Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) at Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
The Cowboys have gone 3-1 to start the season, but have played a pretty easy schedule so far. They’ve beaten up on the Bears and 49ers in the past two weeks, two of the worst teams in the league, and their toughest games came against divisional rivals Washington and New York, neither of whom have a great team this year. There’s a very good argument to be made that the Bengals are the toughest team the Cowboys have faced this year. The Cowboys are at home, but the Cowboys have fans all over the country, so they really haven’t had much homefield in advantage in recent years, going 16-34 ATS at home since 2010, as opposed to 29-21 ATS on the road. Over that time period, they’ve outscored opponents by 0.61 points per game at home and been outscored by 0.72 points per game on the road, meaning their homefield advantage hasn’t even been worth a point over that time period.
The Cowboys are 7-5 ATS as home underdogs over that time period, but this line isn’t at the full field goal yet, so basically all the Bengals would have to do is cover straight up. The Cowboys do get defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence back from a 4-game suspension and left tackle Tyron Smith back from a 2-game absence with back problems, but they’ll likely be without top wide receiver Dez Bryant for the second straight game and top cornerback Orlando Scandrick for the third straight game, after neither player practiced at all this week.
The Bengals are still the better team and have a good chance to win straight up in a stadium in which the Cowboys haven’t had a ton of success. Neither of these teams are in a great spot, as the Bengals head to New England next week, while the Cowboys to go Green Bay, two very tough and important upcoming games for these two teams. For that reason, I don’t have a great lean on this game at all, but I’m going to take the visiting Bengals unless the line does get up to a field goal. It’s a no confidence pick, but this game has a good chance to be a field goal game.
Cincinnati Bengals 23 Dallas Cowboys 20
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati -2