Dak Prescott suffered a horrific ankle injury this past Sunday and promptly underwent surgery. The Cowboys QB will miss the rest of the regular season (recovery time is four-to-six months) and Andy Dalton will take over under center for a 2-3 team that is still at the top of the NFC East.
In this article, we break down the betting implications of Prescott’s injury with regards to the Cowboys’ upcoming game against the Cardinals, Dallas’ Super Bowl futures odds, and the NFC East betting market.
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Cardinals now the MNF favorite over Cowboys
In the TheLines’ weekly report on NFL market movement and lookahead lines, Dallas was initially installed as a 3.5-point favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook for their Week 6 Monday night home game against the Cardinals. Keep in mind this line was set three days before Prescott’s injury, before the Cowboys’ narrow 37-34 home win over the Giants, and before Arizona’s 30-10 blowout road win over the Jets.
Due to everything that transpired this past weekend, the Cardinals are now the favorites in this game at -2.5 at most sportsbooks.
It’s important to note that the Cowboys are dealing with more key injuries, as CB Chidobe Awuzie (knee) is on on IR and stud LT Tyron Smith (neck) has been ruled out for the season. Additionally DT Trysten Hill (ACL) is done for the year, LB Leighton Vander Esch (collarbone) is still unavailable and center Joe Looney (neck) is week-to-week.
The defensive injuries have contributed to the Cowboys yielding the most PPG (36) in the NFL and the offensive line injuries have contributed to new HC Mike McCarthy calling for the second-highest pass-play rate (66.22%) this year.
Enter Dalton, a 10-year-veteran with a career 87.6 passer rating and a 70-61-2 record. Dalton completed 9-of-11 passes for 111 yards to lead the Cowboys to a 37-34 win following Prescott’s injury, showcasing good chemistry with the Cowboys elite WR trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb.
From last week to this week, Dallas’ Super Bowl odds at DraftKings Sportsbook went from +1800 to +4000. Their odds to win it all before the regular season began were +1500, the fifth best in the NFL.
The Cowboys also went from -230 to +100 to win the NFC East at DK, but +100 is still the lowest in that lowly division as the Eagles are +120.
Even behind a diminished offensive line, the Cowboys can become more of a run-first team to hide some of their defensive deficiencies, and that puts Ezekiel Elliott in play as an extreme longshot for NFL MVP. Dallas still has tons of talent despite all of the injuries, and the schedule lightens up with Washington and Philadelphia on deck after Week 6.
The NFC as a whole has certainly opened up with the 49ers and Saints struggling early, but the Cowboys already seemed like a longshot to make noise in the playoffs with a porous defense. The Cowboys’ struggles in pass defense – especially – leave them extremely vulnerable in potential first round matchups against likes of the Packers, Seahawks, Saints, or Bucs. Dalton was also 0-4 with 6 INT, 12 sacks, and a 57.4 passer rating in his postseason career with the Bengals.