2013 Hall Of Fame Game Pick & Preview
The Dallas Cowboys didn’t make their pro football betting backers at BetAnySports happy in 2012, going just 6-10 against the number. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins had their third 7-9 season (straight-up, that is) in the last four years. These teams clash in the Hall of Fame Game, kicking off the NFL pre-season, slated for 8 PM ET on Sunday at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
Bill Parcells, who is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend, has had an influence on both of these squads as they look today. He was the man who gave Tony Romo a chance to start at quarterback in Dallas (albeit at the behest of owner Jerry Jones) and he was overseeing the football operation in Miami until just a few years ago.
In the pro football betting odds that have been established on this game at BetAnySports, the Dolphins are favored only slightly
Miami Dolphins -1
Dallas Cowboys +1
Over 33 Points -110
Under 33 Points -110
So what can we expect as we look at the Cowboys in this pre-season opener?
Well, Dallas had at best a very predictable offense last season and that is because it did not establish a running game over sustained period of time. In fact, no Dallas team was ever less effective on the ground than they were in 2012. DeMarco Murray (+1500 to lead the league in rushing at BetAnySports) did not stay healthy; he can make a difference if he can stay in one piece for a whole season. Romo, who was sacked 36 times last season, can’t continue to be facing pressure from enemy pass rushers, although we must mention that Kyle Orton is not a bad backup. Second-year player Nick Stephens, from Tarleton State by way of Tennessee, will get third-string snaps.
One of the things that bears watching here is the battle that has emerged at the backup running back spot. Joseph Randle is a talented rookie out of Oklahoma State who can run or catch, and he was the one who figured to get a lot of playing time if Murray got hurt. But Lance Dunbar, a second-year man out of North Texas, is turning a lot of heads. Murray calls Dunbar a “really, really, special” player. Dunbar is 5’8″ and 190 pounds, so he isn’t going to be anything more than a situational back. But he has spent a year learning the offensive system, and you should see plenty of him.
The Cowboys (+3500 to win the Super Bowl in pro football betting at BetAnySports) may be shifting a little toward an offensive alignment that could help with that ground attack. The two-tight end set may be a major emphasis this season, with Jason Witten (who caught 110 passes last year) and rookie Gavin Escobar, who was a second-round pick out of San Diego State.
Dez Bryant is making a lot of noise in camp as if he is ready to bust out and become an All-Pro. He says he wants to gain 2000 yards receiving, and while that figure may not be within reach, if Romo can manage to connect enough in the short passing game to Witten and Escobar, that will open things up considerably for Bryant down the field. In that case, he may be someone to follow at +800 in pro football betting to have the NFL’s most receiving yards, as posted by BetAnySports.
The defense is going through a bit of a transformation. Monte Kiffin, who handled the defense for many years in Tampa Bay before going with his son Lane on a couple of coaching stops, is in Dallas now, and installing the “Tampa 2″ defense that has been much imitated around the league. This requires a shift from a 3-4 alignment to a 4-3. And the Cowboys are going to find out how much depth they have, because defensive ends Tyrone Crawford (out for year) and Anthony Spencer (out for a month) are not available; defensive tackle Jay Ratliff won’t be in camp for at least a couple of weeks, and of course, defensive tackle Josh Brent, who drove the car that killed teammate Jerry Brown late last year, has retired.
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