Cowboys vs. Bills: 3 best prop bets for NFL Week 15

12/17/2023
DB+

We have reached the last month of the regular season, and our beloved Buffalo Bills are getting a holiday visit from the Dallas Cowboys. It’s like the annual Christmas visit from Cousin Eddie with none of the redeeming qualities. The Cowboys are coming in on Jerry’s big, shiny RV, but you know he’s looking to save a buck and dump his *ahem* waste down the culverts outside Highmark, but they’ll be the ones blasting off when Josh Allen lights a victory cigar.

Too young to get those references? Well, you’re likely old enough to remember last week, even though we’d rather not. It was a thrilling Bills’ win, but that was about it.

  • Second half as the highest scoring half, -105, 0.5u, Result: 21-16 1H❌
  • Khalil Shakir longest reception o17.5, -105 at MGM, 0.5u, Result: Longest receptions 12 yards❌
  • James Cook longest rush o12.5 yards, -120 at DK, 0.5u, Result: Longest rush 15 yards✅

Thank goodness for James Cook’s performance. Those two offenses combining for only six fourth-quarter points was mind-numbing, but it was great to see the Bills’ defense execute so well despite losing the prop. The Shakir prop is one to take back. Chiefs’ CB Trent McDuffie is an excellent slot cornerback, and Shakir spends most of his time in that alignment. Even with that error in judgment, there was still one big play against McDuffie that went for 25 yards…to Deonte Harty.

Just like the Bills, we’re going to finish this season strong.

First Things First

Here are a few rules to keep your betting a fun, enjoyable hobby.

  1. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  2. Don’t chase a bet.
  3. Don’t bet on what you don’t understand
  4. Check the other sportsbooks’ lines
  5. See Rule #1.

If you think you might have a gambling problem, please contact any of these agencies for help.

National Council on Problem Gambling: 1-800-522-4700.
Gambling Anonymous National Hotline: (888) GA-HELPS (888-424-3577)
Gambling Assistance Hotline: (800) 522-4700

Lastly, these are recommendations, not guarantees. Act accordingly.

Game Script

When the Cowboys have the ball, everything they are doing since their Week 7 bye is humming:

From RBSDM.com

Wk 8-14, SIS

Wk 8-14, SIS

All of that orange in the Success Rank column details how well they are performing over the last six weeks.

What has stood out is their change in success utilizing motion. In Weeks 1-6, Dallas’ frequency of motion ranked 22nd, and its success when using it ranked 28th. Since the Week 7 bye, they use motion the tenth most and rank sixth in success rate. Since Week 6 (after the Matt Milano and DaQuan Jones injuries, the Bills are essentially middle of the pack against motion passes and not good in the run game:

When the Bills have the ball:

Since Week 8, the ‘boys have used Man coverage at the second-highest rate in the league (41%) and used one high safety 48% of plays (12th most). Since Week 8, the Bills’ offense has been doing alright against Cover 1 and Cover 3, two coverages that typically have one safety high.

  • Attempts: 105 (10)
  • Comp %: 61.9% (14)
  • YDS/ATT: 7.7 (12)
  • QB RTG: 92.8 (10)
  • EPA: 16.82 (4)
  • EPA/PASS ATT: 0.16 (4)

The Cowboys can be run on when they use light and seven-man boxes. Since Week 8, Dallas’ success rate against the run when using a lightbox ranks 29th, and its success rate when using seven in the box is 23rd. Facing six and seven-man boxes, the Bills rank (Weeks 8-14):

  • seventh in Yards/Att (5.0)
  • sixth in Yds/Gm (102.2)
  • first in 1st down rate (32%)
  • first in Stuff rate (8.2%)
  • fourth in EPA and EPA/Att (9.79 and 0.08 respectively)

You could consider James Cook over 51.5 rushing yards, but I think the Bills might be playing from behind for a good chunk of this game. His rushing and receiving yards line is 78.5 at DK, but the Cowboys have only faced 14 attempts to RBs in the last 6 weeks.

The Bills can certainly win if they play their best, but the Cowboys’ defense gets a say. The Dallas defense revolves around the singular talent that is Micah Parsons. He is first in the NFL in both pressures and Pass Rush Productivity, second in Rush Win percentage, and tied for third in sacks. If the Bills’ offensive line can mitigate Parsons – not stop, but slow down – they will have a chance to operate their offense and take advantage of some of their mismatches in the middle of the field.

Some analysts have talked about Dallas’ difference Home versus Away, and Dallas is a lesser team when not in Jerry World. However, its offense is not bad in Away games, just less than the unstoppable juggernaut its been at home recently. In a non-conference game after an important win against a big rival, there is a real chance for a letdown by the Bills here.

Prediction: BUF 24  – DAL 31

For a thorough breakdown, check out Uber Hansen’s Game Matchups Preview.

Cowboys vs. Bills: 5 keys to victory in NFL Week 15

DVOA Matchup

Injury Reports

Be sure to check the inactives list prior to the game.

From Bills PR

From Ralph Vacciano

Weather

From the National Weather Service:

Sunday
A chance of showers, mainly after 10am. Cloudy, with a high near 53. Breezy, with a south wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Recommendations

CeeDee Lamb Receptions

Book Line O U
DK 6.5 -145 114
FD 7.5 -102 -130
MGM 6.5 -150 110

Too put it mildly, Lamb has been on fire. Since the Cowboys came off their bye in Week 7, Lamb has four games with double-digit receptions, three games with 150+ yards, and five straight games with a TD and seven overall in that timeframe. It doesn’t much matter whether the coverage is zone or man. Since Week 8, he has had the most catches in the league against man with 14, and he drops all the way down to third versus zone with 19. The Cowboys and head coach Mike McCarthy adjusted how often they use Lamb in the slot compared to out wide, and that appears to coincide well with the other changes the Cowboys made on their week off.

From PFF

Per SIS

The Cowboys simplified how many personnel groups they use and significantly increased their use of shotgun and motion. They have also seen a dramatic improvement in how successful they are using RPOs.

Even before the Micah Hyde news, the Bills’ defensive backfield was going to be seriously challenged by Lamb. The Bills will have to rely on scheme to contain Lamb because they do not have the athletes to do so.

Recommendation: CeeDee Lamb o7.5 receptions, -102 at FD, 0.5u

Tony Pollard Longest Rush

Book Line O U
DK 14.5 -115 -115
FD 13.5 -114 -114
MGM 14.5 -115 -115

All of the rush defense versus motion stats are indicators for big plays.

During Week 8-14, Pollard has averaged seven+ rush attempts per game with motion.

Recommendation: Tony Pollard longest rush o13.5, -114 at FD, 0.5u. A lower line and vig? O and K.

Dalton Kincaid Receptions

Book Line O U
DK 4.5 -125 -105
FD 4.5 -148 +112
MGM 4.5 -125 -105

The game script discussed the Cowboys’ use of a single high safety. Since Week 8, the Bills’ leading pass catcher against Cover 1 and Cover 3 in yards and receptions is Dalton Kincaid. The rookie has 17 receptions and 191 yards on 22 targets in those situations.

Recommendation: Dalton Kincaid o4.5 receptions, -125, 0.5u

Conclusion

The Bills will have a much better chance at the playoffs if they can win this game, and I will be happy to be wrong. Either way, let’s get some free money.

Record: 26-16, 61.9%, +17.54u

You can find Chris on Twitter (@lowbuffa), getting dirty in #MafiaGardens, or watching football. Go Bills!

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