The Dallas Cowboys (3-4) are coming off their bye week after suffering a tough divisional loss on the road to the Redskins in Week 7. During the bye week, Dallas traded for wide receiver Amari Cooper, formerly of the Oakland Raiders.
The move to acquire Cooper wasn’t surprising, as the Cowboys currently have one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL. However, the compensation was curious as Dallas moved a first-round pick for a 24-year old that has been widely inconsistent over the past two seasons.
The trade had everything to do with Dak Prescott, who has struggled at times this season. Dallas needs to find out quickly whether or not Prescott is the long-term answer at quarterback and the addition of Cooper should help them come to a conclusion.
Another big story out of Dallas during the bye week was the firing of offensive line coach Paul Alexander. After hiring him in the offseason, Dallas let go of the veteran coach after just seven games due to a drop in play from their offensive line.
The Cowboys promoted Marc Colombo, and the team is expected to go back to more of a zone-heavy blocking scheme.
The Titans (3-4) are sitting in a similar situation as the Cowboys. In Week 7, the Titans lost a close game to the Chargers as they opted to go for the win by trying to convert a two-point conversion, rather than an extra point.
The conversion failed, and the team dropped to 3-4. They are now multiple games behind the leader in the division (Houston) and need to go on a run over the next several weeks if they want to secure a playoff spot.
Much like Dallas, the story of the season for the Titans has been their lackluster offense. They are currently 30th in points and yards per game. The biggest reason for their struggles on offense is due to quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has now thrown for just 17 touchdowns in his last 24 games.
If Tennessee wants to make a playoff push in the second half of the season, they are going to need to find a way to pass the ball more effectively.
Tennessee returns from the bye week a much healthier team. Safety Kenny Vaccaro returned to the practice field after injuring his elbow several weeks ago. Guard Josh Kline, who was forced to leave the game in Week 7 after an ankle injury was back on the practice field this week. He will be listed as questionable for Week 9, but expect him to suit up for Tennessee.
For the Cowboys, they could be without two starters on the defensive line against Tennessee. Defensive end Randy Gregory had a minor procedure done on his knee over the bye week and is unlikely to play in this contest. Defensive tackle David Irving left Thursday’s practice with a high-ankle sprain and will likely miss at least a few weeks.
Tight end Geoff Swaim has an MCL sprain and will be considered questionable, at best, for Monday. Wide receiver Tavon Austin, who injured his groin against Jacksonville, will miss this game as well.
Here are some things for NFL betting fans to consider in this matchup:
The Titans enter Week 9 as 6-point underdogs to the Cowboys, according to 888Sport. While Dallas is undefeated at home, that seems like far too many points to give a 3-4 team such as the Cowboys.
While I agree that Dallas is the better team, it is unlikely that this game turns into a double-digit win for Dallas, considering their offensive struggles. Expect this game to be close late in the fourth quarter.
I’m taking the Cowboys to win but not cover, so take the Titans and the six points on Monday Night Football.
The over/under of 41 at Karamba is the second-lowest total of the week, with the only the Bears and Bills being lower at 37. However, that number makes sense as the Titans and Cowboys both feature lackluster offenses and above average defenses.
If you are going to bet the over/under this week, I like the under ever so slightly. However, given how low that line is, it is probably best to avoid it, if possible. Instead, look to other props, such as the one below, for more value.
If you are searching for a “fun” prop to bet on Monday Night Football, 888sport has a bunch of intriguing options this week. My personal favorite is betting on the second half (-103) to be the highest-scoring half of the game.
The Cowboys have been notorious slow-starters on offense, scoring, on average, just nine points in the first half. Tennessee is somehow worse this season, scoring only 35 total points (5.0 points/game) in the first half this season.
This has all the makings of a 10-6 halftime score with the offensive “explosion” happening in the final quarter of this matchup. Take the second half as the highest-scoring half and enjoy watching this defensive slugfest.
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