NFL Week 3: Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys
Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys o44.0 (-110) [UPGRADED TO o43.5 (-110)]
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
September 27, 2015, 12pm CDT
Both of the two independent computer simulation routines in our lineup of handicapping indicators favor OVER 44 when when the Falcons take on the Cowboys in Arlington, TX Sunday. Similarly, a third computer prediction system we monitor also expects for the total to surprise on the upside in this match-up.
A large number of observers have made note that the NFL has become increasing quarterback-reliant in recent years. Given that Dallas will host Atlanta without the service of arguably the league's best QB, it makes intuitive sense that the under would attract significant interest (SportsInsights reports 47% of totals bets are on the UNDER).
Gamblers attracted to the obvious play though might be missing the likely impact of the Cowboys' offensive line on Dallas' ability to put points on the board Sunday. "Freakonomics" author, Stephen Dubner, cites, in addition to rules changes in the late-1970s, improvement in NFL offensive lines in recent years as a key factor in explaining the mushrooming productivity at the QB spot. Consider also that the Cowboys' o-line was expected to be tops in the league this year, at least by some accounts (through the first two games of the season, Dallas ranks #12 by sacks per passing play, versus #16 last year).
Thus, there seems a reasonable basis to expect the Boys will provide replacement QB Brandon Weeden with adequate protection for the second-stringer to effectively direct Dallas' aerial attack -- as was the case at Philadelphia last week. Further bolstering this case, consider that the Falcons were very poor pass rushers last year (#30).
Additional support of the OVER comes from the observation that Matty Ice, Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons boast the fifth most prolific offense in the league by total yards -- after ranking #7 last year. Holding last year's position, Atlanta is #12 on the basis of total points scored.
Bottom line: Our work highlights OVER 44 as the most compelling play for the Falcons @ the Cowboys. We look for Weeden to find success behind solid pass protection from Dallas' offensive line and for Matt Ryan and company to continue to demonstrate top form,