Dallas Cowboys (13-4) at Green Bay Packers (12-4)
This is the first time in NFL history that an 8-0 home team has met an 8-0 road team in the playoffs and both teams are in the location where they’ve had the most success this season, the Packers in Lambeau and the Cowboys, well, anywhere other than AT&T Stadium. This season, the Cowboys were 7-1 ATS on the road, while the Packers were 6-2 ATS at home. Dallas’ lone non-cover came as 3.5 point favorites in New York against the Giants in an eventual 3 point Cowboys win. The Packers also had a close non-cover, winning by 7 points week 2 as 7.5 point favorites over the Jets. Their other non-cover was by a few more points, in a 6 point home win as 12.5 point favorites over the Falcons, but it was a game that the Packers led 31-7 at halftime before letting the Falcons get back into it, though they were never really in danger of losing, unless Atlanta managed to improbably recover a late onside kick.
For both of these two teams, this isn’t just a one year thing. Though this has happened for them to a greater extent this season, there is more of a sample size than just one season for both teams. As long as Aaron Rodgers starts (minus any games he’s been knocked out very early with injuries), the Packers are 27-10-1 ATS at home since 2010 and 34-4 straight up, with an absurd +564 point differential, meaning they outscore opponents, on average, by 14.84 points per game. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are 21-20 at home since 2010, outscoring opponents by an average of 2.24 points per game, as opposed to 22-18 on the road, getting outscored by an average of 0.25 points per game, a mere 2.5 point difference that’s one of the league’s smallest over that time period. As a result, they are 14-27 ATS at home, as opposed to 23-16 ATS on the road, a road ATS record that improves to 16-8 ATS when they are underdogs.
Re-focusing on this past regular season, the Packers moved the chains at an 81.27% rate at home, as opposed to 73.48% for their opponents, a differential of 7.79%, while the Cowboys moved the chains at a 77.73% rate on the road, as opposed to 72.84% for their opponents, a differential of 4.89%. The Packers have been better at home than the Cowboys have been on the road, but this line is at 6 so it gives us some wiggle room with the Cowboys. The Cowboys have two valuable defensive players, Jeremy Mincey and Rolando McClain, questionable with concussions, but Aaron Rodgers is playing at less than 100% for the Packers and could be knocked out of the game at any moment so that cancels out. The sharps seem to agree as this line has dropped from 7 to 6.5 and now down to 6 and even 5.5 in some places, despite the public being on Green Bay. It’s not a game I’d put money on because I hate wagering against Rodgers at home, but the Cowboys look like the right side.
Green Bay Packers 34 Dallas Cowboys 31
Pick against the spread: Dallas +6