The Cowboys (6-4) have been very inconsistent this season but they have a big opportunity in Week 12 against the Patriots (9-1) at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox).
Dallas leads the NFC East by a game and a head-to-head tiebreaker over Philadelphia, while New England leads the AFC East by two games and a head-to-head tiebreaker over Buffalo.
The Patriots just dispatched the Eagles in Week 11, while the Cowboys got a much-needed rebound win at the Lions. Dak Prescott and Dallas' offense is red-hot, while Tom Brady has some frustrations over New England's offense.
Here's everything to know about betting on Cowboys vs. Patriots, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for the Week 12 matchup.
Cowboys vs. Patriots odds
Spread: Patriots by 6.5
Point total: 45.5
The Cowboys have been around touchdown underdogs on the road since the initial lines were released. The Patriots saw the number go up to 7 in their favor earlier in the week. The Patriots are about the level of favorites they were against the Ravens, plus the three default points for home-field advantage.
Cowboys vs. Patriots all-time series
The Patriots haven't lost this century to the Cowboys, going 5-0 since 1999. Before then, the Cowboys had won the previous seven meetings. This is the first time the Patriots will face the Cowboys with Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. With Brady as their quarterback in four regular-season games against the Cowboys, the Patriots have won by an average margin of more than 15 points.
Three trends to know
— Spread bettors are split 50-50 on taking the Cowboys or Patriots. The Cowboys are attention from 66 percent of moneyline bettors to win straight up.
— The Cowboys have won and covered in three of their past four games. The Patriots have won in covered in five of the past six games.
— 52 percent of bettors like the point total to go over, despite the Patriots' offensive limitations and defensive strengths. Both teams are scoring nearly 29 points per game, however.
Three things to watch
Brady and his receivers
Josh Gordon is gone. There are rumors of Antonio Brown coming back, but not this week. The Patriots will be without Mohamed Sanu, who hurt his ankle against the Eagles. Phillip Dorsett may not play with a concussion. So expect Brady to go often to his two most trusted pass-catchers, Julian Edelman and James White, looking for them to create mismatches against linebackers and defensive backs.
Dak and his receivers
Prescott leads the NFL in passing yards with 3,221 after throwing for 444 yards to reflect his jersey number three times over in Detroit. He's reeled off three consecutive three passing-TD games. Top wideout Amari Cooper should be healthier this week for his tough matchup with cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and second-year No. 2 MIchael Gallup and veteran slot man Randall Cobb each went for more than 100 yards last week. The backs and tight ends also have been involved at the right times. The Patriots' secondary is deep, but it will draw its biggest test of the season by far.
Jason Garrett vs. Bill Belichick
Garrett tends to go conservative at the wrong times, and it has cost the Cowboys some big games. Their losses this season are against the Packers, Saints, Vikings and Jets. Garrett needs to let offensive coordinator Kellen Moore push the gas pedal with Prescott and not play a ball-control game given the Patriots don't have the firepower to keep up should the Cowboys throw themselves to a lead.
Stat that matters
The Patriots have the No. 10-ranked run defense in the NFL in terms of average yards allowed per game at 97.3. But when you look at the average yards per carry of 4.6, that's No. 24 in the NFL. The Cowboys haven't had the typical monster rushing games from Ezekiel Elliott, partly because they have great trust in Prescott throwing often. But they average 4.6 yards per carry when they do run the ball.
Cowboys vs. Patriots prediction
This game should live up to the expectations as an instant classic between two very talented teams. The Cowboys' offense is too loaded with a strong running game and mobile QB to think the Patriots will dominate there, much like the struggles in the Ravens matchup. The Patriots' offense is compressed with a sputtering running game and no deep passing game, which works well for the Cowboys' talented back seven. The teams will meet in the middle with the points scored here, with Dallas pulling off the considerable upset.
Cowboys 27, Patriots 24