Cowgirls at Lions

Published on Friday, 10/25/13, at 2:57 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

A pair of NFC contenders will collide Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit, where the Lions will take on Dallas at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox. Most betting shops have installed Detroit (4-3 straight up, 4-3 against the spread) as a three-point favorite (with a -120 price tag) with a total of 51.

Gamblers can take the Cowboys on the money line for a +145 payout (risk $100 to win $145). For first-half wagers, the Lions are favored by 1.5 or two with a total of 26.

Dallas (4-3 SU, 6-1 ATS) has won back-to-back games, including its first road win. After smashing Washington 31-16 two weeks ago, the Cowboys won 17-3 at Philadelphia as three-point road underdogs.

The Dallas defense knocked Philadelphia QB Nick Foles out of the game with a concussion and then intercepted rookie QB Matt Barkley three times. Tony Romo threw for 317 yards and one touchdown, while Dez Bryant had eight receptions for 110 yards.

Romo is enjoying one of his finest campaigns. He has Dallas ranked third in the NFL in scoring offense with a 28.6 points-per-game average. Romo is completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 2,010 yards with a 15/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Romo has a pair of outstanding weapons in Bryant and veteran tight end Jason Witten, who has 35 receptions for 388 yards and three TDs. Bryant has a team-high 42 catches for 569 yards and six TDs.

Dallas has been a road underdog twice, going 2-0 ATS. The Cowboys are 3-0 ATS in three games as ‘dogs in 2013.

Detroit had won three of its last four games both SU and ATS before dropping a 27-24 decision at home to Cincinnati last Sunday. The Lions lost outright as 2.5-point home favorites.

Matthew Stafford completed 28-of-51 throws for 357 yards and three TDs without an interception. His 50-yard scoring strike to Calvin Johnson tied the game with 11:50 remaining, but the Bengals’ Mike Nugent nailed a 54-yard field goal for the winning points as time expired.

Johnson finished with nine catches for 155 yards and two TDs against the Bengals. Reggie Bush couldn’t make anything happen on the ground, as he was limited to 50 rushing yards on 20 carries. Bush had three catches for 44 yards.

Stafford is playing like a Pro-Bowl QB in 2013. The University of Georgia product has connected on 61.4 percent of his passes for 2,129 yards with a 15/4 TD-INT ratio. Despite missing one game with an injury Johnson has 33 receptions for 492 yards and six TDs.

Bush has made a big impact for the Lions, who haven’t had a decent RB throughout the time in which they’ve had the Stafford-Johnson combo. Bush has run for 426 yards and one TD, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. He has 23 catches for 305 yards and one TD.

The ‘over’ is 4-3 overall for Detroit, 3-0 in its home games. The ‘under’ is 4-3 overall for Dallas, 2-1 in its road assignments.

Dallas starting RB DeMarco Murray will return after missing last week’s win over the Eagles. However, pass-rushing specialist DeMarcus Ware (quad) is ‘doubtful.’ Ware missed the first game of his career last weekend.

I think Detroit is the play here laying the small number at home. Without Ware getting pressure on Stafford, I think the QB is going to have a big game. And I can see the Lions’ front four getting to Romo and forcing him into mistakes. I’ll take the short home favorite.

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