The Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints are the focus of the Week 4 Sunday Night Football betting breakdown as we make our weekly picks for the moneyline, spread and Over/Under at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Betting tips will be provided as either a “pick” or a “lean“. Picks are for plays with a high degree of confidence in the advised outcome and can be made at any time leading up to Sunday Night’s kickoff; however, the odds at the time of publish may often be best. Leans are slightly more volatile plays with factors such as injuries, roster movement or weather likely to have an impact on the outcome. Leans may also be based on expected line movement. Sometimes bettors should wait as long as possible to get the best odds.
I’ll also provide my favorite player or game prop from this week’s matchup. For this, we’ll take a deeper dive into the analytics to try to exploit the numbers at the sportsbooks. Which under-the-radar player could break out with a career game? How or when will the majority of the scoring happen? Which parlay will actually reward bettors?
The Cowboys enter the week 3-0 and atop the NFC East ahead of the 1-2 Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. The 2-1 Saints lead a disappointing NFC South division over the 1-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. Be sure to check-in with TheLines and the Sunday Night Football Preview for a more detailed breakdown of the Cowboys at Saints matchup. There, we look at the odds from various sportsbooks, the betting trends for both teams involved and the biggest matchup advantages for either side.
Cowboys at Saints picks: Moneyline
The Cowboys have developed into an offensive juggernaut in their first year under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. The attack has been led by the Big 3 of QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper and RB Ezekiel Elliott. While Elliott received a six-year, $90 million contract ahead of the season-opener, Prescott and Cooper continue upping their next contracts. They lead the league in completion percentage and receiving touchdowns, respectively. The Saints entered the year with a bona fide Big 3 of their own with QB Drew Brees, WR Michael Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara, but Brees is expected to be sidelined another five weeks following thumb surgery in the wake of a Week 2 injury. Backup Teddy Bridgewater got his first win as a starting QB since Week 17 of the 2015 campaign in his first full game as the replacement under center.
The Dallas defense has looked good to start the year and ranks fourth with 14.7 points allowed per game, but one needs to consider a rather easy season-opening schedule with games against the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins. Only six teams are allowing more than the Saints’ 27.3 points per game, but they’ve had to play the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, all of which rank in the top half of the league in scoring through three weeks.
Dallas stunned New Orleans 13-10 at AT&T Stadium last season. They opened as fairly heavy road favorites this week with their number on the moneyline going up ever since Sunday night’s opening. Go with the visitors as they look to move to 4-0 against the backup-led Saints. Just wait until closer to game time to see if their odds become any less chalky.
The Lean: Cowboys (-140 FanDuel Sportsbook)
Cowboys at Saints picks: Against the spread
The Cowboys are one of four teams to begin the year 3-0 against the spread. They rank second in the league with an average margin of victory of 17.7 points while covering the spread by an average of six points. The Saints are just 1-2 ATS. They’ve lost by an average of 3.3 points per game despite their 2-1 record, due to their 18-point loss against the Rams in Week 2. New Orleans has failed to cover the spread by an average of 3.2 points.
New Orleans was just 4-6 ATS as the home team last season, including the postseason. They won by an average of 7.1 points at home but covered by just 0.2 points. Dallas was 4-5 as the visiting team. It lost by an average of five points when on the road but failed to cover by just 1.1 points on average.
The line opened by spotting the visitors a field goal. It has dropped to 2.5 points as of Wednesday night and pays -110 on either side. It’s a much more rewarding play than the moneyline for the Cowboys to win by just a field goal. I’d hop on this number now as a strong pick, as the odds are likely to drop if any more points are shaved off of the spread.
Cowboys at Saints picks: Over/under
The total has been on the rise since opening. As of Wednesday night, it had been upped by 1.5 points to a projected total of 47 with the public money coming in on a shootout between two of America’s favorite teams. The Saints are 2-1 against the Over/Under this year but are topping the number by just 1.8 points. The Cowboys are also 2-1 but are exceeding the projection by an average of just 1.3 points.
Last year’s 13-10 score is notable. The Saints held Elliott to just 75 yards on 23 carries. His lone touchdown came as a receiver. The Cowboys limited the Saints dynamic duo of Kamara and Mark Ingram to a total of 63 yards on 18 rushing attempts, with Kamara catching eight of 11 targets but for just 36 yards. Prescott was efficient – completing 24 of 28 pass attempts – but totaled just 249 yards through the air with a single score. Cooper caught all eight of his targets but for a modest 76 yards; Thomas caught five of eight looks from Brees for an average of just eight yards per reception.
The two teams’ similarities on offense play to the advantage of the defenses. Look for the primetime television spot and the star power of the matchup to keep drawing in bets on the Over. I’m leaning to the lower number, but we can wait this one out and get a few more points of cushion come Sunday’s kickoff.
The Lean: UNDER 47 (-110 DraftKings Sportsbook)
Sunday Night Football best bet
Double down on both the Cowboys’ spread and our Under bet by selling a few points on either end in order to get a more rewarding payout. Bridgewater wasn’t too impressive last week while completing 19 of 27 passes for just 177 yards, albeit with a pair of scores. He was helped out considerably by Kamara (69 rushing yards, 92 receiving yards, two total touchdowns), but the Cowboys figured out how to stop the two-time Pro Bowler last season. Eliminating him again will leave Bridgewater without his security blanket and the Saints’ lone means by which to control the clock.
The Cowboys will then be happy to run out the clock themselves with Elliott and rookie Tony Pollard once they’ve built their lead in order to help preserve Prescott’s league-best completion rate. Go with Dallas to win handily in a low-scoring affair.