After 17 long weeks the 2018 regular season has come to a close. Luckily, the Cowboys survived the regular season gauntlet, and find themselves in the position to host a playoff game this Saturday night.
They’ll have a rematch with the Seattle Seahawks, who straight up bullied them back in September when they first saw each other. A lot has changed since that first match-up, however, with both teams catching fire during the second half of the season.
Let’s get into the betting line and see where the smart bet might lie for this Wildcard showdown.
Cowboys -1.5, O/U 43.5 Points.
After starting a disappointing 3-5, the Dallas Cowboys turned their season around to finish 10-6 and win the NFC East. It’s been a long and tumultuous season, but all will be forgiven if the Cowboys can finish off a run to NFC and NFL dominance during this postseason.
They start this run on Saturday night, when the Seattle Seahawks come to town for Wildcard Weekend. Both Dallas and Seattle are coming off of “meaningless” week 17 wins, but division wins which feel important to their respective psyches nonetheless.
During that regular season finale Dallas seemed to find a rhythm in their passing game, with Dak Prescott throwing for over 380 yards and 4 touchdowns, including the game winner on 4th and 15. Whether or not Prescott can repeat such a performance against a better secondary in Seattle is yet to be seen, but this offense clearly has much more confidence and ability than they did back in week 3.
Defensively Dallas has played much better since that loss as well. Inserting Leighton Vander Esch into the starting lineup has paid dividends for a defense which finished the regular season ranked top 10 in DVOA.
Before the start of the 2018 season, many expected the Seattle Seahawks to be among the NFC’s worst. The Legion of Boom had mostly disbanded, the feared running game was gone, and the offensive line was thought to be as bad as ever.
17 weeks later its clear that these doubters were dead wrong, as Seattle finished 10-6 and clinched another playoff birth. Quarterback Russell Wilson had another elite level season, cementing himself as one of the top quarterbacks in football. Led by Wilson and running back Chris Carson, Seattle has run the ball as effectively as ever, and the defense many expected to take a step back actually ranks 14th in DVOA.
This is a well rounded football team that wants to play similar to the Cowboys, but can do so with an elite veteran quarterback.
- Seattle is 4-2 against the spread their last 6 games.
- The score total has gone over 7 of Seattle’s last 8 games.
- Seattle is 4-2 against the spread their last 6 games against Dallas.
- The Cowboys are 6-1-1 against the spread their last 8 games.
- The score total has gone over 5 of Dallas’ last 7 home games.
If this game was being played in Seattle, I’d have a hard time convincing myself the Cowboys could overcome that home field advantage. But with the game in Dallas, and with the way the Cowboys have played over the last 2 months, I expect the Cowboys to win the game outright and cover the 1.5 point spread.
The Cowboys are a good football team who hasn’t been given much playoff respect due to their slow start, but I think they get a playoff win this Saturday.