When it comes to NFL betting it doesn’t get any stranger than this. Thursday night’s matchup sees the 10-0 unbeaten Carolina Panthers play the 3-7 Dallas Cowboys- as underdogs. Let that soak in for a minute. A 10-0 team is an underdog to a 3-7 team. Only in Jerry Jones land.
Dallas Cowboys v.s. Carolina Panthers – Point Spread Breakdown
Ok let’s take a look at the numbers. Many sportsbooks currently have the Cowboys as -1 favorites to win the game. At RealBet the game is listed as a Pick’em, which means a point spread of 0, and RealBet bookmakers are at least leaning in the direction of sanity. To be fair Dallas is playing at home and home field advantage is usually worth about 3 points. So the argument could be made that Carolina is in fact a small favorite. However that is a pretty thin argument.
Still, if we take that line of reasoning then that would mean Carolina is only a -2 favorite in this game. This is a team that is making a case for a perfect season and a potential NFL League MVP candidate in Cam Newton. This is a team with one of the highest ranked defenses in the entire league. This is a team that has one of the better offenses in the league. This is a team with a hot quarterback that believes they can not only win out their season, but also believes that they can go to the Super Bowl. The point spread makes no sense.
Cowboys Have Pros and Cons – Literally
The Cowboys have a few things going for them to give bookmakers their due credit. Tony Romo is back and he is clearly the difference maker in Dallas. Dez Bryant is back. Both Romo and Bryant looked good in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins, and the team is going to carry a lot of momentum from a road win. Heck, the Dallas Cowboys are an unbeaten 3-0 with Romo this year technically speaking. The Cowboys are at home and playing in a Primetime game which they are long accustomed to and excel at. Perhaps the thought is that the national TV spotlight will freeze the Panthers?
But on the flipside are the facts that Romo and Bryant are still recovering from injury. Greg Hardy remains a source of frustration on and off the field and just missed a team meeting and a scrimmage. Dallas will have to find its rhythm again against a Carolina team that has been in rhythm all year long. At the end of the day this game might be closer than their respective records would indicate, but expect the Cowboys -1 to evaporate like stories about strippers and Jerry Jones. In his words, this point spread is clearly a “misrepresentation” of the facts.
NFL Football History – 1985 Chicago Bears 10-0 Underdogs in Dallas
Interestingly enough there is some historical precedent to all of this that involves both Dallas and a man with a perfect porn star nickname- Panthers coach Ron Rivera. It seems that this is not the first time an unbeaten 10-0 team has come to Dallas and found themselves the underdog. The first team that experienced such an insult was the 1985 Chicago Bears for whom Ron Rivera was a linebacker. The Cowboys were a much more respectable 7-3 at the time, but the game ended in humiliation as the Super Bowl bound Bears thrashed them soundly 44 to 0. Da Bears.
Expect the Expected – Unbeaten Carolina Panthers 11-0
Thirty years later things look much the same. Ron Rivera is still a great porn star name. The Cowboys are still overvalued. And 10-0 is still 10-0. “Any Given Sunday” applies here for sure and I am not saying Dallas can’t win this game. But if history is any kind of guide, then expect the Panthers to remain “Purr-fect” after all is said and done Thursday.
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