Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams
Date and Time: Saturday, August 12, 2017, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
Preseason NFL Week 1 Opening Odds: Check Back Later
Cowboys vs. Rams TV Coverage: NFL Network
The Cowboys deserve a lot of credit for the way they handled their first preseason game against Arizona. After a poor start that led to a 15-0 deficit, Dallas stormed back and scored 20 of the final 23 points of the game to take a 20-18 victory.
Kellen Moore and Cooper Rush played the whole game under center for Dallas, the latter actually looking more comfortable in the pocket than the former. None of the starters played in the entire game, though that figures to change a little bit in this one.
That means we'll at least get a look at Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliott and the rest of the band that Dallas has for the 2017 season. This is nothing new for the Cowboys; it's really the exact script that played out when they were last in the Hall of Fame Game a few years ago when Jason Garrett was a young head coach.
The Rams have a far more interesting situation in front of them with a slew of moving parts. Sean McVay is considered a wunderkind, a truly genius offensive mind who is being brought into LA to try to help out Jared Goff, a man who struggled mightily in his first year in the NFL.
McVay essentially revamped this entire offense in the offseason, bringing in Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds, Gerald Everett and a few offensive linemen. That's a huge list of new weapons for Goff to get used to, but it can't hurt him based off of the garbage that was on the field with him last year.
Will McVay want to see a little bit extra out of his starters in this game? It's entirely possible. Sean Mannion has nothing to prove as a backup, and Dan Orlovsky is merely here to be a veteran presence to this offense. Mannion will likely play most of the second half and perhaps as much as three quarters of this preseason opener.
Betting Trends of Note
Many will be quick to point out the fact that teams that play in the Hall of Fame Game should be given an advantage in Week 1 of the preseason. However, that really hasn't proven to be the case in recent years. We obviously have no data to work with after the Hall of Fame Game was cancelled last year due to poor field conditions, and in 2015, a team that usually struggles in the preseason (Pittsburgh) went on to lose its second game in Week 1, while a team that usually excels (Minnesota) went on to win its second game.
Dallas is one of these in between types of teams. Garrett is only 10-16 in the preseason in his coaching career, but he's 4-4 in Week 1. How the Cowboys react is probably going to be relatively unpredictable, but keep in mind that the oddsmakers are going to surely set a line that assumes they'll be in much better shape.
Cowboys vs. Rams Free Picks
That's why we're going to take advantage of what might be a relatively weak line at even the top-rated sportsbooks in this one. The Cowboys are generally at least a bit shaded because of their bias as being "America's Team," and the fact that they played in Week 1 of the preseason is only going to make this worse.
We suspect Dallas will open up as a favorite in this one, and that just doesn't seem to be founded. McVay should be eager to get his NFL coaching tenure off on the right foot, and showing off Goff and some of his new weapons should ultimately get the job done.
Cowboys vs. Rams ATS Pick: Play the Rams at BookMaker.eu
Cowboys vs. Rams Score Prediction: Rams 27, Cowboys 19