Las Vegas oddsmakers have once again moved the Dallas Cowboys (4-3) even further down the list of Super Bowl LII contenders.
The underlying reason behind the new outlook is the full reinstatement of Ezekiel Elliot’s six-game suspension, which he received for his alleged involvement in a violent domestic dispute. Late Monday night, Judge Katherine Failla of the Southern District of New York rejected Elliot’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
Before the judge’s decision became public knowledge, the Cowboys were tied with several other teams for the sixth-best odds to win the Super Bowl at 16/1, according to Vegasinsider.com.
36 hours after the release of the verdict, the Cowboys standing had taken a plunge. Per VegasInsider.com, Dallas’ odds of making the Super Bowl fell to 25/1. The number marks the basement of a season-long decline, as the team now is tied for just the 10th best odds in the league and the 7th best in a deep NFC.
With Elliot in the lineup, the oddsmakers saw the Cowboys as part of pack of Super Bowl challengers. Without Zeke, they view Dallas as a fringe playoff team.
When the NFL originally handed the Cowboys’ running back its harshest domestic violence penalty back in early August, many Las Vegas sports books only decreased their Super Bowl odds by a slight margin. The Westgate Las Vegas Super Book downgraded Dallas’ chances of winning the title from 10/1 to 12/1, while Sportsbook.ag moved them from 10/1 down to 13/1.
Still, the Cowboys entered the season with the second best odds to represent the NFC on Feb. 4 in Minnesota, trailing only the Green Bay Packers.
The latest news though, seems to have created a more substantive view of the team’s immediate future.
First, there’s the relative certainty of the suspension. The last time Elliot successfully petitioned the court, there was more time for his legal team to plan its approach. Tuesday afternoon, he and his costly legal team had to submit an emergency appeal before the court’s brief 24-hour deadline expired.
It’s also possible that Elliot has produced a sample size that proves his value.
Despite dealing with the stress of his current situation, the second-year back has been nearly as productive as he was in 2016 when he won the league’s offensive rookie-of-the-year award. Through the first eight games of this season, he’s second in the NFL in carries (164), third in rushing yards (690) and tied for first in rushing touchdowns (6).
Elliott is eligible to return for the Cowboys’ final three games of the regular season, starting with a Week 15 road match-up against the Oakland Raiders. Until then, team owner Jerry Jones is likely to publicly maintain that his star ball carrier is paying for the previous sins of NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell.
Peter Dawson: 817-390-7657