Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
The Cowboys went 12-4 last year, but did not enter the 2017 season with as talented of a team, after losing 2 key starters on their offensive line and several key members of their secondary this off-season, and then losing top interior pass rusher David Irving for the first 4 games of the season with suspension. After 4 games, they are 2-2, despite not facing a particularly tough schedule, beating the Giants and Cardinals, a pair of below average teams, and losing to the Broncos and the Rams, a pair of middling teams.
Irving returns for the Cowboys this week, but he’s a one-year wonder coming off of a PED suspension, so he might not be a huge help for this team. The Cowboys will be without stud linebacker Sean Lee, their most important defensive player, for the 2nd straight week and could be without talented left tackle Tyron Smith after he aggravated a back injury in practice. Those injuries further weaken their offensive line and defense in time for by far their toughest game of the season.
The Packers enter at 3-1 and are going in the opposite direction injury wise, with stud defensive end Mike Daniels and talented starting offensive tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga expected to return this week. The Packers last played on Thursday Night Football and the 10-day layoff allowed them to get as healthy as they’ve been all season. Given the state of these two rosters, I have these two teams about 4 points apart. However, this line is -2 in favor of the hometown Cowboys, suggesting these two teams are about 1 point apart.
We’re getting significant line value with the Packers before you even take into account that the Cowboys have had very little noticeable homefield advantage in recent years, as they tend to attract fans wherever they go. They are just 30-30 straight up at home since 2010, with an average differential of 1.68 points per game. Contrast that with their road record of 31-27 over that time period, with an average differential of -0.48 points per game. Their homefield advantage is really only worth about a point. The oddsmakers usually don’t correct for that, so the Cowboys are 21-38 ATS at home since 2010, including 13-30 ATS as a favorite. I have this line calculated at -3 in favor of the visiting Packers, so we’re getting 5 points of line value with Green Bay. This is my Pick of the Week as long as we’re getting points.
Green Bay Packers 31 Dallas Cowboys 27 Upset Pick +110
Pick against the spread: Green Bay +2
Confidence: Pick of the Week