Cowboys vs. Giants Betting Preview: Sunday Night Football picks, predictions and odds for Week 1

By Zachary Cohen  ( Senior Editor) 

September 10, 2023 04:57 AM

Cowboys vs. Giants preview, predictions and best bets

Every week, VSiN will be doing an in-depth dive on the week’s Sunday Night Football Game. In Week 1, that game happens to feature the New York Giants hosting the division rival Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Last season, both teams made it to the playoffs, and they’re both looking to make it back there this year. That means that this should be a highly competitive game, and the bad blood between these two should only make it more entertaining. It’s also a fun early-season spotlight for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who faced a lot of criticism for his play last year. And he’ll be going up against Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who signed a fat contract extension after last season. With all of that in mind, keep reading for our Cowboys vs. Giants preview, picks and predictions.

RELATED: Check out our Pro Picks page for NFL best bets from all of our VSiN analysts

Cowboys vs. Giants Spread

The Giants are hoping that some key acquisitions on offense will help Jones make a significant leap as a passer. This summer, New York traded for star tight end Darren Waller (Trending towards playing - Check VSiN Injury Report for updates), signed wide receiver Parris Campbell and drafted Tennessee star wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. Having improved weapons around him, along with another year in head coach Brian Daboll’s system, should theoretically help Jones live up to the four-year, $160 million extension he signed in the offseason. It also helps that Jones will be able to play off Saquon Barkley and what should be a solid running game. However, the Cowboys make for a very difficult Week 1 matchup.

Last season, Dallas was fourth in the league in Defensive DVOA, with Micah Parsons’ otherworldly play being a big part of that. The Cowboys also added star cornerback Stephon Gilmore in the offseason. He had a PFF coverage grade of 81.1 last season, and he should work nicely opposite Trevon Diggs. Those two are a big part of the reason it’s hard not to like Dallas in this game, as it’s just unclear where the Giants will have a clear advantage in the passing game. If Waller is actually healthy, he'll do some damage. But which Giants wideouts are consistently creating separation? The Cowboys also have a good group of players along the defensive line, and Leighton Vander Esch will be flying to the football in this game. That said, it’s hard to believe in the Giants getting their offense going in the way they’d like here.

I also think the Cowboys offense could be tough for the Giants to handle here. Sure, Prescott had something of a rough 2022 season, but he has proven he’s a good quarterback in this league. And he’ll now have Brandin Cooks as a new toy in this offense. Cooks has had at least 1,000 yards in six of the last eight years, so he’ll be a big asset for Prescott — especially when opponents have corners that can make life difficult on CeeDee Lamb. Dallas’ offensive line should also be able to hold up in this matchup — even with some absences — which will give the Cowboys a chance to run the football effectively. And I’m expecting a big game out of Tony Pollard in his first real game as the face of this backfield. Pollard has serious home-run hitting ability, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he breaks a long run in this game.

Dallas also happens to be 10-2 straight-up and 9-3 against the spread against NFC East opponents since the start of the 2021 season. And the Cowboys are also an impressive 8-3 SU and ATS as road favorites in that span. So, I’m not too concerned about how they’ll play in a tough road environment.

Cowboys vs. Giants Total 

The Under is 8-1 in the games the Giants have played as home underdogs since the start of the 2021 season, and the average total points scored in those games was 38.2 points per game. I don’t see that trend going in the other direction here. Both teams want to run the football, which should eat up some clock and allow these defenses to rest. These are also divisional rivals, which should turn this into a more physical game than most.

It's also just difficult to see a scenario in which New York lights up the scoreboard in this one. I’m very high on the Cowboys defense this season and I’m not yet sold on Jones and the Giants’ passing game — even if I do expect to see improvements this year. Meanwhile, the Giants added quite a bit of talent on the defensive side of the ball in the offseason. When you combine that with the fact that New York has a few young players that should get better this year — along with a highly respected defensive coordinator in Don “Wink” Martindale — you’re probably looking at an improved Giants defense. That’s never a bad thing for an Under either.

We also know for a fact that Mike McCarthy wants to play low-scoring games this year. He spoke often this summer about getting away from a pass-heavy attack.

Cowboys vs. Giants Best Bet

I don’t think the Giants will be as good in 2023 as they were in 2022, even with the front office doing a solid job of bringing in some upgrades throughout the roster. New York had some good luck in 2022, and that should even out a bit this season. Meanwhile, the Cowboys look like a Super Bowl contender this year, on paper. I think their talent will be somewhat overwhelming for the Giants in the opener, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Dallas is loaded with players that should make New York uncomfortable, and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn can generally be counted on to push the right buttons.

Bet: Cowboys -3 (Play to 3.5)

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