The Dallas Cowboys are coming off back-to-back 12-win seasons, giving them a slightly better record (24-10) than the Philadelphia Eagles (23-11) during that stretch. And the Cowboys are running it back with just about the entire core roster intact that has brought them so much success lately.
But apparently nobody has brought that information to the attention of oddsmakers.
Cowboys NFC East & Playoff Odds 2023
The Cowboys are +175 underdogs to win the NFC East in the 2023-24 season. In a vacuum this doesn't seem all that ridiculous. I can accept the Eagles being favored after their 14-win season and NFC Championship win last year. But the gap between Philly (-120) and Dallas (+175) is wild.
And things get even more ridiculous from there. So we're already saying that Philly (54.5%) is implied to have about a 1.5-times better chance than the Cowboys (36.4%) to win the NFC East. That's despite the fact that Philly plays a harder schedule for having finished as the 1-seed last year.
And even worse?
The Cowboys' odds of missing the playoffs altogether (+180) are basically the same as their odds of winning the NFC East. Really.
Have the Cowboys flopped in the playoffs recently? Sure. But these bets aren’t about the playoffs, and it’s not like they’ve flaked their way into the regular season success. Their point differentials (5th in 2022, 2nd in 2021) and yardage differentials (8th in 2022, 4th in 2021) were elite both years.
Even Pro Football Focus’ overall team grades have had the Cowboys elite, having ranked second in the NFL in 2021 and 8th in 2022.
It's not like losing Ezekiel Elliott and Dalton Schultz are going to suddenly transform this team. This is still a roster built to compete, and it's one that's really rounding into its most opportune Super Bowl window. The older veterans in the lineup are still on the tail ends of their prime (like Zack Martin), but the influx of young talent (Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, Tony Pollard, Ceedee Lamb, etc. etc.) has all now had some solid time to develop and begin to hit the beginnings of their primes.
I just can't figure out any way you can look at what's happened over the last two seasons, look at this offseason, and decide that Dallas is as likely to miss the playoffs altogether as they are to return to the top spot in the NFC East.
What I can figure out is that the Cowboys getting disrespected like this makes for some interesting betting value.
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