Bet of the Day – Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals, Dec. 25, 2010

Dallas Cowboys (-7) at Arizona Cardinals (+7), Over/Under 45

There was no bet of the day yesterday.  The Cowboys and Cardinals are nowhere near the playoff picture.  This isn’t the match up we expected before the season.  With the game being televised on Christmas day, hopefully we will get a decent showing from both teams.

Dallas (5-9) won 4 of their last 6 games (since Jason Garrett took over).  They squeaked out a win last week but enter this game off of two straight division games.  Will they be deflated?  They average 5.9 yards per play (YPP) and 14.6 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 6.1 YPP and 12.9 YPPT.  QB Jon Kitna averages 7.55 yards per attempt (YPA) with 15 TDs and 10 INTs for a 91.4 QB rating.  Dallas has a good run defense, but is vulnerable against the pass. Lucky for the Cowboys, the Cardinals are starting a rookie QB.

Arizona (4-10) has only won once in their last 9 games.  Their offense has sputtered along the last 4 weeks.  They average 4.9 YPP and 14.7 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 5.6 YPP and 14.2 YPPT.  QB John Skelton will be making his 3rd start today.  He averages 5.09 YPA with 0 TDs and 1 INTs for a 56.2 QB rating.  Like Dallas, the Cardinals give up too many yards.  They will need Skelton and the offense to do more than just manage the game if they expect to win today.

The Sagarin Ratings have Dallas 17.73 and Arizona 10.16.  With the 2.06 home advantage, the fair line is Dallas -5.51.

My NFL model predicts Dallas 28.20 over Arizona 21.04 for 49.24 total points.  Dallas is more productive on offense.  They are similar in offensive efficiency.  Both teams give up too many yards and aren’t very efficient on defense.  The key variance contributor is Arizona’s defensive passing yards allowed.  If Dallas is able to move the ball to their average, they will win and cover.  It is interesting to note that most of the variance in the model is in both teams defensive yards allowed.

Tonight I am taking the over.  Here’s why. Both teams are weak on defense.  Dallas hasn’t scored less than 27 points in their last 6 games; Dallas’ offense will be able to move the ball and score points.  I modeled the game at 49 points.  Bet Dallas/Arizona Over 45.

Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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