“Dak’s All, Folks?” Odds Shift in NFC East Futures

Posted on October 15, 2020

The Dallas Cowboys won their way into first place in the NFC East Sunday, defeating the New York Giants 37-34, improving to 2-3. However, the victory came with a massive cost: the loss of starting QB Dak Prescott to a gruesome ankle injury.

How does Dak Prescott’s injury affect betting odds?

Prescott will miss the remainder of the 2020 season unless it’s delayed into the spring and he completes his rehab (would that surprise anyone?).

In the meantime,  NFL sports betting odds have shifted drastically for the Cowboys to win the division and the Super Bowl.

While Dallas remains favorites to take the NFC East, the odds jumped from previous weeks. The team was offered for around -250 from most of the major books before the injury, which has changed to -125 to even money entering Week 6.

The Eagles’ prices have dropped from over 2-1 to +120 to +130

Matt Cosgriff, BetMGM Sportsbook’s manager, noted the price shift brings the teams closer to preseason odds, where they had priced Dallas as a slight favorite as -110.

“Dak’s injury is horrible but the Cowboys are lucky that they play in NFC East,” he said. “The Eagles, Giants and Washington Football Team are weak. Andy Dalton is a competent backup and not as big a negative as the public might believe.”

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What now for the NFC East?

Dalton earned some credit with a strong final drive to put the Cowboys in position for the game-winning field goal, including excellent throws to Michael Gallup. He finished the game 9 for 11 passing, throwing for 111 yards and losing a fumble. The victory moved his career record to 5-1-1 against the NFC East. 

The loss of Prescott certainly brings doubt into the capabilities of the potent Dallas offense. However, the major questions surrounding the division come on the defensive side.

Mainly, can the Cowboys or Eagles actually get any semblance of competent defense?

  • The top two teams in the division have given up the most points scored by the Rams, Browns, Falcons, Seahawks, Giants, and the Washington Football Team so far in 2020. 
  • While the Cowboys lead the league in total and passing yards on offense, they are dead last in scoring defense, yards allowed, and turnover differential.
  • They’ve received criticism from national pundits for their inability to adapt to a new scheme, tackle, or even show an iota of interest in executing on the field.
  • Chasing former divisional foe Odell Beckham, Jr. on an end-around to keep the game against Cleveland close looked abysmal.

New York and Washington’s dysfunction have kept this a two-horse race. With a franchise QB down, which team has the edge?

On paper, the talent seems to favor Dallas. Their offense has tremendous upside running and passing. The defense has too much skill to play this poorly, right? 

While Prescott’s injury means only one NFC East team has a QB with a playoff victory (Washington Alex’s Smith has two), the Philadelphia Eagles have the experience advantage. Doug Pederson was the only returning head coach entering the season. He’s led the team to the playoffs the last three years, including the Super Bowl run. 

There are big names on the injured list that could help the offense continue to progress and play more like what we’ve seen in the past. His team has overcome devastating injuries, including losing Carson Wentz and continued to win. Going back to Andy Reid’s tenure, the Eagles have played better in the second half of seasons. 

The prices are close now, which might be a good time to make a play. For those hesitant, the next three weeks will be telling. Philadelphia will host Baltimore, while Dallas welcomes Arizona on Monday Night. The Eagles turn around to play the Giants on Thursday night, while the Cowboys head to Washington. 

Week 8 features the two rivals playing on Sunday night at the Linc.

By then, we might actually have a plausible notion of who these teams are. If Philadelphia can get a big name like Alshon Jeffrey or DeSean Jackson back into the lineup, Wentz can really challenge the Dallas secondary.

The Cowboys may shift to running Ezekiel Elliott more to keep pressure off Dalton, which the Eagles will certainly bring with a powerful D-line. 

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