Thewere 1-4 at the time, yet the Vegas sportsbooks had them as three-point favorites against the 4-2 , who had won their last three games.
Three weeks later, the Cowboys are 14-point underdogs. That is a 17-point swing in only three weeks. Not only is this one of the biggest swings the NFL has seen in such a short period, you can also count on one hand the number of times a team has been a two touchdown underdog this season.
After the break we look at how that swing came about.
- Six points can be explained by the fact that the game is played at the Meadowlands and not at Cowboys Stadium.
- Tony Romo's injury is worth another five points: Before Romo was hurt in the loss to the Giants, the Cowboys were 11-point home favorites over Jacksonville for the following Sunday. By midweek, the line had tumbled to six points, making Romo's injury (or health, depending on your point of view) worth about five points.
- The remaining six points split somewhere between the Cowboys' woeful performance over the last two games (outscored by opponents 24-80) and the Giants 41-7 shellacking of the Seahawks last week (Giants had a bye after the last Cowboys game).
The guys over at OddsShark.com have actually moved the Cowboys to bigger dogs in this game, up from 14 to a 15 1/2 point spread.
Covers.com expert David Malinsky thinks the line may be a bit too high and sees a lot of uncertainty in the matchup:
"Dallas games will be a headache," Malinsky says. "This line is about a full touchdown away from where the raw statistics would put it, but when the psychological wheels come off of a team it is difficult to assess what their statistics truly mean. When in doubt in a situation like this you adjust high, expecting the market perception to go that way, but it really is a guessing game."
Chuck Esposito, race and sports executive at the Venetian Resort and Casino, is still surprised by the 17-point swing in only three weeks.
"It’s hard to believe that these two teams played two weeks ago and the Cowboys were a 3.5-point favorite and now they are almost a two-touchdown underdog," Esposito says. "I guess the real question is whether the Cowboys are this bad and are the Giants this good.
There is one big unknown here, and that is how the Cowboys will come out and play under Jason Garrett for the first time. But will that be enough when the Cowboys meet the Giants at 4:15 on Sunday at the Meadowlands? Vegas and the smart money says no.