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Matchups Week 2: Bengals vs. Cowboys

Bengals vs. Cowboys
Sep 11, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws under presser during the fourth quarter of a Week 1 NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) vs. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)

Spread: Cowboys +7.

Game Total: 44.5.

Team Totals: Cowboys (18.75), Bengals (25.75)

Weather: Indoors

The Line Report

  •         This line opened as Cowboys +7.
  •         This line has recently dipped down to Cowboys +6.5.
  •         DraftKings Pick’Em has the Cowboys +7.5.
  •         Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has Cowboys +7.
  •         This total opened at 44.5.
  •         This total moved all the way down to 42.5-points as of Thursday. 

Notable Injuries

Cowboys: QB Dak Prescott (Out), WR Michael Gallup (Doubtful), LG Conner McGovern (Questionable), S Jayron Kearse (Questionable).

Bengals: WR Tee Higgins (Questionable).

The Cowboys Offense vs. the Bengals Defense

I agree with Chris Long that Dallas isn’t a contender, regardless of who is at quarterback. That said, the loss of Dak Prescott transforms the Cowboys offense. There’s no question about it. Former NFL quarterbacks Rich Gannon and Matt Cassel provide insights on Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush. From a sports betting standpoint, the Cowboys season rides on their offensive coaching staff’s ability to put Rush in positions to succeed. On opening night, I was baffled by the Cowboys offensive game plan and astonished at the lack of self-awareness. I expect a better showing against Cincinnati on the strategic front, but for betting purposes, we’re forced to label this group as inconsistent strategically until proven otherwise.

The Cowboys offensive line was a true liability on opening day against the Buccaneers. The Bengals have a solid but not quite great pass rush that is more manageable from a macro sense than Tampa’s. We should treat this matchup as if the Bengals front has a slight edge in the passing game and a moderate edge in the run game against Dallas.

Notes and Observations

  • The Cowboys are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Cowboys are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Cooper Rush was aggressive when he took over for Dak Prescott, finishing with the second highest air yards per attempt in Week 1 (mind you, on fewer snaps than the opening day starters while playing in a negative game script.)
  • The Bengals allowed the fewest rushing yards and the fewest receiving yards to opposing running backs on opening day.
  • Cincinnati yielded the fewest receiving yards on the 11th fewest receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • The Bengals allowed the second most receiving yards on the third most receptions to tight ends last week. 

The Bengals Offense vs. the Cowboys Defense

On opening day, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ front ransacked the Bengals revamped offensive line. Pittsburgh’s defense was exceptional in that contest, but their ability to generate consistent pressure was the difference. Dallas does not have a premium front four like the Steelers do, but they do have matchup problems in Demarcus Lawrence and especially Micah Parsons. Given the disappointing showing from the Bengals’ new line on opening day, the Cowboys’ defense has a trench advantage in the passing game. 

Notes and Observations

  • The Bengals are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Bengals are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Joe Burrow was 30th in play-action pass percentage on opening day.
  • Among opening day starters, Burrow was 20th in air yards per attempt.
  • The Steelers dominant pass rush limited what the Bengals could do offensively on opening day.
  • The Cowboys gave up the fifth most rushing yards and the fifth-fewest receiving yards to opposing running backs last week.
  • Dallas allowed the ninth most receiving yards on the 13th most receptions to wide receivers on opening day.
  • Dallas yielded the fourth most PPR points to perimeter wide receivers in Week 1.
  • Per TruMedia Network, Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase saw 75.5% of his opening day snaps on the perimeter.
  • Dallas allowed the fourth-fewest receiving yards on the fourth fewest receptions to opposing tight ends in Week 1.

This is What You’re Betting On in Cowboys vs. Bengals

A bet on the Cowboys is a bet on the Dallas defense playing well enough that Cooper Rush’s offense can keep it close. The blueprint is similar to Dallas’s win in Minnesota on Sunday Night Football last season. It’s also a bet on the Cowboys’ offensive coaching staff having an exponentially better showing in Week 2 than they had on opening day. You’re also betting directly against Joe Burrow in this matchup. The biggest downside to a contrarian bet on the Cowboys here is that if the Bengals are up 10-0 at the end of the first quarter, you’re in a lot of trouble.

A bet on the Bengals always starts as a bet on Joe Burrow and his dynamic skill group. The Bengals offensive line was a liability last week in Pittsburgh. But as our Chris Farley said, the Bengals offense was significantly better in the second half of last week’s game vs. Pittsburgh than in the beginning. Cincinnati’s front four has an opportunity to make an impact against a Dallas line that currently has three new starters from last year. A downside to consider when betting on Cincinnati is the Bengals went to overtime against a Steelers defense that physically dominated that contest. If Tee Higgins misses this contest, that reduces Cincinnati’s passing attack’s ceiling.

Bengals vs. Cowboys Pool Picks

Winner/ Confidence Pool: Cincinnati will be an extremely popular selection in most winner pools. This is the type of game where I want to take the home dog as a differentiator in large winner pools with weekly payouts. However, to this point, I can’t quite get there on Dallas. The Week 2 slate has a handful of significant home favorites, so I’ll have the Bengals in the middle of my confidence pool rankings.

Spread Pool: I will consider taking Dallas at +7.5 in one of my DraftKings Pick’Em pool entries as I’ll be getting them at a value.

Survivor: I’m not taking the Bengals in survivor on the road in Dallas.