We find the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals on opposite ends of my NFL power ratings in Week 3, which means a sizable spread when the 2-0 Cowboys visit the 0-2 Cardinals this Sunday.
Dallas dominated the New York teams in the opening weeks of the schedule, outscoring those Big Apple opponents by a collective 70-10 thanks in large part to a disruptive defense. The Cowboys rank atop the league in defensive metrics — basic and advanced — and now take aim at Arizona.
The Cards may not have any ticks in the win column yet but they’re undefeated in the eyes of NFL bettors. Arizona has covered in its first two matchups, sticking close at Washington in Week 1 and blowing a 20-point lead against the N.Y. Giants in Week 2 but covering as a home underdog.
NFL odds are piling on the points for this third matchup with the NFC East, handing over close to two touchdowns to the home side Sunday.
I dissect the spread and Over/Under total for this Week 3 matchup and give my best NFL picks for the Cowboys vs. Cardinals on September 24.
Cowboys vs Cardinals odds
Cowboys vs Cardinals predictions
If you read my Week 3 NFL power ratings, you’ll see that while I upgraded the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL food chain, I am cautious about the validity of this team until they play a quality opponent. The Arizona Cardinals are not that opponent.
My ratings produced a spread closer to Cowboys -14 for Week 3 and, as of Tuesday, this spread is all over the place with Dallas sitting between -11.5 and -13. Most shops are sitting at -12. The book that is high on the Boys is Pinnacle, a notorious sharp market whose numbers should be respected more than others.
We know what this Dallas defense is all about. Dan Quinn feeds his beast another tasty cupcake opponent in the Cardinals this week, with Arizona marching out a starless offense that ranks in the back third of the league in EPA.
Those numbers got a boost against a bad Giants defense in Week 2, but the offense stalled out in the second half of that game. It only put up eight points on 96 yards in the final 30 minutes and finished the day 4-for-10 on third downs.
The Cards’ attack has done a vanishing act in fourth quarters, breaking the EPA graphs with a -0.604 EPA in the final frame through two games. The defense is equally as absent, crumbling under the 4Q pressure for the 29th-ranked EPA allowed in the final stanza with 27 total fourth-quarter points against in two games. Just what you want when laying a hefty favorite.
That brings us to the Cowboys offense, which is a bit of a mystery heading into Week 3. Due to one-sided scoreboards, Dallas has dumbed down its new playbook and rolled out a ton of run as it chews up time to preserve those leads. The Cowboys are running at the fourth-highest rate, which has led to just 4.7 yards per play. But there’s a lot more to this offense.
What we have seen at full speed is scary. Dallas is seventh in EPA per play and third in EPA per dropback, with Dak Prescott showcasing his skills for a bit against the Jets. Prescott picked apart one of the best defenses in the land, finishing with a tame 31-for-38 passing and 255 yards with two touchdowns.
Perhaps the biggest threat to Prescott and the Cowboys offense is on the sidelines for the immediate future, with standout safety Budda Baker on the IR due to a hamstring injury. Arizona enters the week with additional injuries on the defensive side of the ball with DEs Leki Fotu and Carlos Watkins dinged up as well as LB Josh Woods.
The Cards are out of their depth in Week 3, especially if the Cowboys' offense lets it rip after two weeks of conservative playcalling. The Dallas defense will give the offense plenty of time with the football to cover this sizable spread and may even help out on the scoreboard.
My best bet: Cowboys -12 (-110 at DraftKings)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
Not intended for use in MA.
Affiliate Disclosure: Covers may receive advertising commissions for visits to a sportsbook or betting site.
Cowboys vs Cardinals same-game parlay
Best NFL bonuses
30% profit boost on one anytime TD parlay! Claim Now
50% profit boost on one Sunday NFL bet! Claim Now
25% profit boost on one first TD scorer bet! Claim Now
Bet $20 in NFL SGPs, get a $10 bonus bet! Claim Now
Eligible USA locations only. Also, see our full list of best sportsbook promotions for 2023.
21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
Cowboys vs Cardinals spread and Over/Under analysis
The look-ahead markets in the summer installed the Cowboys as 7-point road chalk in Week 3, but after blowing out their first two foes, the market has almost doubled on Dallas.
The official Week 3 odds hit the board at -13 and as of Tuesday morning, the Cowboys are between -11.5 and -13 depending on where you bet. My NFL power ratings produced a projected spread of Dallas -14.19 before making any adjustments for injuries or other factors.
If the Cowboys come out like they have the past two weeks, no spread will be tall enough. Dallas absolutely blasted the Giants and Jets, but I’m cautious about going all-in on the dominance.
Week 1 was played in a wet and wild MetLife Stadium, with turnovers and special teams scores putting the G-Men behind the eight ball in the first quarter. As for Week 2, Aaron Rodgers’ injury left the Jets' offense shattered and starting Zach Wilson at QB. The result was very similar, with the Cowboys cruising to a 30-10 win.
The Cardinals aren’t much better than those former victims, especially when you consider the Giants rallied for 31 second-half points in a 31-28 collapse by Arizona last Sunday. The Cards' offense comes in ranked 21st in EPA per play and has done a good job keeping QB Josh Dobbs clean, allowing only three sacks and a pressure rate of just 7.8% per dropback through two contests.
That pass protection will get put to the test against a Cowboys stop unit known for creating chaos. Dallas has 10 sacks and a pressure rate of 25.6% heading into Week 3, which has helped generate seven total takeaways — five of them coming on interceptions. This is nothing new for Dan Quinn’s defense, which has 47 total INTs going back to the 2020 regular season.
As for Arizona, the Cardinals are playing Rich Gannon’s deep cover defense, which relies on the defensive line to drum up pressure and doesn’t blitz much while dropping two safeties to protect against the bigger plays.
Arizona was able to execute this for the first six quarters of the 2023 season, but the levees broke in the final 30 minutes of Week 2. The Cardinals will also be without standout safety Budda Baker, who is on IR with a hamstring injury.
The Week 3 total opened at 44.5 points and sits as low as 43 points as of Tuesday morning, with early play banking on another stellar showing from the Dallas defense.
The Cowboys offense is extremely efficient, sitting second in points per play heading into Week 3. The Cardinals offense looked much sharper at home in Week 2, averaging 0.467 points per play.
Cowboys vs Cardinals betting trend to know
The Dallas Cowboys are 8-1 straight up and 6-3 against the spread in the last nine games when they were a favorite of -10 or bigger. Find more NFL betting trends for Cowboys vs Cardinals.
Kentucky: Sports betting is coming!
21+ and present in KY. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
Cowboys vs Cardinals game info
|Location:||State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ|
|Date:||Sunday, September 24, 2023|
|Kickoff:||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Opening odds:||Cardinals +10.5, 42|
Cowboys vs Cardinals latest injuries
Cowboys vs Cardinals weather
Stay updated with the latest picks, odds, and news! Tap the to add us to your favorites on Google News to never miss a story.