Traditional NFC rivals get their preseason action underway Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET when the Dallas Cowboys meet the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Dallas is looking to build on its 2018 NFC East title and 10-6 record, while the 49ers hope for a breakout season after injuries crippled their chances of contending last year. The new-look San Francisco squad is favored by 4.5 in the last Cowboys vs. 49ers odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 36.5. Before locking in any Cowboys vs. 49ers picks of your own, be sure to see the NFL predictions from SportsLine analyst Emory Hunt, given the success he’s had picking Dallas games.

Hunt is the founder and CEO of Football Gameplan, which has been supplying analysis of all levels of football since 2007. The former collegiate running back joined SportsLine in 2016 and has provided his followers with winning seasons in college and pro football. He’s also developed a reputation as a Dallas specialist, nailing 18 of his last 27 picks against the spread in games involving the Cowboys. Anybody who has followed him is way up.

Now, Hunt has evaluated Cowboys vs. 49ers from every angle and locked in his strong pointspread pick. He’s only sharing it over at SportsLine.

Hunt knows the 49ers won their preseason matchup with the Cowboys in Santa Clara last season, 24-21. Like this matchup, it was Week 1 of the preseason and featured just about every player on the expanded roster for both sides. And while it’s difficult to know exactly how long various starters will play for both sides, Hunt knows that this is a statement opportunity for San Francisco after going 4-12 in 2018. 

The return of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ACL) is the biggest storyline for San Francisco this year. However, the 49ers made several splash acquisitions on defense this offseason, signing linebacker Kwon Alexander in free agency, trading for defensive end Dee Ford and drafting defensive end Nick Bosa No. 2 overall. Fans, however, will have to wait at least a week to see Garoppolo in action since the 49ers will hold him out on Saturday as a precaution. Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, who both saw significant action in 2018, should get plenty of reps in his place.

The injury report looks promising for San Francisco, with Ford being the only other major name on it as game preparations begin. Dallas, meanwhile, won’t have star running back Ezekiel Elliott as his contract holdout continues. The Cowboys could also be without key veterans like Sean Lee (knee), Amari Cooper (heel) and Zack Martin (knee) as they battle minor injuries. 

But just because San Francisco appears to be the healthier side doesn’t mean it’ll cover the Cowboys vs. 49ers spread on Saturday.

The Cowboys hold a 9-7 edge against the 49ers in preseason action and have won five of their last six regular season meetings. Dallas wasn’t shy about putting its starters on the field in last year’s preseason opener. Quarterback Dak Prescott led an early touchdown drive, helping Dallas build a 14-0 lead before San Francisco came from behind to win it late. 

We can tell you Hunt is leaning over, but he’s isolated a critical X-factor that has him locked in on one side of the spread. He’s only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine. 

Who wins the 49ers vs. Cowboys? And which critical X-factor makes one side of the spread hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the 49ers vs. Cowboys spread to back on Saturday, all from NFL expert who has nailed 18 of his last 27 Dallas picks, and find out.