Two NFC teams coming off of byes square off in this edition of "Sunday Night Football," as the Dallas Cowboys travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. The main storyline of this matchup is of course star quarterback Dak Prescott, who is questionable to play with a calf injury. He was a limited participant in practice all week, and even if he does start, it will be interesting to see how he looks moving around.
The Vikings have now won two straight games and are eyeing a win to get them over .500. The Cowboys, on the other hand, almost appear to have already wrapped up the NFC East, as they currently hold a 5-1 record while their three rivals are all sitting at 2-5. The Cowboys lead the all-time series with the Vikings 13-12 and have won three out of the past four meetings. Below, we will break down this matchup from a gambling perspective and examine the line movement, Over/Under and player props to consider. First, here's how you can watch Sunday's matchup.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
The line has moved all around. It reopened at Cowboys -2.5 last Tuesday but fell to Cowboys -1.5 on Sunday evening. It rebounded to Cowboys -2.5 on Monday, but fell to Cowboys -1.5 on Wednesday. On Thursday, due to Prescott's practice status, the line moved all the way to Vikings -2.5 -- a full four-point swing. The line moved up to Vikings -3 on Friday.
The pick: Vikings -3. I was pretty high on the Cowboys -1.5 earlier in the week because I believed Prescott wasn't going to have a game designation on Friday's injury report plus it's hard to ignore that the Cowboys are undefeated against the spread this season. However, if Prescott does not play or is noticeably not healthy, then my mind completely changes about this game. Have your Caesars Sportsbook app on hand if the news comes out that Prescott is inactive on Saturday afternoon or early Sunday morning. Naturally I don't have much faith in Cooper Rush compared to Prescott, so I'll take the Vikings -3 at this point. Minnesota isn't a pushover and will have a fun environment to feed off of. With a banged-up quarterback who may not even play, virtually everyone is going to be leaning this way.
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This total has gone up and down. It reopened at 52 last Tuesday and rose all the way to 55 by this Wednesday. It then began to fall and currently sits at 51.5.
The pick: Under 51.5. With Prescott's situation I can't say I'm incredibly excited to bet on the total in this matchup, but my lean is to the Under. The Cowboys have the No. 2 run offense in the league and the Vikings are in the top 10 as well. Whether Prescott starts or not, I would imagine Dallas leans on Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. If Prescott doesn't play, that just helps the Under to hit as well.
Dak Prescott props
Due to Prescott's injury and game designation, his player props are currently off the board.
Kirk Cousins props
Passing touchdowns: 2.5 (Over +165, Under -200)
Passing yards: 285.5 (Over -115, Under -115)
Passing attempts: 35.5 (Over -110, Under -120)
Passing completions: 24.5 (Over -135, Under +105)
Longest passing completion: 38.5 (Over -115, Under -115)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -105, Under -125)
In a weird way, Prescott's availability also affects how we should view Cousins' projections. Him having to face Rush means that there's less likely a chance his offense will be dragged into a shootout. The Under on passing touchdowns is where my lean is but it's too juicy to touch. I'm not too excited about the lines when it comes to attempts and completions, but I'll take the Over on passing yards and hope for a couple big plays downfield.
Tony Pollard rushing yards: Over 38.5 (-115). Elliott is the starting running back but Pollard has recorded double-digit rushes in each of the last five games. He has also rushed for at least 41 yards in each of the past five games. Maybe the Over on rushing yards for both Pollard and Zeke could be plays if Prescott is out.
Adam Thielen receiving yards: Over 62.5 (-115). Maybe Thielen hasn't been a must-start in fantasy this season, but he had an absurd outing last time out against the Carolina Panthers. He caught 11 of 13 targets for 126 yards and one touchdown. In prime time on a big stage, I feel like Cousins will be comfortable going to him. I'll be interested to see who Trevon Diggs spends more time on in coverage, but this number seems just a tad too low.
Greg Joseph made field goals: Over 1.5 (+105). I initially thought about taking the Over on Joseph extra points but he hasn't made more than one over the last three games. That's a pretty wild stat. As for field goals, he's made at least three in three out of the past four weeks with the exception being the 14-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 4. I think this is a smart play.