The Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys will meet Thursday night in Dallas for the final preseason game of the season. The last week of the preseason – more than any other week – is always a mystery. Who will play? What are coaches hoping to work on? What do experts know that the public does not?
Finding reverse action in week 4 of the preseason is always an advantage. It looks like the wiseguys are putting their money on the visiting Dolphins in this match-up. According to our NFL betting lines page, the Cowboys opened as 2 ½ point favorites. The public is playing the ‘Boys at about a 60% average, yet the line has moved down at most sites with many books listing the game at 1 ½ points.
The Dolphins have been terrific in their recent preseason action. Over their past 10 contests the ‘Fins are 9-1. However, their 9 game winning streak was snapped last week at home against the Atlanta Falcons, 16-6. Miami was never able to get the offense going. The rushing attack was anemic – 18 carries for 46 yards. Three Dolphin quarterbacks combined to go 21-40 for 195 yards, 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. To make matters worse, Miami committed 9 penalties for 75 yards.
Head coach Tony Sparano was not pleased with the play of his first-stringers, which is why Sparano is kicking around the idea of giving his starters extended minutes in this Thursday’s game. “My approach is that we didn’t play well the other night. So, I have to do what is in the best interest of my football team to get my football team ready to play the Buffalo Bills. So, whatever that takes on Thursday night is what I’ll do.” Sparano went on to somewhat clarify his statement. “In other words,” said Sparano, “I have no real governor right now on how long people are playing. They just better be ready to play.”
Dallas head coach Wade Phillips appears to be just as irritated as Sparano after Dallas’ recent loss to the Houston Texans, 23-7. Against Houston the Cowboys managed only 13 rushing yards on 12 carries while Houston piled up 173 yards on 36 carries. Tony Romo was accurate, going 13-18 for 146 yards, but couldn’t manage to lead his team to any points and turned the ball over twice.
By all accounts Phillips expects to play quarterback Tony Romo and his fellow first-stringers longer than Cowboys starters traditionally play in the final tune-up leading into the regular season. However offensive tackle Marc Colombo and guard Kyle Kosier will both be out for this game. Wide receiver Dez Bryant has been hampered by a bum knee; he’s been cleared to practice though it is uncertain whether or not Bryant will see action this Thursday. The status of several key members of the Dallas defense is also unclear. Linebacker Keith Brookings, defense end Marcus Spears, and safety Gerald Sensabaugh are all nursing injuries.
With the public hitting the Cowboys at 60% and the line moving down at least a point at many books, it seems some wiseguys are looking for the Dolphins to probably come out of Dallas with a win. Maybe Phillips is only expressing his frustration to the press and not actually planning on playing his starters. Maybe Sparano, too. It’s hard to say. Week 4 of the preseason is always a mystery. The only sure way to make money on your Thursday plays is to sign up for one of nfl pick packages. Don’t miss out – sign up now!