Cowboys vs. 49ers odds, prediction, betting trends for NFL divisional round playoff game


Many 2023 NFL Playoff games have been filled with storylines so far — it’s that way every postseason. The overarching theme of the Cowboys at 49ers divisional-round tilt this weekend: perseverance. Both squads have dealt with injuries, including losing their respective QBs for significant amounts of time. But just like Muhammad Ali — whose birthday was this week — both franchises came back stronger after getting knocked to the ground. Today we will discuss the betting odds for what should be a classic NFC slugfest, and we’ll make our predictions for which team will still be standing and which will be knocked out ahead of the NFC Championships.

The 49ers, who dealt with myriad injuries on both sides of the ball this season, most notably lost opening-day starting QB Trey Lance (ankle) in Week 2 and veteran Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) in Week 13. Difference-making second-year running back Elijah Mitchell had also hit the IR two different times with MCL sprains, which stud wideout Deebo Samuel has also battled throughout the campaign along with a high-ankle sprain. Needless to say, many counted San Francisco out after the Jimmy G injury, even after John Lynch pulled off the trade of his managerial career by landing Christian McCaffrey ahead of the deadline. 

MORE DIVISIONAL ROUND: Odds, lines, spreads

But it was the ‘next man up’ at QB, not just the addition of CMC, who truly revitalized the Super Bowl hopes of Niners Nation. Rookie Brock Purdy — widely referred to as ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ for being the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft — has been a revelation under center for Kyle Shanahan’s complex offensive system. Whenn Jimmy G went down vs. Miami in Week 13, San Francisco had been riding a modest four-game winning streak. Since Purdy took over, that streak has grown to an unfathomable 11 games…and counting. 

The Cowboys know a little something about resilience, and about bouncing back from injury. They lost franchise QB Dak Prescott to a thumb/hand injury at the tail end of an ugly loss to the Bucs back in Week 1. Prescott missed five games, but Dallas remarkably went 4-1 behind Cooper Rush during that stretch. And when Dak was back, it was all systems go — the ‘boys proceeded to win six of their next seven games and eight of their next 10, ultimately finishing 12-5, one game behind the 13-4 49ers. 

MORE DIVISIONAL ROUND: Best BetsAgainst the Spread | Moneyline

While Prescott-Purdy might be the central talking point of this matchup, these squads are two of the more complete rosters competing in this year’s postseason. Both QBs have insane arsenals of offensive weapons at running back, wide receiver, and tight end, as well as super offensive lines. And both squads have upper-echelon defenses, San Fran ranking first in points and yards allowed and Dallas ranking fifth in points and top 12 in yards. Both teams finished the season top eight in sacks and interceptions. 

This divisional-round tilt seems to be flying under the radar a bit, drowned out by the buzz behind Bills-Bengals and respective No. 1 conference seeds Philadelphia and Kansas City. But this could go down as one of the better playoff games of the modern era, not just this postseason.

We’re here to get you ready for Cowboys-49ers from a betting perspective, diving into the odds, tips, trends, and storylines and ultimately making our prediction for what should be an epic Sunday night of football. 

Betting odds are from Sports Interaction.

Cowboys at 49ers odds for NFL divisional-round playoff game

  • Broadcast: Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
  • Spread: 49ers -4 (-110) | Cowboys +4 (-110)
  • Moneyline: 49ers -200 | Cowboys +167
  • Over/under: O 46.5 (-112) | U 46.5 (-108)

According to BetQL’s line movement analytics, the 49ers opened at -3.5, made a small jump to -4 on Tuesday, went back down to -3.5 again, and then landed back at -4 Friday afternoon. Similarly, the moneyline opened at -195, briefly bumped up to -200, danced around -185 to -195 and then settled back at -200 on Friday. BetQL’s sharp bettor report estimates 85 percent of sharp money is on the Niners’ spread and 73 percent of sharp money is on the San Fran moneyline. 

Take advantage of BetQL’s 3-day free trial and see all of our best bets across all sports, including NFL, NBA, and college sports!

Cowboys at 49ers all-time series

These squads have always seemed to play each other close, with Dallas narrowly leading the all-time series 19-18-1. Before San Francisco knocked off the ‘boys 23-17 in super wild-card weekend last year, Dallas had won three straight meetings dating back to October 2016 — and seven of nine going back to 2001. Before that, you can basically go by eras: the Niners dominated the Joe Montana years, then the Cowboys crushed it during their respective dynasty years, then Steve Young and the Niners got the best of Dallas again in the mid-to-late 90s. We shall see if Purdy-Prescott becomes the next great rivalry in this all-time series.

MORE COWBOYS-49ERS:
Best propsDK lineup | FD lineup

Cowboys at 49ers: Three trends to know

— This is a matchup of spread-dominant squads — San Francisco has gone 12-6 against the spread this season, while Dallas has gone a respective 11-7 ATS. These teams represent two of the seven best cover rates in the NFL since the 2022 season kicked off. 

— The Niners are a dominant 8-2 ATS at home this season, while Dallas is just 5-4 ATS on the road. 

— The OVER has slightly edged the UNDER in San Francisco’s games this year (10-8), as well as its home games (6-4). Conversely, the UNDER has gone 5-4 in Cowboys’ away games since the start of the season.  

Cowboys at 49ers: Three things to watch

Can San Francisco’s top-ranked defense slow down the Cowboys?

Dallas has enjoyed a sizzling-hot streak offensively, finishing the season second in rushing TDs and top 10 in rushing yards and passing TDs. Prescott’s midseason return from injury obviously kicked things into extra gear, as did the activation of tight end Dalton Schultz and wide receiver Michael Gallup from IR. But the Cowboys’ three-headed attack of wideout CeeDee Lamb, veteran TD-gobbler Ezekiel Elliott, and breakout Pro Bowler Tony Pollard served as the real catalyst of Kellen Moore’s offense before and after Prescott’s absence. Since Week 8, Dallas has scored a whopping 32.5 points per game — and that’s including a six-point clunker in Week 18 with the Cowboys likely not even trying so they could retain the No. 3 seed to play the hapless Buccaneers in the first round. San Francisco ranks No. 1 in points and yards allowed, with Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and Jimmie Ward leading three dominant levels of an all-time defense. DeMeco Ryans’ unit will need to be at its very best this weekend. 

Can Brock Purdy keep up his incredible run?

Nobody — and I mean nobody in professional football — expected Purdy to win seven games in a row. He has blown the collective minds of pundits everywhere, perhaps most notably because of his calm, collected demeanor in the pocket. In many ways, his remarkable run reminds us of reigning AFC-champion QB Joe Burrow in that he never seems to get rattled and always comes up clutch. Of course, having McCaffrey and Mitchell in the backfield doesn’t hurt, nor does having Brandon Aiyuk, Samuel, and elite tight end George Kittle to target. Kyle Shanahan remains the true star of this organization, though — his multifaceted offensive attack remains one of the most often-imitated, rarely-duplicated systems in the NFL, and can confuse even the most dominating defenses. 

Can Dallas put together some timely stops and force some key turnovers?

The Cowboys’ strong second-half run was not just fueled by elite offense but also by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Micah Parsons, ball-hawking cornerback Trevon Diggs, and Dan Quinn’s defense. Case in point: from Week 13 through Week 16, the Cowboys had a whopping 14 takeaways. They have held seven different opponents to under 98 rushing yards since the 2022 season started. And ten different Dallas opponents have failed to reach 20 first downs in a game. The biggest factor has obviously been turnovers — Dallas ranked number one in the NFL in takeaways (33) and turnover percentage (16.2%). Both the No. 1 squad in terms of turnover margin this season was the 49ers (+0.8), who led the ‘boys by the hairs on Dan Quinn’s chin (+0.6). 

Cowboys at 49ers: Stat that matters

34.6. That’s how many points San Francisco has averaged since the Legend of Brock Purdy began back in Week 13. The Niners are averaging just under 400 total yards per game during that seven-game span, while maintaining a dazzling +14 turnover margin. Dating back to the 2020 season, Dallas has gone 0-5 when allowing over 34 points. 

Cowboys at 49ers prediction

This should be a fantastic game, and it’s surprising how few people are taking the Cowboys and the points. Given both squads’ depth from top to bottom — and playmakers on both sides of the ball — we expect this one to come right down to the wire. And while San Francisco deserves the edge for its home-field advantage, slightly superior overall defense, and more explosive running game, nobody should be surprised if Dallas covers the spread for the 12th time in 19 chances since the start of the 2022 season. 

PREDICTION: 49ers 27, Cowboys 24. San Francisco wins and the Brock Purdy Tour rolls on, but Dallas covers the spread (+4), and the total cruises to the OVER (46.5).

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