While sparkplug rookie QB Dak Prescott wasn’t around at the time, the Dallas Cowboys have had their difficulties against the Minnesota Vikings over the years.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
The NFC-leading Cowboys are listed as four-point favorites on the road against the reeling Vikings with a 44-point total in the Thursday Night Football matchup. On the moneyline, Dallas pays -180 for a straight-up win and Minnesota is a home underdog at +160.
The Cowboys are 2-7 straight-up and 1-8 against the spread in their last nine games against the Vikings, whose coach, Mike Zimmer, might have some motivation to dial up a defensive game plan against one of his former teams.
Dallas is 10-1 SU and 9-1-1 ATS; the latter total hints that oddsmakers are expecting that the Cowboys, also 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS over their last six outings, are overdue to turn in a clunker. While this matchup pits a rookie QB against a No. 3-ranked Vikings defense, Dallas’ strong offensive line led by LT Tryon Smith and RG Zack Martin should be up to the challenge of containing Minnesota’s pass rush (28 sacks, seventh in the NFL).
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett will have to be patient with having Prescott, WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten challenge the reliable Vikings secondary. Minnesota isn’t playing the run as well as it did at the start of the season, and that’s where rookie Ezekiel Elliott could capitalize.
Minnesota, 6-5 SU and 6-5 ATS, started quickly this season before injuries to offensive linemen and to QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Adrian Peterson caught up to them. Quarterback Sam Bradford has struggled against pressure and with throwing downfield to WR Stefon Diggs. One deficiency in Dallas’ defense that the Vikings should be expected to exploit is a weakness covering tight ends, since Kyle Rudolph is among the NFL’s best at the “Y” position.
The Vikings have been pitiful in the rushing phase, struggling to open holes for role players Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata. While Minnesota’s outlook seems gloomy, one should not forget that they are 13-7 SU and ATS in their last 20 games as an underdog of four or fewer points.
The normal issues teams have with the short preparation window for a Thursday game should be lessened since both played last Thursday. Interestingly, Dallas is 1-6 ATS in their last seven Thursday games.
The total has gone under in eight of the Cowboys’ last 10 games on the road. The total has gone under in seven of the Vikings’ last 10 games. The total has also gone under in six of the Cowboys’ last eight games against the Vikings