Dallas Cowboys (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS, 0-4 O/U) vs. San Francisco 49ers (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS, 4-0 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 4:25 p.m. EST
The Line: Dallas Cowboys -5.5. Total: 47.
The San Francisco 49ers are still in search of their first win this season as they prepare to host the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon. San Francisco is 0-6 and has lost five consecutive games by no more than three points. The Cowboys dropped two in a row to the Rams and Packers prior to their Week 6 bye week.
Will he or won’t he?
As of Tuesday afternoon, Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension is in effect–starting with this weekend’s game against the 49ers. Elliott played the first five games of the season while his case was in the courts, rushing for 393 yards on 105 carries (a modest 3.7 average). He led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards as a rookie in 2016.
If Elliott is sidelined, Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden should see a substantial increase in their touches. Morris is a veteran with a trio of 1,000-yard seasons in the NFL, while McFadden was the league’s fourth-leading rusher in 2015. Rod Smith could also be in the mix. Smith has just four carries for 13 yards in his entire career, but by all accounts, he performed well in camp this summer and is arguably the most similar of the Cowboys’ running backs to Elliott in terms of style.
Rookie C.J. Beathard has been named San Francisco’s starting quarterback for this Sunday’s date with Dallas. Beathard, a third-round pick out of Iowa, replaced veteran Brian Hoyer during the 49ers’ 26-24 loss to Washington last weekend. Hoyer left after completing just four of 11 passes with his team trailing 14-0. Beathard entered late in the first half and finished 19-of-36 for 245 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He did not have much help from the running game, which could not take any pressure off the 23-year-old. San Francisco rushed for only 85 yards on 20 attempts.
“I thought he came in and competed,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Beathard. “By no means were things perfect, but the game isn’t too big for the guy. He comes in and doesn’t hesitate. He’s extremely tough. He came in there and gave us a little spark. He made a few off-schedule plays which was nice. We will watch the film. It wasn’t perfect, but when you’ve got a tough guy who hangs in there and competes, I think he’ll learn from it.”
The Dallas Cowboys are:
- 3-9 ATS in their last 12 overall
- 1-4 ATS in their last five road games
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against the NFC
The San Francisco 49ers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five overall
- 4-0 ATS in their last four games against the NFC
- 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a loss
Perhaps no team in NFL history has begun a season with more competitive losses by less points than the 49ers. Since getting blown out 23-3 by Carolina in their opener, they have dropped five contests by a total of 13 points. San Francisco has been outscored in regulation by a total of seven points in its last five outings (it lost in overtime to both Arizona and Indianapolis). The Cowboys are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 overall, 1-4 ATS in their last five on the road, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 against the NFC, and 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine following a loss. San Francisco is 4-1 ATS in its last five overall, 4-0 ATS in its last four against the NFC, 5-1 ATS in its last six following a loss, and 5-1 ATS in its last six on grass. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.
Pick: San Francisco 49ers +6
Elliott is most likely out for Dallas. A rookie quarterback is in for San Francisco. It is safe to say, therefore, that offense may be tough to come by on Sunday. The under is 12-3 in the Cowboys’ last 15 on the road, 4-1 in their last five on the road against opponents with losing home records, 7-2 in their last nine against losing opponents, and 11-3 in their last 14 on grass. It is also 18-7 in the 49ers’ last 25 at home, 5-2 in their last seven against losing opponents, and 20-9 in their last 29 after rushing for less than 90 yards in its previous outing. Look for this one to stay under the total.