A spot in the NFC Championship game is on the line tonight as the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers face off in Santa Clara, California. This is a postseason rematch from last year, where the 49ers defeated the Cowboys in Dallas 23-17. Much has changed since then, however, as the 49ers now have a legitimate offense headlined by Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey.
Purdy, selected with the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is 6-0 as the starter since taking over under center, and his 121.4 passer rating is the best registered by any quarterback in a six-game span all season. Since he took over for Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers have ranked first in points per game (34.8), yards per play (6.8), yards per rush (5.5) and yards per pass (8.8).
You could make the argument the 49ers have the most dangerous offense in the NFL, but the Cowboys’ unit is no slouch either. The Cowboys actually lead the NFL in points per game since Dak Prescott returned from injury. The quarterback for “America’s Team” is coming off an incredible performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in which he scored five total touchdowns and registered a 143.3 passer rating. Can he carry the Cowboys to an upset victory this weekend?
Below, we will examine the different betting angles for this matchup. We will provide picks from both CBS Sports and SportsLine experts on this NFC showdown, as well as a few player props that we view as enticing.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
Date: Sunday, Jan. 22 | Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, California)
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Odds: 49ers -4, O/U 46.5
Cowboys at 49ers spread picks
“The crazy thing about this game is that there’s definitely a chance that it could turn into an offensive shootout. Since Week 7, these have been the TWO HIGHEST SCORING teams in the NFL and that mainly has to do with the fact that both teams had something big happen that week: The 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey while Dak Prescott returned from his injury.
“Although this game could turn into a shootout, it also could turn into a defensive struggle and that’s because both of these teams rank in the top five for fewest points allowed during the 2022 season.
“The most fascinating coaching matchup in this game definitely involves Kyle Shanahan’s offense going up against Dan Quinn’s defense. I swear, any time those two guys are on the same field together, something crazy happens. I’m sure everyone remembers the Falcons‘ epic collapse in Super Bowl LI. In that game, the Falcons head coach was Quinn while the offensive coordinator was Shanahan, so I guess we’re going to finally find out who we should blame for Atlanta’s collapse.
“The 49ers have been one of the best teams in the NFL this year, but I’m still not sure how they’re going to look against a good team. The 49ers had the easiest strength of schedule in the NFL this year and half their wins came in a bad division (Including the playoffs, they went 7-0 against NFC West teams and 7-4 against everyone else). Also, since Brock Purdy took over the starting job, the 49ers haven’t really been tested because they haven’t really faced any good teams. Purdy has looked great, but he faced five teams in the regular season that finished with a combined record of 35-49-1.
“Last year, the 49ers were the underdog and I picked them to upset the Cowboys. This year, I’m doing the opposite. Only four rookie quarterbacks — Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez — have ever made it to a conference title game and I don’t think Purdy is going to be the fifth.
“And you know what, I’ll even say this things ends with a game-winning field goal from the guy (Brett Maher) who can’t make an extra point.”
John Breech loves underdogs this week, and he’s taking the Cowboys to advance to the NFC Championship game. To read his divisional round column, click here.
“The 49ers beat the Cowboys at their place in last year’s playoffs, so this will be a chance for the Cowboys to even things up. Dallas beat Tampa Bay on Monday night, so this is another road game on a short week, which will challenge them. The 49ers will actually have an extra day of rest since they played last Saturday. But the Cowboys seemed to find their offense against the Bucs, especially Dak Prescott. The 49ers have a better defense than Tampa Bay, but the Dallas offense will be able to move the ball. For the 49ers, it will come down to Brock Purdy against the Dallas pressure. Purdy has been outstanding since taking over as the starter with five games left in the regular season. He played well in beating the Seahawks last week, but this will be the best defense he has faced. The Dallas pass rush can be disruptive, which I think happens here. Prescott will get the better of it between the two quarterbacks in this one as Dallas pulls off the upset.”
CBS Sports Senior NFL Writer Pete Prisco likes the Cowboys to upset the 49ers on Sunday. To read his breakdown of the divisional round, click here.
Before you make any Cowboys vs. 49ers picks or NFL divisional round predictions, you need to see what SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein has to say. A former lead writer for Covers and The Linemakers, Hartstein combines a vast network of Vegas sources with an analytical approach he honed while working for Pro Football Focus. He entered the 2022 NFL season 427-344 all time on NFL side picks (plus $3,764 for $100 players), including 394-330 against the spread. Hartstein went 68-50 ATS and 8-3 on money-line plays last season for a profit of $1,552. Hartstein also is 14-4 on his last 18 against-the-spread picks involving the Cowboys, meaning he’s uniquely qualified to make this pick.
We can tell you he’s leaning Over on the point total, but to check out his official pick, head on over to SportsLine.
Cowboys at 49ers total picks
Before you make any Cowboys vs. 49ers picks or NFL playoff predictions, you need to check out the latest NFL predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model. The model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up well over $7,000 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks since its inception. The model enters the divisional round of the 2023 NFL playoffs on an incredible 162-113 run on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season. It is also on a 16-6 roll on top-rated NFL picks since Week 7 of this season.
Now, the model has simulated Cowboys vs. 49ers 10,000 times. We can tell you it’s leaning Under the total, but to see all the model has to say, head on over to SportsLine.
“The 49ers have hit the Over in four straight games now, and are 10-8 to the Over on the year. The Cowboys on the other hand are 9-9 when it comes to the total. This is the lowest total on the board this weekend, so I’m going to take the Over and root for points.” — CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani
Brandon Aiyuk longest reception: Over 22.5 (-121). Aiyuk has crossed this line in six out of the last eight games(!) Last Saturday, he caught a 31-yard pass vs. the Seahawks.
Brock Purdy interceptions: Over 0.5 (-127). Purdy hasn’t thrown an interception since New Year’s Day, but I’m calling my shot. He throws one on Sunday. Purdy looked pretty off to start Super Wild Card Weekend before putting together a strong second half vs. Seattle. Maybe something similar happens this week.