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Dallas Cowboys vs San Francisco 49ers NFL Free Pick, Odds, Preview, Prediction, 1/22/23


(1/18/23) 8:15 PM Eastern.

Spread: Cowboys +3.5 / 49ers -3.5

Moneyline: Cowboys +165 / 49ers -185

Total: Over / Under 45.5.

Dallas came out and played a fantastic game against Tampa. Both the offense and defense clicked in a dominant win over the Buccaneers. There were question marks about Dak’s recent play but he came in and answered the bell. Completing 25 of 33 passes (75.8%) for 305 yards and 4 passing touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown as well. It was easily the best playoff game of Dak’s career.

It’s a Dallas offense that will find some success against a 49ers defense that’s struggling a bit. Seattle may have only ended up with 23 points, but Geno was rather successful through the air. He completed 71.4% of his passes for 253 yards. It was untimely turnovers and penalties that sealed Seattle’s second half fate. Their first drive in the second half ended with a strip sack on San Fran’s 20 yard line. 2nd one ended from a pair of penalties that set them back to 1st and 25. The 3rd drive was a first play pick. And their final drive resulted in a touchdown. Some of that is the defense making plays, but it’s also the result of Geno Smith Geno Smithing.

San Fran has a secondary issue, their “Star” CB Chardavius Ward got cooked most of the Seahawk’s game by DK Metcalf. DK ended the day with 10 catches for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. On Ward’s flip side there’s CB Deommodore Lenoir, who’s been every opposing team’s favorite corner. From week 13 to 17 he allowed the 6th most yards and was targeted the 3rd most (Week 18 was against ARI and David Blough at QB). He allowed 62% of his targets to be completed for an average of 11.9 yards per reception during that time. He had a solid day against SEA but Geno was a bit busy carving up Ward. Then there’s safety Talanoa Hufanga backing them up who’s allowed 6 passing touchdowns since week 12. Geno threw on them last week, and Jarret Stidham carved em up for 365 yards 3 weeks ago. Dak will be able to throw.

Defensively Dallas presents the 49ers with issues. Purdy looked good against the 25th ranked scoring defense of Seattle but this Dallas defense ranks 4th in that category. Purdy’s average depth of target prior to the SEA game was just 6.6 yards. They could push it downfield because SEA has a team pass rush win rate of 34% (28th). They won’t have that same luxury as Dallas is tied for 1st in team pass rush win rate at 52%. Dallas plays an aggressive downhill defense and if SEA gets stuck in the short passing game the offense could end up smothered. Purdy also threw quite a few ducks against SEA and was fortunate not to get picked off. Only 1 of the 7 defenses Purdy has faced rank inside the top 15 of scoring defenses. What happens when Mr. Irrelevant faces some adversity and has to make big time throws on a big-time defense?

The Pick: Cowboys +3.5.

Ultimately Dallas is going to be able to move the ball through the air. San Fran allows 223.2 passing yards per game (20th) and an average of 262.3 in their Last 3 games. Geno Smith and Jarrett Stidham just threw all over them in recent weeks and that number would be even higher if not for facing QB David Blough and the Cardinals in between. Now they get Dak Prescott who just carved up a Buccs defense that ranked 9th in that category for a total of 305 yards and 4 touchdowns on 25/33 passing. Dallas also owns the 9th ranked rushing offense with Pollard leading the way at 5.2 YPC should San Fran keep a light box. On the flip side Purdy has never faced a defense like Dallas. Only 1 of the 7 defenses he’s faced rank inside the top 15 in scoring defense. Dallas will be the best at #4. The Cowboys also have a team pass rush win rate of 52% (T-1st) so he won’ be too comfortable when he drops back to pass. He made quite a few ugly and off target throws against SEA. Those throws will lead to turnovers against an aggressive downhill defense like Dallas who ranks 1st in the NFL in takeaways. The 49ers offense is in for a reality check. How will the young Purdy fare under pressure? What happens when he needs to make big time throws against a big-time defense in a big-time game? A lot of unanswered questions surround the rookie. It’s just his 8th NFL start in the biggest game of his football career on the game's biggest stage…


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