NFL Point Spread Report: Bettors Hitting Jackpot With Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons flexing during game
Image Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Four weeks into the 2021 season, we’re down to one unbeaten team … and that team is the Arizona Cardinals. We’re also down to one unbeaten team at the betting window: the Dallas Cowboys.

That’s right: A franchise that has qualified for the playoffs a whopping seven times since 1948 and played in one Super Bowl, is the only one that still has a shot to end the league’s most obnoxious tradition (the crotchety ’72 Dolphins popping champagne corks). Perhaps more shocking, a franchise that last season sent more people to the poorhouse than Bernie Madoff is now king of the betting mountain — despite employing a head coach who often looks more clueless than a 2-year-old holding a calculus book.

What’s next, you gonna tell us the Jets and Giants both scored outright upsets, in overtime, on the same Sunday? (Come again? Oh, get out of here — seriously?)

Let’s move on to this week’s NFL Point Spread Report, which makes the case for continuing to roll with underdogs (unless those underdogs are catching big points); disregarding point spreads entirely; and trusting the oddsmakers when they tell you to expect an extremely high- or low-scoring game.

All statistics are based on closing numbers per

Trends Last Week Season Overall
Favorites SU 10-6 37-27
Favorites ATS 8-8 26-38
Over/Under 7-9 27-37

How ’Bout Them Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper running with the football
Image Credit: Emilee Chinn-Getty Images

If you thought it was painful watching the Cowboys play football in 2020, imagine doing so knowing you invested money in them. Last year, Dallas coupled its 10-6 straight-up record with a 5-11 ATS mark — dead last among the league’s 32 teams.

We’re still trying to confirm that Jerry Jones did indeed sell his soul to the devil because there’s no other way to explain how his Cowboys are the only team that’s 4-for-4 against the spread. After cashing as a road underdog the first two weeks, Dallas has gotten it done as a home favorite the last two.

Right behind the Cowboys at 3-1 ATS are the Bills and Packers — both have covered in three straight weeks — as well as the Browns, Chargers, Panthers, and Cardinals.

Now, if you happen to be staring at a wallet that contains dust where a wad of cash once existed, here’s the likely reason: 15 teams enter Week 5 with a 2-2 ATS record. Kinda difficult to get into a betting (nay, cashing) rhythm when nearly half the league is spinning its wheels against the number.

That doesn’t mean a few notable NFL betting trends haven’t begun to take shape. One such trend: Don’t automatically be scared off by big numbers, as double-digit favorites are 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS. The latest huge chalk to cash was the Buffalo Bills, who laid the biggest number of the season last week (-18 vs. the Texans) and scored a 40-0, never-in-doubt win.

Also worth noting is the fact that underdogs are still cashing at a near 60% clip (38-26 ATS). Take away the 4-1 ATS record by double-digit favorites and underdogs are hitting at 62.7%.

The Week 5 slate features one double-digit spread (Bucs -10/-10.5 vs. the Dolphins) and another approaching double digits (Patriots -9.5 at Texans).

Just Win, Baby! 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady holds the football as he gets ready to throw
Image Credit: Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports

Those who have been around the betting block a few times undoubtedly are familiar with this old-school handicapping philosophy: If you don’t believe a team can win on the scoreboard, don’t put your money on them. There’s certainly a case to be made for subscribing to that philosophy this season, as straight-up winners are 53-11 ATS (82.8%).

Two teams that have bucked this particular trend are the Buccaneers and Lions. Tampa has failed to cover in two of its three wins (vs. Dallas in Week 1; at New England in Week 4), while the winless Lions have gotten inside the number in two of their defeats.

Then there’s the prime-time angle: Favorites have dominated the Thursday/Sunday/Monday night marquee games on the scoreboard, going 9-3 SU. However, underdogs are 7-5 ATS (it should be noted that the Bucs are responsible for two of those noncovers).

How Low Can You Go? 

Image Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

You didn’t need us to tell you that 88.9% trends don’t tend to hold up over the long haul in the NFL (unless you’re talking about the chances Carson Wentz will injure multiple body parts in a given week). And so it was that the amazing run of prime-time games going Over the total came to a screeching halt last week: All three standalone contests stayed low after eight of the first nine went high.

Still, 8-4 to the Over will pay the rent. So will the fact that the Under is hitting at 63.5% in non-prime-time games (19 Overs, 33 Unders).

Of course, if you’ve simply let the oddsmakers’ posted numbers serve as your guide to betting totals, you probably spent the last few days interviewing butlers. To wit: The highest total of the week is 4-1 to the Over (including one week when two games shared highest total honors). The lowest total is 4-0 to the Under.

This week’s “high/low” matchups: Bills at Chiefs (56.5) and Patriots at Texans (39.5).

Also, the Under is 16-5 in games with a posted total of 45 points or fewer. Besides New England-Houston, this week’s lower-total contests include Eagles at Panthers (45), Saints at Washington (44.5), and Broncos at Steelers (40.5).

More interesting totals tidbits: The Rams are the only team that’s 4-0 to the Over; the Broncos, Chargers, and Patriots are 4-0 to the Under; and the Seahawks have stayed low in all three of their road games.

Finally, the Under is 15-5 in nonconference matchups. To answer your question: We have no idea why. Yet we nonetheless feel compelled to alert you that this week’s nonconference clashes are Jets at Falcons (46), Dolphins at Bucs (48), Packers at Bengals (49.5), and Bears at Raiders (45.5).