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Eagles vs. Cowboys predictions: Four props for Saturday’s NFC East showdown

Expect QB Minshew to play it safe in Dallas and rely heavily on WR Smith

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith has gained at least 50 receiving yards in each of his last six games. Smith is projected for 49.5 receiving yards Saturday against the Cowboys in Dallas. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith has gained at least 50 receiving yards in each of his last six games. Smith is projected for 49.5 receiving yards Saturday against the Cowboys in Dallas. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)Read moreMichael Reaves / Getty Images

Jalen Hurts’ absence from Saturday’s Eagles vs. Cowboys clash didn’t just impact the point spread, moneyline and total. It also has affected the prop betting market.

With Gardner Minshew taking over under center for the ailing Hurts, oddsmakers expect Philadelphia to score fewer points and the team’s skill players to put up more modest numbers than usual.

What do we expect? Read on for our four pack of Eagles vs. Cowboys prop bet predictions, starting with the co-pilot who is now in control of Philadelphia’s supersonic jet.

Odds updated as of 9:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 22.

Eagles vs. Cowboys prop: Gardner Minshew total interceptions thrown

  1. Odds: 0.5 interceptions, Over -110/Under -120 (at BetMGM)

  2. Prediction: Under

Minshew threw a pick against the Cowboys in Week 17 last year when Hurts rested in what was essentially a meaningless game for Philadelphia.

However, it was the only one he had in 60 pass attempts over three games for Philadelphia (including a start at the Jets in Week 13).

Throw in his two seasons in Jacksonville and Minshew has thrown interceptions in 10 of the 30 games he’s played (22 starts). That includes just two picks in his last seven starts, during which he’s thrown 240 passes.

Minshew obviously understands just how important ball security will be Saturday — there’s little margin for error against an opportunistic Dallas defense that has picked off 14 passes this season. (Only Houston, with 16, has more.)

» READ MORE: Super Bowl Odds: Jalen Hurts’ injury doesn’t change Eagles’ position

That’s why we fully expect Eagles coach Nick Sirianni to craft a conservative game plan — when it’s time to pass, look for him to call a lot of short, safe throws.

Is it possible Minshew will have to put the pigskin at risk if Philadelphia faces a big deficit? Absolutely. Just as it’s possible Minshew could be the victim of a tipped-pass interception.

Really, though, those are the only two ways we see this prop bet going up in flames.

Eagles vs. Cowboys prop: DeVonta Smith total receiving yards

  1. Odds: 49.5 yards, Over -101/Under -135 (at Caesars Sportsbook)

  2. Prediction: Over

This one is mostly based on something we mentioned in the Minshew interception prop analysis: Rather than try to pick up huge chunks of yards with long-range throws down the field, Minshew probably will be asked to get the ball out of his hands quickly and let his playmakers take it from there.

If that assumption is on target, Smith is the player most likely to have a big yardage game. The Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama has reliable hands to go with blinding speed — the perfect combination to turn 7-yard passes into 20-plus-yard gains.

Smith also has awoken from a midseason slumber. From Weeks 4-10, he had just one game with more than 44 receiving yards (he had 87 in Week 5 at Arizona, a week before getting 44 against Dallas at home).

However, going back to the Eagles’ 17-16 victory at Indianapolis right before Thanksgiving, Smith has put up yardage totals of 78, 50, 102, 64 and 126.

Of course, Hurts was the man delivering the pigskin in those contests. But as we noted, Hurts’ absence (and Minshew’s presence) has changed the prop-odds game.

Smith would have a yardage projection well north of 60 if Hurts was playing.

Will Smith match his 12.7 yards-per-reception average Saturday? Probably not. But let’s say he drops to 10 yards per catch. He’ll only need to catch five balls to get clear this prop number.

That seems reasonable, considering Smith has 6, 6, 4, 5, 5 and 5 receptions the last six games. There’s no reason to think Smith won’t maintain that reception pace, even with tight end Dallas Goedert probably returning from injury.

Play this prop Over at Caesars Sportsbook.

Eagles vs. Cowboys prop: Ezekiel Elliot total rushing yards

  1. Odds: 60.5, Over -115/Under -115 (at BetMGM)

  2. Prediction: Under

Elliott trucked the Eagles for 81 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries back in Week 6. That 6.2 yards-per-carry average is by far the best of the season for the Cowboys’ veteran tailback.

However, that’s when Philadelphia’s run defense couldn’t stop a runny nose. During a five-game stretch from Weeks 5-9, the Eagles gave up an average of 144.6 rushing yards, with every opponent gaining at least 124 yards.

Since then, Philly’s run defense is yielding just 114.4 yards per contest. And if you take out the 95 yards Bears quarterback Justin Fields rumbled for last week, that 114.4 average drops to 95.4.

Elliott has been mostly consistent since the game in Philadelphia. Over his last six contests, he’s had between 15 and 17 carries, while gaining between 42 and 58 yards four times.

The outliers: 42 yards in a 40-3 win at Minnesota and 92 yards in a 28-20 home victory over the Giants.

Our hunch for Saturday? Dallas will rely more on the younger, fresher, faster Tony Pollard and save Elliott for the down-and-dirty runs.

And why not? Since being limited to 11 carries and 44 yards against the Eagles, Pollard has rushed for at least 75 yards in six of eight games (averaging 84.6 per contest).

So if the Cowboys get the run game going, bet on Pollard to do the damage, not Zeke.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

Eagles vs. Cowboys prop: CeeDee Lamb to score anytime touchdown

  1. Odds: +140 (at BetMGM)

This prop is a bit risky, because the Eagles’ secondary is the best in the league.

Philadelphia gives up just 172.4 passing yards per game — nearly 13 yards fewer than second-ranked Green Bay. And the 18 touchdowns passes the Eagles have allowed are tied for 10th fewest in the NFL.

On top of that, Lamb was held in check at Lincoln Financial Field in mid-October, catching five passes for 68 yards while failing to get across the goal line.

However, Lamb’s quarterback in that game was Cooper Rush. Since Dak Prescott returned to the lineup in Week 8, Lamb has enjoyed a few monster efforts. He’s also found the end zone in three of seven games (including twice at Green Bay).

Lamb has just one touchdown in five career starts against the Eagles (at home back in 2020). But he should get a bunch of targets Saturday, as Prescott tries to get one of his most explosive weapons involved early and often.

Bet on Lamb to take at least one ball to the house, end a two-game touchdown drought and cash this nice plus-money prop at BetMGM.

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.