Gambling and the NFL go hand in hand. One of the things that makes the NFL so very popular is the allure of betting on the games. Even though the league tries to distance itself from the images of sports betting publicly, privately it recognizes that this aspect of the game is a vital part to its popularity. I thought it might be a fun idea to look at some of the future bets you can put down revolving around our beloved Dallas Cowboys and see what may be enticing versus what may be just a “sucker’s bet.”
The first bet you can make revolves around winning it all.
ODDS THAT DALLAS WINS SUPER BOWL XLVIII – 30 to 1
As you may already know, Vegas odds are fairly logical. After multiple 8-8 seasons, the Cowboys have been given better odds than half the teams in the league to win it all. That also means that half the teams have been given the same or better odds to win it as well. Dallas is tied at a chance of 30 to 1 to win Super Bowl XLVIII with Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. The big surprise in that group is obviously last year’s champion in the Ravens. With all of the offseason losses and retooling the Ravens have experienced, clearly they are expected to fall hard back to the pack. What is intriguing here is that Vegas book makers see the Redskins and Cowboys as equals, which may be because of the injury and uncertainty of RG3′s availability for Week 1 or because the two teams played a winner-take-all game in Week 17 in order to even make the playoffs in 2012. Ultimately, it’s really anyone’s guess from year to year as to will be in the Bowl, let alone who will win it. Given that you are essentially betting against the biggest pool of participants, I would stay away for this option all the way, however if you have $100 to burn, Dallas reaching the top of the mountain would pay you $3,000 so it may be worth the fun to see what happens.
ODDS THAT DALLAS WINS THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP – 15/1
Again, you are seeing a theme here. Based largely of the mediocrity that Dallas has exhibited the last few years, Vegas has decided to cut the odds in half that Dallas wins it all when it comes to just making the final game. Dallas is tied with the Redskins and Bears at 15 to 1 to play in and win the NFC championship game. The Cowboys are deemed to be a better option than only Tampa Bay, Detroit, Minnesota, Carolina, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Arizona. The interesting name in that pool is definitely the Vikings, who made the playoffs last season. Vegas does not see that as being an option this year as they are tied with Detroit for the 8th best odds in the conference. Ironically, Dallas is tied with Washington and Chicago with the sixth best odds to win the conference meaning that Vegas sees this version of our beloved Cowboys as a borderline playoff team along with San Francisco, Seattle, Green Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans, New York, the Redskins and Bears. This represents another bet I would unfortunately pass on, largely because the payout does not warrant the risk.
ODDS THAT DALLAS WINS THE NFC EAST – 12/5
Here is where it starts to really get good. Vegas only has the Giants at better odds to wins the division. Of course, they have kept with the theme and marked the Cowboys as equals to the Redskins in pulling off this feat at 12 to 5. 12 to 5 odds means that for every $100 you bet, you would win $240. The fun part here of course is that you are only going against a pool of three other teams so you have a 25% chance of being right. Also, Dallas has played in a winner-take-all final game in Week 17 the last three years so this is definitely a feasible option when factoring in the past, present and of course, future. This bet is tied in with our final option which is…
TOTAL WINS FOR THE 2013 DALLAS COWBOYS – OVER/UNDER 8.5
Pretty much exactly what you would expect from the previously perfectly mediocre editions of past Dallas Cowboys teams. The bar is set at eight. Win more and you win. Win less and you lose. Vegas has set the Giants “over/under” at 9 wins, the Eagles at 7 wins and as previously mentioned the Redskins equal to Dallas at 8 wins. The interesting part here is that Dallas has a better payout ($100 wins you $135) than the Redskins ($100 wins you $11o) to eclipse that eight win total which means either they think Dallas is slightly better or they are banking on the Cowboys’ popularity to lure more bets onto their side of the fence.
When looking at all four teams, they start out on a level playing field. Each team plays each other twice, all four teams from the AFC West once and all four teams from the NFC North once. Based on last year’s order of finish (Washington, New York, Dallas, Philadelphia) each teams plays an equal placed divisional opponent from 2012 in the NFC West and South. For the Cowboys, this plays out as a home game versus St. Louis and a road game versus the Saints. Washington has the hardest draw of the four divisional opponents having to face San Francisco at home and Atlanta on the road. The Eagles face Tampa Bay on the road and Arizona at home while the Giants visit the Carolina Panthers and host the Seattle Seahawks.
Taking off my homer hat for a second and logically, financially thinking about these last two options, I like Dallas on both fronts. Can Dallas get to nine wins? Absolutely. Splitting each divisional game puts the Cowboys at 3-3. Only Denver represents a difficult hurdle from the AFC West foursome which means Dallas should go 3-1 there, bring their total to 6-4. I feel the same about the NFC North as Green Bay should be the only counted on loss. That already gives the Cowboys a 9-5 record. Even if Dallas were to lose both the St. Louis and New Orleans games, they would finish 9-7, good enough to win the over/under bet.
As for the division, assuming all teams split the divisional games, I see the Redskins losing both games versus the 49ers and Falcons. The game against the Seahawks could be the difference between the Giants and the Cowboys and I just don’t believe in the Chip Kelly led Eagles so I am putting the division down like this:
N.Y. GIANTS 9-7
So if you find yourself in Vegas between now and the time of kickoff, I say place your bets on the Cowboys to win more than eight games (FINALLY!) and to win the division. After that, sit back and enjoy the ride.