Here's why Vegas only has the Cardinals favored by a point over the Cowboys


Arizona Cardinals v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Arizona Cardinals v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Vegas has the Cardinals favored by one point over the Cowboys. Think about that! One measly point, even after the 2-3 Cowboys lost star quarterback Dak Prescott for the season last week against the Giants.

What does Vegas know that we don't?

They know that Dallas is firmly entrenched as the first place team in the NFC East, and they know their roster is significantly more talented than any team in that division. They know Dallas's backup quarterback isn't as talented as Carson Wentz, but they also know he's no slouch.

Last time Andy Dalton had a competent arsenal around him was 2017, when his offensive line was ranked 19th, his receivers were A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd, and his head coach was Marvin Lewis. That year Dalton threw 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Now, he'll play behind a better offensive line, the best set of receivers he's ever worked with - hell, the best set of receivers in the league - and the best running back he's ever played beside. Oh yeah, and Dalton's still only 31-years old. The first place Cowboys by no means believe their season is over. Neither does their head coach. In fact, Mike McCarthy probably relishes the opportunity to prove that he can elevate a quarterback.

Vegas knows McCarthy was tossed aside by the Green Bay Packers towards the end of the 2018 season, after delivering a Super Bowl and nine winning season to Green Bay. Management sided with Aaron Rodgers, and brought in one of those new fangled young hot shot play-callers. The Packers have faired well without McCarthy, going 13-3 on their way to an NFC Championship game appearnce in head coach Matt LaFluer's rookie season. You don't think McCarthy has a fire under his ass to prove his success wasn't all Aaron Rodgers' fault? Of course he does. What better way for McCarthy to prove his worth than to turn back the clock on Andy Dalton.

I'll bet you Vegas is paying close attention to Dallas's time of possession, too. Dallas is second-worst in the NFL, possessing the ball for just 26 minutes per game. Bookies are too smart to take that as gospel. They know that with Dak Prescott out, the Cowboys will lean on Ezekiel Elliot more, chewing up more clock, and helping their defense stay off the field. That should help remedy a defensive unit giving up a league-worst 36 points per game.

I'll bet you Vegas has also checked out the Cardinals' record on opening drives this season. Check this out:

Week 1: Cardinals vs 49ers

1st half opening possession ended in a punt

2nd half opening possession ended in a missed field goal

Week 2: Cardinals vs Washington

1st half opening possession ended in a touchdown

2nd half opening possession ended in a 3 and out and punt

Week 3: Cardinals vs Lions

1st half opening possession ended in a interception

2nd half opening possession ended in a field goal

Week 4: Cardinals vs Panthers

1st half opening possession ended in a 3 and out and punt

2nd half opening possession ended in a fumble turnover

Week 5: Cardinals vs Jets

1st half opening possession ended in a 3 and out and punt

2nd half opening possession ended in a punt

The Cardinals have amassed just ten points in ten opening possession opportunities. Vegas knows that if that trend continues, the Cowboys are going to be able to play exactly how they want to play: Run the ball with Zeke, hit any of their three stud wide receivers on play-action passes, control the clock.

That's what Vegas knows.