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NFL Colts at Cowboys

August 09, 2007

NFL Football Preseason - Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys (-5, 34) 8:00 PM EST

Terrell Owens of the CowboysOddsmakers originally set the host Cowboys as a 3-point favorite, but public sentiment based upon the recent preseason history of the teams has since pushed that line to five at

The Colts haven't been known to take the exhibition season all that seriously in recent years. They prefer to just go about their work in getting ready for the regular season while ensuring their stars don't get injured.

This can certainly be evidenced by the fact that they've covered just two of their last 10 preseason games. Ironically though, those two spread covers came in both of their road games in 2006, and in fact, Indy's ATS record on the road has been 6-3 ATS since 2002.

Another trend following the Colts to Dallas is one that deals with the total. The Colts have gone OVER in five of their last six games against the NFC.

Most of the scoring in these games has been done of course by the opponent, since they've yielded 22.3 PPG in those contests.

While not an astronomical total in regular season land, that many points allowed in enough to rank in the bottom fourth of the league ranks annually in the exhibition season.

Dallas comes into Thursday's game as one of the hottest preseason teams around, having gone 11-4-1 SU & 11-5 ATS in the last four exhibition campaigns.

However, that success came under Bill Parcells, a coach who was known for wanting to establish a winning way at this time of year. With Wade Phillips in to replace him, it remains to be seen how Dallas will treat the 2007 tune-up games.

Of note on the Dallas side of things for this game is that the Cowboys have not lost a preseason game at home since 2001, a span of nine games and are 7-2 ATS in that span.

They are also 6-1 OVER the Total in their last seven exhibition games against AFC opponents, so both team would seem to be trending to a higher scoring game tonight, despite a posted total that has dropped from 37.5 to 34.

Be it fluke or not, Dallas established a new identity under Parcells in its exhibition games. Known as one of the doormats of August in the Jimmy Johnson-Barry Switzer era of Super Bowl Titles, the Cowboys have gone from one of the heavy fade teams to a must follow in a short time frame.

Statistically, you need point no further than the points allowed category to find out why Dallas has truly been "Big D" in the preseason. Over the last four years, they have ranked either 1st or 2nd in the NFL three times. Last season, they yielded just 6.8 PPG, and not a single opponent eclipsed the 10-point mark.

While Thursday's game will be brought to you in stunning FOX HD with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on hand to deliver the call, don't expect anything close to a big game atmosphere. In fact, judging from comments by both coaches, don't expect to see the stars around for too long if even at all.

The Cowboys have indicated some players will miss the game at Texas Stadium because of injuries and for precautionary reasons. However, Terrell Owens is not one of them.

"Terrell will play," Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips indicated, and added "We're planning on playing our first-group at least a quarter," said Phillips, who added the starters could play more. "And then we'll go from there."

Among those that will be out for Dallas are Wide receiver Terry Glenn and both starting tackles - Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo.

Dallas' QB rotation figures to be 1. Tony Romo, 2. Brad Johnson, 3. Matt Moore, and 4. Richard Bartel.

Indianapolis plans to go with 1. Peyton Manning, 2. Jim Sorgi, and 3. Josh Betts. While the Colts have been saying the right things about "wanting to win", etc, Dungy said he estimates most starters and front-line players playing about "10-to-15 plays."

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