NFL Betting Picks: Dallas Cowboys visit San Francisco 49ers

Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, 9/18/11, 4:05 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Dallas -2.5
Current Betting Line:  Dallas -3
Opening Total:  41.5
Current Total:  42.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

49ers Cowboys NFL Betting Preview
Dallas QB Tony Romo had two critical turnovers last week, but the Cowboys still covered the spread.

The Dallas Cowboys will play their second straight road game to open the season when they visit the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and hope to rebound from a devastating 27-24 loss last week against the Jets.  The Cowboys (0-1) blew a 24-10 lead in the fourth quarter, the first time they ever lost when up by at least 14 points that late in the game.

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo took most of the blame and rightfully so, as his fumble and interception were much more critical to the final outcome than his 342 passing yards and two touchdowns.  Romo was able to throw up and down the field almost at will for most of the game, but none of that mattered in the end when New York kicker – and former Cowboy – Nick Folk nailed the game-winning 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds remaining.

The Cowboys (-3, O/U 42.5) scored the first 10 points of the game and seemed comfortably in control until Jets QB Mark Sanchez found wide receiver Plaxico Burress on a 26-yard touchdown pass with 11:56 left.  New York then blocked a punt for another touchdown to tie the game less than seven minutes later, and the rest is history.

Dallas did cover the 6.5-point spread and has won two straight against the 49ers (1-0), who got two late touchdowns on kick returns from Ted Ginn Jr. in a 33-17 home win against Seattle last week.  San Francisco needed the first one on a 102-yard kickoff return to cover the 6-point spread after the Seahawks had pulled within 19-17 with 3:56 remaining.

The 49ers got a mediocre performance from QB Alex Smith, who completed 15 of 20 passes for 124 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.  Smith did run for a 1-yard touchdown and carried the ball seven times overall for 22 yards.  Running back Frank Gore was held to 59 yards on 22 carries and will probably be keyed on again by the Cowboys.

Gore has averaged 3.2 yards per carry in two previous meetings with Dallas, and he was held to 26 yards on 14 carries the last time the teams met in 2008.  The Cowboys won that game at home 35-22 behind 341 yards and three touchdowns from Romo.

If Dallas focuses on stopping the run, the 49ers may be able to throw the ball against a weakened secondary that could be without starting cornerbacks Orlando Scandrick (ankle) and Mike Jenkins (shoulder).  Scandrick has already been ruled out, and he is expected to miss three to four weeks of action.

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