The Dallas Cowboys are opening their 2020 season on the road against the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday night. Despite a massive coaching overhaul and having to travel, the Cowboys are road favorites in their Week 1 game. Given everything we know about both teams and their recent history, should Dallas be favored?
Sports Betting Dime's current NFL odds show Dallas as 2.5-point favorites in their 2020 debut. This shows tremendous faith in a Cowboys team which has a new head coach, defensive coordinator, and nearly all new assistant coaches as well.
To be fair, the Rams have new coordinators on offense and defense as well. But Sean McVay is back as head coach and remains one of the true wunderkinds of his profession, despite the Rams' slump in 2019.
Part of that slump included a 44-21 thrashing on the road from the Cowboys, which may be part of why Dallas is favored this week. But despite that one game, Los Angeles still finished the year 9-7 compared to the 8-8 record for the Cowboys.
What's more, that is Dallas only win against the Rams since McVay took over as head coach in 2017. The Cowboys are 1-2 against them over the last three seasons, which included a fairly one-sided thumping in their 2018 playoff game.
True, the past doesn't impact this week's game. But it does tell us that McVay's Rams have had success against the Cowboys more often than not.
Perhaps the swing factor from last season and hopefully carrying over into 2020 is the development of Dak Prescott as one of the league's top quarterbacks. He's eclipsed Jared Goff by every reasonable measure; which remains so impressive considering Goff was the first-overall pick in their draft.
That said, the Rams still boast a strong offensive line and some of the league's elite defensive players like DT Aaron Donald and CB Jalen Ramsey. If Sean McVay has found ways to get the offense back on track, Los Angeles will definitely be a tough first opponent.
The point spread isn't big, but any time a team gets favored on the road it's a strong statement. Hopefully the Cowboys validate that faith and start their season with a win.