Does Bagging Dak Prescott Improve Dallas Cowboys’ Super Bowl 56 Odds?

 

Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a touchdown pass. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a touchdown pass. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

Should NFL bettors buy what the Dallas Cowboys are selling in NFL betting markets now that they’ve bagged Dak Prescott?

Dak Prescott’s contract negotiations have dominated NFL headlines for such a long time that it was understandably a relief to learn the breaking news that his representatives and the Dallas Cowboys finally came to an agreement on Monday, putting to bed an exhaustive contract saga that has been dragging on for the better part of three seasons.

As per NFL insiders, it’s a hefty contract that benefits Prescott in many ways. Not only is it a massive four-year deal that’s worth $160 million with $126 million guaranteed, making him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league, but it gives him control over his future. It’s a short-term deal that can be renegotiated in three years and it gives Prescott the added assurance of a no-trade clause and no-franchise tag.

Prescott certainly got what he wanted and the Dallas Cowboys’ immediate future got clearer – at least for the foreseeable. However. now that Prescott has bagged this mega deal, the conversation is seeing a perceptible shift. No longer is the discussion about whether Prescott should get paid but rather whether he’s worth the money. In other words, will the Cowboys get what they’re paying for in 2021 because the kind of money they threw his way means only one thing: championship expectations.

And you can bet that the Dallas Cowboys’ 2021 season is going to be closely followed as a result. Every aspect will be examined in the context of Prescott’s deal, weighted and measured for merit.

For now, early prognostications are conservative. According to numerous top-rated betting sites, the Cowboys are being dubbed as middleweights in Super Bowl 56 futures betting markets. They’re nowhere near the top bets deemed to be viable contenders for the Lombardy trophy.

Some of that might have to do with how badly 2020 went for the Cowboys, who were debuting new head coach Mike McCarthy. And losing Dak Prescott to a horrific injury after playing merely four full games in 2020 didn’t help either. And yet, it may go deeper than that. Taking into consideration the fact that Dak Prescott, who is merely 1-2 SU in the playoffs after five seasons with the Cowboys, has a lot to prove in the postseason.

Dak Prescott has been a statistical marvel since entering the league as a fourth-round draft pick in 2016. He’s the only one of his class to be still with the same team that drafted him, and of the seven quarterbacks that went in the draft ahead of him, he’s one of three that’s still active in the league (the other four are out of the league already).

How Prescott became the Dallas Cowboys’ starting quarterback is nothing short of remarkable. A bit of a Cinderella story, if you will that has captured the imagination of fans and defied the NFL odds.

Dak Prescott entered the league as a fourth-round pick, selected with the 135th pick in the 2016 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. By virtue of where he went in the draft, one could argue his viability in the league was iffy right from the start. Any opportunity to see the field was down to chance, fortune, fate, all of which were out of his hands. After all, the Cowboys had a viable starter in Tony Romo at the time.

Quarterbacks that go deep in the draft don’t always get the chance to start. On the contrary, they’re more likely spend the bulk of their time on the side-lines, getting called on to start in limited capacity. Functioning as spare heirs to the most important position in football that teams often have to insure in anticipation of the dreaded worst-case scenario.

Nobody could have predicted what transpired in 2016, but it certainly changed the landscape in Dallas forevermore. After the Cowboys lost starting quarterback Tony Romo in the preseason, few held much hope for America’s favourite team in their upcoming campaign. Certainly, across multiple top betting sites, their odds took a significant hit.

Tale told, Prescott, who stepped in for the injured Romo, stole the show to the chagrin of all and sundry as he led the Cowboys to a 13-3-0 SU mark, which to date is Dallas’ best record under Prescott. Thus, not only did he have one of the best seasons by a rookie offensive pivot, earning him the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award by season end, but he also led the Cowboys to the NFC East title and, in turn, the playoffs.

Dallas’s postseason sojourn was short-lived though, as the Cowboys lost to the Packers in the first round. That notwithstanding, in the broad spectrum of the franchise’s aspirations, the future looked bright all of a sudden. A star was born. Prescott had made his case for the starting job, prompting Tony Romo to announce his retirement officially at the end of the season to make way for the dawn of a new era in Dallas.

Since Prescott’s impressive debut in 2016, the Cowboys’ performance has been mixed, They’ve only gone on to win one more NFC East title (2018) over the span of five seasons. In 2017, the Cowboys went 9-7-0 and missed the playoffs. A year later they went on to a 10-6-0 finish to win the NFC East title. The last two years, the Cowboys have put a 14-18-0 record combined (8-8-0 and 6-10-0, respectively) and missed the postseason.

The Cowboys have advanced no further than the second round of the playoffs under Dak Prescott. That came in 2018 when Prescott led the Cowboys to a win over the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round. In the divisional round, they lost to the Los Angeles Rams. The upshot: Prescott’s postseason record is merely 1-2 SU since 2016.

Dak Prescott has put up a 42-27-0 record overall, 106 TDs and 40 Interceptions as Dallas’ starter. Statistically, he’s peppered the stats sheet with impressive numbers, including the first four games that he completed during the 2020 season before his season-ending injury. That said, he led the Cowboys to a 1-3 SU record before his season ended in week 5 against the NY Giants, and the Cowboys went on to finish with a 6-10 SU record overall,

Regardless of how badly 2020 went, it’s clear that the Dallas Cowboys believe in Prescott’s worth. Why else sign him on the dotted line. But in the absence of meaningful results, it raises the questions of the wisdom of Dallas’ investment in the signal caller in lieu of postseason results. We’ve already seen the Rams ship Jared Goff, a former Super Bowl finalist to Detroit, despite paying him handsomely only a couple of years ago. Then there’s the fact that the league has seen plenty of quarterbacks that are statistically sound but that have fallen short of the mark in the postseason over their careers; quarterbacks such as Philipp Rivers, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, and more, all of which have littered stats sheets but haven’t underscored their elite play with a Super Bowl triumph.

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