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Sat, 08/13/16 - 8:10 PM Dave Cokin | NFL Side
Free pick 278 LOS -3.5 (-110) Southpoint vs 277 DAL

I'm not an advocate of laying more than a field goal in pre-season games. But that's not a hard and fast rule, and under the right circumstances it's easy to make an exception. I believe this opening week NFLx contest between the Cowboys and Rams falls into that category.

The most important aspect for me early in the pre-season is trying to isolate teams that will likely have some real reason to want to win, even if the result doesn't count in the standings. I have a check mark next to the Rams for a rather obvious reason. They're looking to make an immediate splash in their new LA digs, and getting a win against the always high profile Cowboys would certainly be nice for this team.

That alone is not reason enough for me to bet the Rams, particularly with the point spread imposition that exists here. That's where training camp info comes into play. The Rams appear to be sailing along fairly smoothly as they transition to their new home, and I'm particularly encouraged by the apparent progress of Jared Goff. He's got a steep learning curve, as all rookie NFL QB's do, but Goff has looked good so far. Goff especially drew rave reviews for the way he handled a two-minute drill in practice, which is a situation that can be intimidating for raw rookies.

The Cowboys have already been dealt a blow with the loss of second unit QB Kellen Moore, who will be out for at least a couple months. That might not matter come regular season, but I think it's significant here. Tony Romo is certainly not likely to see much action, as the Cowboys need to do their best to keep him healthy for the real games. That means Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers will be logging most of the snaps under center, especially in these firct couple of pre-season games. 

I see a substantial QB edge as far as pre-season goes with what the Rams have, and I like the idea of backing the home team that likely wants to create a positive first impressiion with its new fan base. I'm backing the Rams as home chalk in this one!

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