The Dallas Cowboys are the defending NFC East champions, but a key cog in their offense could be missing when they host the New York Giants in a key divisional matchup to open the season. Running back Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout continues to be the big story in Big D, although the Cowboys also got off to a rough start a year ago at 3-5 straight up and against the spread.
New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys (Matchup Report)
Date/Time: September 8, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV Coverage: FOX
Opening Odds: Dallas -7.5 | O/U 46.5 (Line History)
Opening Odds Analysis
Believe it or not, the Cowboys have only moved down slightly to 7-point home favorites despite Elliott’s continued absence, as bettors hold out hope that he could be on the field. That said, the total has dropped a full point so far as both teams may struggle to score.
New York News & Notes
New York no longer has All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to add to the drama of this rivalry, but maybe that is a good thing. Eli Manning will again start the season for the Giants under center with rookie Daniel Jones waiting in the wings. The two-time Super Bowl champion will again lean on his experience here and will not need to worry about how many times he needs to get Beckham the ball.
Instead, Manning should just feed second-year running back Saquon Barkley as much as possible and lean on his defense to make stops. If Elliott is out, that will only help give New York the advantage of controlling the clock with Barkley. This team went 5-2-1 ATS in the second half of 2018, so something was working.
Dallas News & Notes
Dallas owner Jerry Jones obviously is more worried about how his team finishes this season than how it starts, and with good reason. The Cowboys were able to win the division by going 8-2 SU and 6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a rocky start. Jones seems to be fine getting Elliott back later in the year so his body does not have the same wear and tear it would have if he played a full 16 games.
Regardless, the real pressure is on quarterback Dak Prescott to perform early in the season, especially if he wants to earn a big contract. Prescott will have wide receiver Amari Cooper from the start, something he did not have last year. The addition of Cooper as a legitimate No. 1 receiver for Prescott after he was acquired from the Oakland Raiders was a major reason why the team finished strong in 2018.
It is very hard to trust Manning to generate points against the Dallas defense, and likewise with Prescott vs New York’s D. The Cowboys beat the Giants 20-13 in Week 2 last season, and bettors should expect a similar low-scoring game that finishes UNDER the total.
Doc's Picks Service
Need more winning picks? Get $60 worth of premium member picks from Doc’s Sports – a recognized leader and trusted name in sports handicapping since 1971.