Cowboys (0-0) at Giants (0-0)
Spread: Giants +3.5
Weather: Light rain possible
The spread for this contest opened at Giants +3.5, with some early +3 options available. It then rose to Giants +4 before settling into its current mark of Giants +3.5.
The total for this contest opened at 45.5 points, then quickly rose to 46.5, where it settled in for most of the summer. Over the past few days, it’s fallen back to its original 45.5 points.
Giants Offense vs. Cowboys Defense
The New York Giants added speed and significant talent to their passing attack this offseason. New York traded for dynamic tight end Darren Waller to be the centerpiece of its passing game. Unfortunately, he’s on the injury report, so his status is in doubt for Sunday night. If Waller can’t go, second-year tight end Daniel Bellinger will see role expansion. In that scenario, Bellinger is not a dynamic weapon like Waller, so he won’t be a one-for-one fill-in.
New York brought in several receivers this offseason to join Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins. Slayton is a speedster, while Hodgins is more of a big-bodied possession receiver. Parris Campbell was brought in to fill the slot role vacated by currently injured receiver Wan’Dale Robinson.
Rookie speedster Jalin Hyatt looked like a difference maker throughout August to the point he could force himself into a meaningful role early. Dallas allowed the ninth-most receiving yards to wide receivers last year, but the Giants could deploy more of a rotation at wide receiver than most teams.
A wrinkle for the Giants’ improved passing game is that the Cowboys’ pass rush has a trench advantage in this contest.
Dallas was a more effective pass defense than it was against the run, as it gave up the 10th-most rushing yards to running backs. Enter Saquon Barkley, who had 81 and 39 rushing yards against Dallas last season. The 39-yard showing came on a Thanksgiving Thursday game where Barkley lacked his typical explosiveness.
Cowboys Offense vs. Giants Defense
The Dallas Cowboys are a complete offense that can beat you on the ground or through the air. Their offensive line versus the Giants front four is a strength vs. strength matchup. However, the Giants allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to running backs last season. Tony Pollard is the standalone lead runner in the Cowboys backfield. Pollard has a greater-than-normal upside in this matchup.
The Cowboys’ passing attack added speedster Brandin Cooks to their already strong roster. Cooks and Michael Gallup are complimentary pieces to headliner CeeDee Lamb. In his two matchups against the Giants last season, Lamb saw double-digit targets in both contests. He would have exceeded 100 yards receiving in both matchups if not for a dropped deep crosser in Week 3 from Cooper Rush.
What You’re Betting On
The Giants are suddenly well coached and well run, which is the primary reason to bet on them in any matchup. Against Dallas, New York plays at a clear talent deficit in a number of position groups. If you are betting on the Giants in this spot, you need their coaching staff to close the gap on some of those deficits.
You also need Daniel Jones to provide some more reality-based offense against a real defense. Jones vastly improved last season, but he struggled against Dallas in both matchups. In many ways, it’s time for him to step up against the Cowboys on a big stage.
If you’re betting on Dallas, you’re betting on a team with a superior roster that has gone 11-1 against New York since 2017. The Cowboys’ pass rush could derail this game. Pollard could have a big night on the ground. Dak Prescott could play well against New York’s blitz-heavy defense.
The Cowboys have a number of paths to creating margin against the Giants. But this is a road game, in primetime, on opening night. There’s a strong chance the Cowboys get the best their division rival has to offer.
Score Prediction: Cowboys 21, Giants 20
Ryan’s Recent Betting Record
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 48-32
Props 2022: 60-40
Ryan Reynolds is the associate director of fantasy and betting at The 33rd Team. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2014. Ryan has been covering NFL betting markets for five years. Follow Ryan @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.