Mike McCarthy Using Cowboys-Eagles Betting Odds to Motivate Players

Oct 2, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (86) and wide receiver
Oct 2, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (86) and wide receiver / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Sports betting is infiltrating every element of the games these days, including coaches, apparently using Vegas odds as motivation.

With the Dallas Cowboys set as +5.5-point underdogs at FanDuel against the Rams in Los Angeles this week, Dallas coach Mike McCarthy was asked if he'd use that perceived slight as bulletin-board material for his players. Yes, was the answer, though there's certainly appears to be some tongue in cheek involved.

Any sign of disrespect can motivate a team. This spread certainly seems disrespectful given each team's performance this season.

The L.A. Rams are 2-2 but got embarrassed by the San Francisco 49ers last week and were equally unimpressive in their season-opening loss at home to the Buffalo Bills. They eked out wins against the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals, but quarterback Matt Stafford leads the NFL in interceptions, and their offense has been manhandled against the two elite defense they've faced.

Guess who has a great defense? Yeah, the Cowboys.

Dallas (3-1) is giving up the third-fewest points in the NFL, the seventh-fewest yards and has the fifth-best red zone defense. They're sacking opposing quarterbacks 9.55% of passing plays (4th in NFL) and giving up just 4.8 yards per pass (2nd in NFL). That's a recipe for an upset against a turnover-prone Rams offense that's also ranked 29th in yards per rush.

Sure, L.A. is at home, but Vegas tends to weigh home-field advantage at 3-points. So basically they're saying on a neutral field, they'd still favor the Rams by 2.5 points.

A lot of this has to do with Cooper Rush being the Cowboys quarterback. Certainly if you asked anyone three weeks ago if they'd bet Rush versus Stafford the answer would be Stafford 100% of the time. But Rush has led the Cowboys to three wins by being an exceptional game manager (zero turnovers so far), while Stafford has thrown six interceptions already.

It's unclear whether McCarthy will take all this betting fodder and feed it to the troops ahead of their game on Sunday, but the fact that he's even acknowledging it shows how deeply engrained betting has become in mainstream coverage. Four years ago, reporters wouldn't have dared asked that question for fear of reprisal from the NFL. Now, they're helping write coach's pregame speeches with betting odds.

What a world.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.