Dallas Cowboys (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
Week 4 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: DAL -3/SF +3
Over/Under Total: 46
The Dallas Cowboys make the trip to Levi's Stadium to take on the San Francisco 49ers in week four NFC action. The Niners started the season strongly, but have dropped their last two, including a 37-18 loss to Seattle on Sunday. Dallas dropped their season opener in a one-point loss and have since won two straight to lend some promise to the team as they await the return of Tony Romo. On Sunday, the Cowboys beat the Bears, 31-17.
We should proceed cautiously with San Francisco. They're trying to get their legs underneath them and week one was promising, but asking them to thrive in a back-to-back road sequence with Carolina and Seattle was asking a bit too much. At home and against a team where maybe they can compete, they should be more in their wheelhouse this Sunday. The scores look bad from those games. They were actually marginally competitive in the Carolina loss, despite the final score. Against Seattle, however, the 37-18 score doesn't do justice to the beating the Niners suffered.
Granted, beating Seattle at home is a tall task for any team, but to see San Fran fall behind 37-3 before scoring some garbage points was disconcerting. Seattle had scored 15 points combined in their first two games and against the Niners, they were able to thrive and look like a prime Seattle offense. The Frisco "D" gave up a huge game to Doug Baldwin, as Jimmy Graham also went over 100 in receiving yards. Christine Michael was over 100 on the ground. And after Wilson got hurt, even rookie Trevone Boykin was able to throw for a score. There are still some players on the Frisco defense, like NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, and others, but they often bear little resemblance to the unit of a few or several years ago.
The 49ers can try to be scrappy and in certain games, they will be plucky, especially at home. But at QB, the chances that Blaine Gabbert will be solution appear to be long indeed. Chip Kelly can try to work it however he wants, but this offense is stripped of playmaking ability for the most part. Carlos Hyde had big stats on Sunday, but most of that was accrued after the game had been settled. He's under 4 yards a carry this season, Their leading receiver is Jeremy Kerley, who'd be a decent third choice on most teams. Gabbert has connected well with TE Vance McDonald, who may return for this game. With a defense that looks like it will struggle, this offense might not be able to provide much relief. Still, we're forced to think back to that week one 28-0 drubbing of LA, who went on to win two games in a row. After two rough road spots, they are back home.
Dallas has some optimism with Romo out, not something they've been able to say over the years without the star of the team. With youth playing such a big role, the results haven't been bad, with a one-point loss in week one, followed by wins over Washington and Chicago. Rookie QB Dak Prescott was again solid, going 19-for-24 for 248 yards and a TD. Through three games, he has not thrown a pick and in his last two games, he is a combined 41-for-54 passing. He has scored two touchdowns on the ground, including one in their Sunday night win over the Bears. Rookie back Ezekiel Elliott has gotten better with each game, running for 140 yards in a workhorse performance on Sunday. RB Alfred Morris has scored a TD in the last two games. Against Chicago, Prescott spread it around to Terrance Williams, Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, and Jason Witten. A knee issue has Bryant listed as probable, though it held him back in week three.
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The Dallas defense has put the offense in position to win in each of their first three games. They've given up 20, 23, and 17 points this season and that kind of consistency would be great if they could continue it. The defense took some knocks in the preseason with multiple suspensions and other issues. Getting corner Orlando Scandrick back will help. And the scheduling has also helped a bit. They took advantage of an off-key Redskins offense in week 2, followed by facing a dysfunctional Chicago team, and now a dicey SF offense. The points might not come so easy this week and the defense can ill afford to pick this as a time to start slipping up. Considering the personnel issues, they haven't done too badly.
San Francisco head coach Chip Kelly played Dallas six times during his tenure with the Eagles, going 3-3. This is Prescott's 2nd road game and might be a little tougher of an environment than what he faced at FedEx Field against the Redskins. He was making a nice connection with Dez Bryant, but Dallas' main aerial target can't seem to avoid the injury bug, though he is listed as probable. And while Ezekiel Elliott was able to flourish against the discombobulated Chicago defense, it might be tougher this week. I see this as being a tougher road spot for Prescott and Company for some reason and I see a close game, where taking the points doesn't seem like a bad option.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the San Francisco 49ers plus 3 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Cowboys vs. 49ers game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!