NFL Betting Analysis and Predictions: San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers developed a rivalry from their postseason clashes that go back to the 1980s and will meet in the playoffs for the first time since the 1994 NFC Championship. Sunday will also mark the first time the two franchises have met in the Wild Card round.
Dallas is currently a 3-point favorite over the 49ers at DraftKings Sportsbookand –150 on the moneyline. The 49ers are +130 moneyline underdogs, while the total is at 50.5.
Here's a breakdown of the NFC Wild Card showdown.
San Francisco has Offensive Advantages
The 49ers are coming off a momentum-building win over the Los Angeles Rams. San Francisco trailed 17-0 before rallying for a 27-24 victory in Week 18. The 49ers have been one of the better teams to close the regular season, winning four of five games, including a win over the playoff-bound Cincinnati Bengals.
San Francisco has the potential to take advantage of two flaws in the Cowboys' defense: yards after the catch and the ground game.
Dallas’ pass defense ranks 20th in the league and the team’s cornerbacks have surrendered 1,051 yards after the catch. Treveon Diggs (425), Jourdan Lewis (326) and Anthony Brown (300) rank third, seventh and 13th in most yards allowed after the catch.
San Francisco wide receiver Deebo Samul led the league in receiving yards after contact with 387 and the team also has the explosive Georgie Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.
The Cowboys have also allowed 11 of their last 12 opponents to gain at least 100 yards on the ground. For the season, Dallas ranked 16th in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game (112), while San Francisco has the league’s seventh-best rush offense, which averaged 127.4 yards per game.
Dallas’ Leading Offense
Dallas finished with the third-most passing yards (4,963) and the third-best quarterback rating (104.8). Much of that can be credited to Dak Prescott, who played 17 of 18 games after suffering a season-ending dislocated ankle injury last year. Cooper Rush made the other start at quarterback for Dallas.
The Cowboys also led the league in scoring (31.2 points per game) and yards per game (407).
For Dallas to have similar offensive success on Sunday, it will need to protect Prescott. The 49ers sacked Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford five times during the win and recorded the fifth-most sacks this season (48).
Dallas will also be facing a stout 49ers defense that allows the fifth-fewest yards per carry (4).
San Francisco at Dallas, The Pick
San Francisco can exploit Dallas’ deficiencies in the running game and the pass once the 49ers get out in the open field. Right now, the line is –3 Dallas and I would prefer to wait and see if public money comes in on the Cowboys and allow me to get a +3.5 on San Francisco in a game I feel it could win outright.
The pick: San Francisco +3.5.
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