Oddsmakers are preparing for running back Ezekiel Elliott to play for the Dallas Cowboys (1-0) yet again on Sunday, pegging them as small road favorites visiting the Denver Broncos (1-0) at the sportsbooks.
The 2016 rushing champion's six-game suspension remains on hold at the moment, allowing him to continue to play until a definitive ruling is made prohibiting him to do so.
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 22.8-17.4 Broncos (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Cowboys can cover the spread
You cannot fault the Cowboys for riding their horse into Denver after watching Elliott total 104 yards on 24 carries in a 19-3 win over the New York Giants last Sunday night. If he can stay on the field, he is arguably the best running back in the NFL, and Dallas will take advantage of his talents as long as possible.
The Cowboys, entering the week at +1400 (bet $100 to win $1400) on the odds to win the Super Bowl, played well defensively against the Giants as well, and this may turn out to be another low-scoring affair where the team with the better running game wins.
Why the Broncos can cover the spread
The Broncos nearly let one slip away on Monday night in a 24-21 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers, and first-year head coach Vance Joseph would be wise not to take his foot off the pedal here if they get off to another fast start.
Turnovers nearly doomed Denver late versus Los Angeles, as a Trevor Siemian interception and Jamaal Charles fumble led to two late touchdowns for the opposition. Siemian is nothing special at quarterback, and he needs to be more of a game manager rather than try to make things happen like counterpart Dak Prescott.
The Broncos have a strong running game behind Charles and C.J. Anderson, and they have a better defense than Dallas.
This game has under written all over it, especially with Elliott playing. Do not expect many touchdowns in this one, as the defenses will rule the day. Denver will be frustrated by its finish on Monday and play much better for a full 60 minutes. Meanwhile, the Cowboys will be able to frustrate Siemian and force him into some more mistakes.
The under is 4-1 in the past five late afternoon games for the Broncos and 6-1 in the previous seven Dallas road games. When it comes down to it, points will be at a premium as the under cashes easily.
NFL betting trends
The total has gone over in six of the Cowboys' last seven games against the Broncos.
The total has gone under in four of the Broncos' last five games in the late afternoon.
The Cowboys are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games.
All NFL odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.