Cowboys are also the more injury-ravaged team. They’re without center Travis Frederick for the season and now guard Zack Martin is questionable with a knee injury. Dallas ranks fourth in rushing but fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander last week because the unit has underperformed (again, mostly due to injury). One bye week won’t fix the team’s problems up front.
Granted, the Titans have zero offensive identity. Once he gets more experience under his belt, Matt LaFleur will be an excellent play-caller after serving under Kyle Shanahan (Atlanta) and Sean McVay (Los Angeles) the last three seasons. That said, it’s clear that Mike Mularkey wasn’t the only thing dragging Marcus Mariota down in Nashville. The 25-year-old signal-caller has simply been a disappointment this year.
Still, Mariota did show some improvement two weeks ago in London by leading the Titans on a game-tying fourth-quarter drive. Or, at least it should have been a game-tying offensive drive had rookie head coach Mike Vrabel not gone for two with 30 seconds remaining in the game. The conversion attempt failed, and the Titans lost by one point to the playoff-contending Chargers.
All I need tonight is for the Titans to do what they’ve been doing all season: Play great defense and keep the game close moving into the fourth quarter. Given the Cowboys’ issues on offense, Mariota doesn’t need to win a shootout. If he simply manages the game, I’ll be happy to have the 5.5 points in my back pocket in what should be a tight, low-scoring game. I think the Cowboys are overvalued tonight.
Pick: Titans +5.5
ATS Season Records
- Week 1: 5-0
- Week 2: 3-2
- Week 3: 4-1
- Week 4: 3-1-1
- Week 5: 3-2
- Week 6: 4-1
- Week 7: 2-3
- Week 8: 3-2
- Week 9: 3-1
- Overall: 30-13-1
Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images.