San Francisco 49ers (0-0) at Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
This is another one I’m kicking myself for not betting earlier. The 49ers opened as favorites of less than a field goal here in Dallas, but the public seems to have caught on that the Cowboys are going to be awful this season and the line is now at 4.5. That crosses over the key numbers of 3 and 4 and loses us a lot of value here. The 49ers are still my pick here. They tend to beat up on bad teams and should be able to win by at least a touchdown here in Dallas.
The Cowboys are going to be close to an all-time bad defensively. They were awful last season, allowing opponents to move the chains at a 77.66%, easily worst in the NFL, and they could be even worse this season. The Cowboys had 4 players play more than 100 snaps on defense last season and grade out above average on Pro Football Focus. Two of them (Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware) are gone, while another one (Sean Lee) is out for the season with injury and the 4th (Orlando Scandrick) will start the season with a 4 game suspension.
Guys like Henry Melton, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Anthony Spencer were supposed to come in as reinforcements, but Melton is a question mark in terms of how good he can be coming off of a torn ACL, Lawrence is out with a foot injury, and Spencer is still not back from serious knee surgery that cost him most of last season. Throw in an aging Tony Romo coming off of a bad back offensively and you have a team that is one of the worst in the NFL.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have always been able to beat up on bad teams in the Jim Harbaugh era. They are 23-12 ATS as favorites of 3 or more since 2011, including 9-4 ATS on the road. Last season, against teams that finished .500 or worse, Colin Kaepernick completed 110 of 177 (62.2%) for 1553 yards (8.69 YPA), 11 touchdowns, and no interceptions, while rushing for 281 yards and 4 touchdowns on 45 carries in 8 games. They’ve won all 8 of those games by an average of 20.13 points per game and covered 7 times. I wish I wasn’t giving more than 3 points with a banged up 49er team (no Aldon Smith, no NaVorro Bowman, no Glenn Dorsey, no Anthony Davis), especially a highly public backed one, but the 49ers are the right side.
San Francisco 49ers 34 Dallas Cowboys 24
Pick against spread: San Francisco -4.5