The Dallas Cowboys are favored to win the NFC East in 2021 despite finishing with a 6-10 record last year. Dallas experienced numerous setbacks in 2020, including quarterback Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 and a defense that allowed the fifth-most points in the league (473). The Cowboys will begin working towards improving on Thursday when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2021 NFL Hall of Fame Game. The long-time rivals met at Dallas in Week 9 last season, with Pittsburgh defeating the Cowboys 24-19 for their eighth straight victory en route to a franchise-best 11-0 start.
Kickoff from Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. Pittsburgh is a two-point favorite in the latest Cowboys vs. Steelers odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 32.5. Before locking in any Steelers vs. Cowboys picks or 2021 Hall of Fame Game predictions, make sure you see what SportsLine NFL expert R.J. White has to say.
CBS Sports’ Fantasy and gambling editor, White ended the 2020 season on an 80-59 run on all NFL picks, returning more than $1,400 during that span. It’s no surprise, as White has cashed huge twice in the world’s most prestigious football handicapping competition, the Las Vegas SuperContest.
In addition, White has gone an astounding 44-24-3 on his last 71 picks involving Pittsburgh, returning more than $1,700. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, White has locked in on Cowboys vs. Steelers from every angle and released a confident against-the-spread pick. You can visit SportsLine now to see it. Here are several NFL odds and trends for Steelers vs. Cowboys:
- Cowboys vs. Steelers spread: Pittsburgh -2
- Cowboys vs. Steelers over-under: 32.5 points
- Cowboys vs. Steelers money line: Dallas +105, Pittsburgh -125
- DAL: The Cowboys have won their last three appearances in the Hall of Fame Game
- PIT: The Steelers fell to 3-3 in the Hall of Fame Game after losing to Minnesota in 2015
Why the Steelers can cover
Despite a suspect offensive line, Pittsburgh should be able to provide enough protection for its quarterbacks to move the ball and put up points against Dallas’ soft defense. Mason Rudolph has been tabbed as the starter by head coach Mike Tomlin, but Dwayne Haskins and Joshua Dobbs will see action. Rudolph started eight games in place of an injured Ben Roethlisberger in 2019, while Haskins made 13 starts in parts of two seasons with Washington before being released last year.
The strength of the team, however, is on the other side of the ball. The Steelers ranked third in the NFL in total defense (305.8), pass defense (194.4) and scoring defense (19.5 points) in 2021 and led the league with 56 sacks. TJ Watt, who was first in the NFL last season with a career-high 15 sacks, won’t be on the field while he waits for a contract extension and fellow linebacker Bud Dupree (eight sacks) is now with Tennessee. Pittsburgh added another pass-rusher in Melvin Ingram, who recorded seven or more sacks with the Chargers for five straight years before being limited to seven games last season due to knee injuries.
Why the Cowboys can cover
Dallas proved it was serious about improving its main weakness in the 2021 NFL Draft, as its first six selections were defensive players. The Cowboys are putting plenty of stock in Micah Parsons, a linebacker at Penn State who was taken with the 12th overall pick. The 22-year-old opted out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but registered 191 tackles and 6.5 sacks over 26 games in his two campaigns with the Nittany Lions.
Parsons possesses size, range, and quick feet, which new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn hopes will allow him to complement DeMarcus Lawrence on the pass rush with Aldon Smith (five sacks in 2020) now in Seattle. Another draft pick who could help track down opposing quarterbacks is Osa Odighizuwa, who was selected out of UCLA in the third round. The defensive tackle was second on the Bruins in 2020 with four sacks in seven games and third with six tackles for loss en route to being a first-team All-Conference selection in the Pac-12.
How to make Steelers vs. Cowboys picks
White has analyzed this matchup and while we can tell you he’s leaning over the total, he has discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. He’s only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins the 2021 Hall of Fame Game? And which critical X-factor makes one side of the spread hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see R.J. White’s Cowboys vs. Steelers pick, all from the NFL expert who’s 44-24-3 on picks involving Pittsburgh, and find out.