The Dallas Cowboys will host the Detroit Lions on the final Monday Night Football game of the year. Kickoff is set for 8:30 EST at AT&T Stadium and will be televised on ESPN. Oddsmakers have Dallas listed as a 7.5-point favorite with the total at 44.5 points. Click here for more free NFL betting leans and game odds.

Lions vs Cowboys Vegas Odds Preview

Detroit (9-5) comes in off a 6-17 loss on the road to the Giants as a 4-point dog. The defeat snapped the Lions 5-game winning streak. It also put a ton of pressure on Detroit, as Green Bay is now just 1-game back in the NFC North.

Dallas (12-2) didn’t let their loss to the Giants in Week 14 linger. The Cowboys responded with a 26-20 win at home against the Bucs on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys have already clinched playoff spot, but still need 1 more win or Giants loss to secure the No. 1 seed.

Free Pick & Betting Predictions: Lions +7.5

This is a tough game to predict right now. In fact, I would be hesitant to bet on this game until after Saturday’s games. We just don’t know what this game is going to mean to either team. We also don’t know if either team will rest their stars if it ends up not mattering.

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If the Giants were to lose on Thursday, Dallas will have clinched the No. 1 seed. Thus, making this a meaningless game. If New York wins (they are favored), the Cowboys will certainly show up to clinch that top spot in the NFC.

For Detroit, there’s a couple of different scenarios to watch. If the Vikings upset the Packers on the road, the Lions could clinch the NFC North with a win. Detroit could also clinch a Wild Card spot with a win and Bucs loss (@ New Orleans).

The one to keep an eye on is this last scenario. The Lions could clinch a Wild Card spot with Bucs loss, Redskins loss (@ Bears) and Falcons win (@ Panthers). If that happens and Green Bay wins, this game becomes meaningless for Detroit. They would have already locked up a Wild Card. Win or lose, they would still need to beat the Packers at home in Week 17 to win the division.

Given all that, I think the most likely scenario is that this game ends up meaning something to both teams. I also think Dallas plays their starters even if the Giants lose. The key here is the Cowboys are being overvalued by the books right now. If you are going to play this one early, I think it has to be on the Lions. If New York were to lose on Thursday, this line will almost certainly go down below a touchdown.

I also think Detroit matches up well with Dallas. The Lions defense has really improved of late. Detroit hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in 8 straight games. They are also giving up just 86.6 rushing yards/game over their last 7. I know Stafford is dealing with an injury, but he played well with it last week. Completing 24 of 39 for 273 yards against an elite Giants defense.

Personally, I would wait this one out, just in case this game is meaningless for Detroit. If that were to happen, I don’t think Stafford plays.