New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys: Zeke's availability to play is the key

Can Eli Manning lead his Giants to a big win over the rival Cowboys>
Can Eli Manning lead his Giants to a big win over the rival Cowboys>

The opening Sunday Night Football match-up gives us one of the most hated rivalries in north American sport. Neil Monnery previews the game that could be decided by injuries and a Texas judge...


"Dak Prescott returns to the helm of the offense having picked up Rookie of the Year honours a year ago. Expect him to have the reins loosened and throw more this year as they look to get star wide receiver Dez Bryant more involved in down the field plays.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Start-time: Monday 11 September, 01:30 BST
TV: Live on Sky Sports Action & Main Event


For the Cowboys...


Sadly we have to start this section with news from the courts as late on Friday evening UK time, Ezekiel Elliott won a temporary restraining order against the NFL, thus allowing him to play on Sunday and potentially the whole season.

Without going into the off the field matters, for the Cowboys this could be a Super Bowl winning judgement. The former Buckeye is one of the very best running back's in the NFL and if they lost him for six games as initially suspended, their playoff hopes were in the balance.

Dak Prescott returns to the helm of the offense having picked up Rookie of the Year honours a year ago. Expect him to have the reins loosened and throw more this year as they look to get star wide receiver Dez Bryant more involved in down the field plays.

Lastly, you always have to take note of the quality of that O-line in Dallas. Ronald Leary and Doug Free have both left but I don't expect to see much drop-off in their ability to create running lanes and give Prescott that extra step he needs to find his open man.


For the Giants...


As of the time of writing on Saturday morning, their best player in rated at only 50:50 to start. Odell Beckham Jr. has rolled off three straight season's with double-digit TD catches and over 1,300 receiving yards. The former Tiger is a mismatch for Dallas, so if he doesn't make it, it would be a big blow to the visitors.

Picking up the slack would be new-boy Brandon Marshall. The veteran has come over from the Jets in the off season but is still a top 25 WR. If he was starting opposite Beckham, that would be a net positive for the Giants.

Jason Pierre-Paul showed signs of returning to the all-pro talent that we all know he has from the defensive end position last year. That will need to continue in the early hours of Monday morning UK time if the upset is to go down.

Lastly we have to mention the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning. He's has long been maligned as a player who blows extremely hot and cold, yet on his best day is capable of leading his offense down the field at crucial times.


The Picks...


I'm picking this game on the proviso that Beckham doesn't start. With that being said, I like the Cowboys at home straight up and would just take them with the four point handicap on the exchange. This is currently priced at 2.01/1.

I do see this being a close game with not a lot of scoring. The total points market is set at 47.5pts as default and you can go under that for 1.9520/21 on the Exchange.

Side market wise, I am a sucker for a small play on either teams defense or special team scoring a touchdown. You can get either side at 5/1 to score this way on the Sportsbook. I like that price.


Recommended Bets

2pt Back Dallas-4.0 to win on the Handicap market at 2.01/1 on the Exchange
2pt Back under 47.5pts at 1.9520/21 on the Exchange
1pt Back Dallas D/ST to score at any time at 5/1 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back New York D/ST to score at any time at 5/1 on the Sportsbook


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