The Lede: Zeke to Play Week 1

By Keith Allison (Flickr) CC License

Don’t have time to read through 1,000 words, but need some informed betting tips? Here’s a quick rundown on today’s biggest sports story (as adjudged by me) and how it impacts the way you should bet.

Ezekiel Elliott Eligible to Play Week 1

In spite of NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson upholding Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension last night, a temporary restraining order filed by the NFLPA last week has made 2016’s rushing champ eligible for Dallas’ Week 1 matchup against the New York Giants.

To avoid getting too deep into the legal technicalities, here’s what you need to know about the potential outcomes: (1) Elliott’s suspension could start Week 2, if the restraining order is not granted; (2) the suspension could be avoided until 2018, or even later; and (3) the suspension could still be overturned completely. Here’s a more comprehensive explanation of the situation.

Judge Amos Mazzant III will make his ruling on the restraining order by Friday afternoon, but it won’t affect Zeke’s eligibility for Week 1. And since his Week 1 status is the only certainty right now, let’s focus on that. Does Zeke’s presence make the Cowboys a safe bet?

Takeaway: To quote a wise man, “All backs run the same when there’s nowhere to run.

Last season, the Giants only surrendered 3.6 yards per carry (second-fewest in NFL), and held the Cowboys to an average of 104.5 rushing yards per game — Dallas averaged 156.2 rushing yards per game in the other 14 weeks.

Even though Johnathan Hankins is no longer a Giant, their defensive line is still going to be extremely dominant. Damon “Snacks” Harrison is the best run-stuffing DT in the league — PFF even agrees — while Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon are much more than just edge-rushers. Regardless of who’s carrying the ball for Dallas, there’s not going to be much room.

Of course, having Zeke is obviously better than not having him. But Daily Fantasy Sports players must beware considering Elliott an RB1 this weekend. He only totaled 21.9 fantasy points in two games against the Giants last year.

For those looking to bet on the game, remember this Giants team beat Dallas twice last year, holding them to just 26 points combined. Due to Odell Beckham Jr’s uncertain status, most sportsbooks have closed the lines for the game. When it does open back up, if the line is any more than -3.5 for Dallas, the Giants are your play.