Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:00 PM
DP - Cowboys at Rams
Editor's Note: Antony Dinero is on a 32-24-2 (57.1%, +582) run since Dec. 13. He went 51-23 (68.9%, +2502) in October and hit 22 of 32 totals (68.8%, +1115). Dinero is 200-174-10 (53.5% , +421) for the entire 2018 regular season. Don't miss out on NFL Winners from Antony Dinero on VegasInsider.com this postsesaon. Click to win!
Dallas at L.A. Rams (-7, 49), 8:15 pm ET, FOX
The Cowboys are counting on leaving L.A. with plans for next weekend that don’t include the beach or tiny umbrellas. Despite taking the road for this divisional playoff, they’re counting on fan support as America’s team, cashing in chips from the fact they’ve trained throughout Southern California for nearly four decades, most recently doing so in Oxnard back in July and August.
Although the Rams lost only once at home this season, they’re aware that they’ll have to deal with more hostility than they’ve typically had to since relocating to the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Consider the atmosphere only one reason Dallas thinks it can extend its season through an upset. The biggest edge the Cowboys is that quarterback Dak Prescott comes off his first playoff win while former No. 1 pick Jared Goff comes into Saturday night 0-1 in the postseason for the Rams.
After finishing 11-5 and winning the NFC West last season, the Rams had to play on Wild Card weekend, hosting the Falcons. Crucial special teams errors forced them into a 13-0 hole they never quite dug out of, crawling to within a field goal by the break before generating only three second-half points. Goff finished 24-for-45 for 259 yards in a letdown and will try to bounce back against a talented defense that has played well down the stretch to help the Cowboys win eight of nine.
Dallas survived a Russell Wilson comeback bid at home last week, pulling away in the fourth quarter thanks to Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott extending and ultimately finishing off drives to help rally past Seattle. A late touchdown and two-point conversion allowed the Seahawks to cover a 2.5-point spread, but the Cowboys are still 6-2-1 over their last nine contests and are filled with confidence following their first playoff win since 2014.
Prescott excelled in just his second playoff game, throwing for a score and running for the game-clincher. He threw three touchdown passes in a strong performance against Green Bay back in 2016, so he’s proven he can come up big when it matters most. Prescott finished off five game-winning drives this season, third behind just Drew Brees and Deshaun Watson, and he led the Cowboys to a game-tying drive against the Packers in his only playoff game as a rookie. Last week, he led a pair of lengthy drives in the fourth, extending one with a memorable 16-yard run when the outcome was truly in doubt and it was looking like Dallas would have to punt Seattle the ball back.
Prescott will look to take advantage of a secondary paced by veteran corners Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, who have been susceptible to giving up big plays. L.A. ranked 14th against the pass this season while finishing 23rd against the run, so look for feeding Elliott to drive the Cowboys early as they look to set the tone and keep Aaron Donald and the Rams’ tremendous defensive line on their heels.
The Cowboys have had injury-related issues along the offensive line and lost backup receiver Allen Hurns to a scary-looking injury last week, so read below for details.
Todd Gurley returns after sitting out the final two gams of the regular season with a knee injury, so expect to hear a lot about the running back matchup with Elliott. Gurley averaged 130.8 yards from scrimmage, which trailed only Elliott in the entire NFL.
Gurley got a pair of solid practices in on Thursday and Friday and was reportedly back near full strength. Veteran C.J. Anderson ran for 299 yards in the two games Gurley missed, so L.A. will be well-equipped to try and make a dent against a Dallas run defense that finished fifth in the NFL in yards allowed.
Gurley accounted for 215 yards on 28 touches in last season’s meeting, a 35-30 road win in Dallas on Oct. 1, 2017 where he scored a key late touchdown. Kicker Greg Zuerlein booted seven field goals, helping the Rams rally from a halftime deficit. Prescott threw for three scores and Elliott found the end zone on a run, so both are confident they’ll be able to move it consistently.
L.A. finished as the NFC’s highest-scoring team, trailing only Kansas City in averaging 32.9 points per game. They’ve overcome a season-ending injury to receiver Cooper Kupp and Gurley’s absence and managed to scored 29 or more points in all but three games. Goff went just 4-3 against NFL playoff teams, finishing with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He did hook up consistently with Robert Woods last season and should be able to rely on that connection as a security blanket in this one.
Prescott can continue to rely on Amari Cooper, whose acquisition from Oakland really helped add some bite to the Dallas offense. He had a combined five touchdowns in two of the Cowboys’ biggest wins down the stretch and caught seven passes on nine targets last week, finishing with 106 yards.
There’s definitely enough firepower to potentially turn this game into a shootout, but each team has a very productive pass rush that could throw both offenses off schedule. Keep that in mind when betting the total and check out the information on this over/under below.
The Rams and Cowboys are squaring off in the playoffs for the ninth time, making it the most frequent playoff matchup in NFL history despite the fact they’re playing for the first time since 1985. Read on for a recap of their most recent matchups.
Dallas is seeking its first divisional playoff win since 1980 and its first road playoff win since the 1992 NFC Championship. The Rams are looking for their first postseason win since advancing out of the 2004 Wild Card round and looking for their first playoff win as an L.A. team since reaching the NFC Championship with a pair of road wins back in 1989. Their last playoff win in Southern California came in Anaheim back in ’85 against Dallas by a 20-0 count. The Rams were then shut out by the Bears in the NFC title game, falling victim as the “Super Bowl Shuffle” dream came to fruition.
More history should be made tonight at a Los Angeles Coliseum that may be split down the middle in terms of allegiance.
Season win total: 8.5 (Over -120, Under +100)
Preseason Odds to win NFC East: 7/2
Odds to win NFC (Preseason/Current): 15/1 to 12/1 to 7/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (Preseason/Current): 30/1 to 25/1 to 14/1
Los Angeles Rams
Season win total: 10 (Over -130, Under +110)
Preseason Odds to win NFC West: 1/2
Odds to win NFC (Preseason/Current): 5/1 to 2/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (Preseason/Current): 10/1 to 9/2
FUTURES OUTCOMES/LINE MOVEMENT
These divisional champs had much different payouts for that accomplishments since the Rams (1-to-2) were favored and held serve while Dallas cashed at +350 over the favored defending champion Eagles (5-to-7). The Cowboys came in at 25-to-1 to win the Super Bowl and 12-to-1 to win the NFC before winning last week and have seen those odds improve.
Playoff props at Westgate paid out +160 on the Cowboys reaching the postseason, while the Rams were -300. Fading Dallas' chances of playing into January cost you -190, while L.A. 'no' bets that would've paid +240 never really had a chance.
As far as this matchup is concerned, the Rams opened at -7 and have been their all week. L.A. opened at -320 on the money line and has fluctuated some throughout the week but is now back in that ballpark at most shops. If you like the home 'dog outright, a payout on a Cowboys win will get you +250.
Dallas has ruled out David Irving and list guard Xavier Su'a Filo as doubtful, but came out of the Seahawks game relatively healthy outside of losing Hurns to a broken ankle. DT Maliek Collins (ankle) is listed as questionable, while tight end Blake Jarwin and Cole Beasley will both play despite missing practices this week due to the sprains. Up front, tackle Tyron Smith (neck) and guard Zack Martin (knee) are good to go.
Gurley’s return is the big story for the Rams, who also got great news with DB Lamarcus Joyner cleared to play after an ankle issue. Defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks, who speed and burst help lend depth up front, is likely to play through a thigh injury, while safety Blake Countess is also set to participate.
Saturday’s afternoon's total opened at 49 or 49.5 depending on the book. It got to 50 at Westgate for a few hours on Friday morning but is now in the 48.5/49 range. There have been showers in L.A. over the past 24 hours, but clear conditions are expected. Temperatures at the Coliseum are expected to be in the mid-50's with light winds in the mix. The 'over' has prevailed in the last two Cowboys games to get to 8-9 in their games this season. The 'under' was 8-8 in Rams' games.
Weekly “Total Talk” writer Chris David of VegasInsider.com provided his thoughts on this matchup and both Saturday contests here:
RECENT MEETINGS (Dallas 4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS last seven; UNDER 4-3)
10/1/17 Los Angeles 35-30 at Dallas (LAR +5, 51)
9/21/14 Dallas 34-31 at St. Louis (DAL -1.5, 44)
9/22/13 Dallas 31-7 vs. St. Louis (DAL -3.5, 47.5)
10/23/11 Dallas 34-7 vs. St. Louis (DAL -14, 43)
10/19/08 St. Louis 34-14 vs. Dallas (STL +8, 45)
9/30/07 Dallas 35-7 vs. St. Louis (DAL -13, 47)
1/1/06 St. Louis 20-10 at Dallas (STL +12.5, 43)
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