It's officially July. That means feeling your organs slowly cook as Dallas makes its annual transition to a searing, urban hellscape, sneaking up to the most convenient nearby rooftop for fireworks and, most important, the start of Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, California. Football, in a way, is back, making it as good a time as ever to look into the Observer's not-so-crystal ball and make some predictions about the 2019 edition of America's Team.
So far this offseason, Cowboys brass have done their best to fill in the holes of a 2018 roster that was just short of elite. Robert Quinn is in from Miami to bookend All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence on the defensive line. Packers-ex Randall Cobb could add a much-needed vertical threat out of the slot, and Jason Witten is back after a year in the Monday Night Football broadcast booth to shore up the tight end position.
Stir in incumbent superstars Lawrence, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and the return of All-Pro center Travis Frederick, and the Cowboys should field a team capable of appearing in the team's first NFC Championship Game since the 1995 season. Please stop us if you've heard that one before.
Looking at a set of Cowboys-related futures odds helpfully provided to the Observer by the good people at Oddschecker, it appears the wiseguys have Dallas' heroes pegged at somewhere just below the NFL top-tier contenders, like the Chiefs, Patriots or Rams, but solidly in the chasing pack.
When reading the odds provided, $100 is the base unit. Were one to bet $100 on a proposition with odds of +1000, he or she would win $1000. If the odds were -200, one would need to wager $200 to win $100.
Cowboys to win Super Bowl 54: +2300 — It's way too early to venture a real guess, but it would be hard to fault anyone for putting a couple of bucks down on the Cowboys winning their fifth Super Bowl, as long as she could find odds of +2000 or better. The Cowboys' defense stands to build on its marked improvement in 2018 this year, and the Cowboys' offense is being undersold this summer.
The Cowboys played the entire 2018 season without Frederick, the linchpin of the offensive line. The offense played six key games in 2017 without Elliott, perhaps its best overall player. With Frederick back in place following his recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune condition, and the improvements the Cowboys have made to their receiving corps by trading for Cooper and adding Cobb, quarterback Dak Prescott should be leading a legitimately explosive unit in 2019.
If the Cowboys offense clicks like it did in 2016, Prescott and Elliott's rookie season, +2300 is a bargain.
Cowboys total wins over 8.5: +100 — The Cowboys have won nine or more games in each of the last three seasons and have their most complete roster since 2009. Even money on this year's team winning at least nine looks like — and please get the hate mail ready for when this blows up in our faces — easy money.
Cowboys to win their season opener against the Giants: -300 — The Cowboys swept the Giants in 2018 and remain a much better team this season. Season openers are quirky, however, and the Giants will have the best player on the field, running back Saquon Barkley. Pass.
Ezekiel Elliott to win Most Valuable Player: +4000 — Elliott is really good and the long odds are tempting, but the NFL is a quarterback's league and the MVP is a quarterback's award. Each of the last six and 11 of the last 12 MVP winners have been signal callers. That's not changing this year, even if Elliott runs for 2,000 yards.