The first thing to know about the Monday Night Football match-up between the Cardinals and the visiting Dallas Cowboys is that Arizona does not enjoy a true “home” game in the rivalry. Any “Dallas on the road” or “Arizona at home” tendencies should not amount to a lean in either direction, because Cowboy fans have been taking road trips to Phoenix in droves since the Big Red moved there in the 1980s.
The second thing to know is that bettors are leaning toward the home team, which can only be based on pure speculation. The Cardinals played their 2nd lousy game in a row last Sunday, saved only by an overtime interception thrown by Indianapolis backup QB Jacoby Brissett.
But the ‘Boys are having problems of their own, which is perhaps what is provoking wagers going in the other direction. After a simple-enough opening day win over the Giants, Jason Garrett’s team was unexpectedly obliterated in Denver, taking a 42-17 walloping at Sports Authority Field.
The Cards don’t have the pass rush or the roaring home crowd of the Broncos, but will try to follow suit anyway.
Who: Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals
When: Monday, September 25th, 8:30 PM EST
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Lines: Dallas (-3) at Arizona (+3) / O/U Total: (47)
There is great dismay in Big D over the Week 2 performance of Ezekiel Elliott, who could potentially rival ex-Oklahoma tailback “Marvelous” Marcus Dupree for the worst season ever to follow a great one.
Elliott gained 8 yards on 9 carries against the Broncos. And no, he didn’t lose 20 yards on a play. It was simply a dismal performance, not only by the offensive line, but by the celebrated RB – who showed a lack of vision and made simple mistakes such as not hitting the hole, and not falling forward.
There were other problems. DE DeMarcus Lawrence sacked Trevor Siemian twice and had 3 QB hurries, but the rest of the Cowboy defense produced no pocket pressure and very little resistance against the run. C.J. Anderson, not the most talented runner of all time, gained 128 yards, and Siemian threw 4 TD passes against a woeful Dallas ‘D.
The Cardinals didn’t look much better against the Colts in Week 2, but they did turn up with an OT win – and were slightly better in a Week 1 loss to Detroit. The Cards are missing David Johnson, their 2nd-year star in the offensive backfield, and Carson Palmer looks about 50 years old and dressed in lead boots.
With little good news for either team, where is the betting value?
The under could seem like a promising bet, with both teams struggling to score points. But a 27-20 final score is a push, and anything beyond that would lose the wager. Cardinals HC Bruce Arians is known to gamble, and Palmer can still throw accurate 60-yard bombs to receivers like J.J. Nelson.
We’re liking the Cowboys to cover. One bad game by the ‘Boys tends to elicit over-reaction from the local and national press. Every good team has a poor outing on the road once in a while, and while the Silver Star might not be close to championship form until at least November, last week’s debacle was not season-defining.
Against the Giants in Week 1, Elliott rushed for 104 yards, Dak Prescott passed for 250+, and Jason Witten set a franchise record for receiving yardage. The Cowboys should be able to regain some of that mojo against a struggling team on a “neutral” field this Monday…and win cash for bettors taking them to win by 4 or more.