While we don't discuss it often on Inside The Star, sports gambling is a “hobby” of sports fans all over the world. Now, with multiple states legalizing sports gambling after the Federal ban was lifted, you might be looking to lay some money down on the Dallas Cowboys.
Vegas has released the win total projections for the upcoming 2018 season, slotting the Cowboys at 8.5 wins. On OddShark.com, the over on 8.5 wins is at +125 while the under is -145. For those that aren't familiar with gambling terms, this basically indicates that the Cowboys winning less than 8.5 games is the “favorite” outcome.
But what should you bet on?
Well, as we all know, the Cowboys offense underwent severe turnover this offseason. Only Terrance Williams, Noah Brown, and Cole Beasley return from the receiver group with newcomers Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Cedrick Wilson looking to make their mark.
For a passing offense that looked pedestrian, and downright bad, at times in 2017 this turnover could turn out a couple of different ways. It's possible the Cowboys will miss having a “number one” receiver in their gameplan and that the retirement of Jason Witten will hinder them more than most expect.
It's also possible, however, that these new targets will work better into the Cowboys offensive scheme and allow Dak Prescott to excel like he did during his rookie season.
With the addition of Connor Williams the offensive line should be improved, and if Tyron Smith can remain healthy, they can return to the top of the league as a unit. Ezekiel Elliott is back behind them for a full 16 games as well, which should bode well for this run-heavy offense.
While the offense underwent a complete makeover of sorts, the Cowboys are mostly banking on development of the guys already in place on defense. Their young secondary will hopefully take another step forward, and their defensive line has the potential to be a very good pass rush unit if it all comes together.
Dallas drafted Leigthon Vander Esch to improve their linebacker corps, but most of that units' success depends on the health of veteran Sean Lee.
The public is believing that the final 8 games of 2017 are what these Cowboys really look like, and all the new faces on offense aren't helping the perception. I believe the Cowboys have the talent to take a step from 9-7 and get to 10 wins and a playoff birth this season, and at +125 there is some value in betting over 8.5 wins.
You do run the risk, however, of the 8-8 Cowboys showing up once again.
But who knows, maybe you'll be saved by a meaningless 9th win at the end of the season like many were in 2017.