Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans Pick
Dallas Cowboys (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS)
When: Sunday Night Football, October 7th, 2018, 8:30 PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
By: Kevin West, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Spread: Dal +3/Hou -3 (Opened at 3, hit 3.5 for a bit and has dropped back down to 3).
Over/Under: 45.5 (Dropped to 44 but is now back up to 45.5)
Power Ratings: Pokes -3
Takeaways from Week 4
Dallas beat Detroit 26-24. They did so by ramming Ezekiel Elliott down their throats 25 times in which he averaged over 6 yards per rush. Detroit is weak up the middle, so it was very predictable that run-run-run would be the plan. It worked, but barely. With Detroit focusing so much on Elliott, it gave the struggling Dak Prescott the ability to find some receivers for a couple scores. I do not expect this success to carry over in their upcoming road game at Houston. The Texan’s defense is much more respectable. The 26 points scored by the Pokes was far and away their best offensive output of the season. This week, they get back on the road where they’re averaging a meager 10.5 points per game. (They scored 8 at Carolina and 13 at Seattle).
The Texans also had their best output of the season, by lighting up the scoreboard for 37 at Indianapolis. They stifled the Colts run game, allowing only 41 yards. They got burnt in the secondary though, as Andrew Luck carved them up for 437 yards. This isn’t likely to happen again vs. Prescott, who struggles to hit moving targets, and with the Cowboys making Zeke Elliott their focus.
How the Public is Betting the Cowboys/Texans Game
I was surprised to see this game receiving fairly even action (Dal 47%/Hou 53%) because the Cowboys seem to be “America’s Team”, even when they’re not playing well.
The public are also evenly divided on the total, with a slight lean to the over at 51%. I don’t have a take on whether the over or under will hit, as I think DeShaun Watson can easily take advantage of a weak Dallas secondary. On the flip side, Dallas likes to run a sloooow plodding offense, featuring Zeke Elliott and the run game, along with a few dinkers and dunkers to short route WR Cole Beasley. We won’t know the pace of this game until mid-way through the 1st quarter. For those looking to bet the total, it’s recommended that you do so AFTER the game has started, using the live betting feature at Bovada Sportsbook (Credit cards work there and they’ll give you a 50% bonus up to $250 free).
In fact, I’d recommend that for all the totals you’re looking to bet. It’s always good to view the pace prior to placing a bet, to alleviate your risk. Especially as we get deeper into the season and weather becomes a concern. Nothing is worse than betting an over, only to turn on the TV and the announcer says “35mph winds, we’re going to see a lot of rushing attempts today!”
This is a completely irrelevant variable as these teams haven’t played in years. For those interested, they’ve only played 4x since 1992, in which the Cowboys are 3-1 straight up and 2-2 against the spread.
Dallas has some issues. Zeke Elliott has a banged up knee but is probable. This guy is a horse. No worries here. The big problems start with LB Sean Lee being out. The Cowboys are SERIOUSLY vulnerable to the run when he’s not in the game. Lamar Miller sees his best spot in a long time here. Not only does Dallas have to give extra attention there, they also have to worry about Watson taking off. DL Malek Collins has missed the last two weeks with a knee and is questionable this week. DT Antwuan Woods left the last game with a calf and is ? Sunday. Safety Jeff Heath hurt his shoulder last game and is also questionable.
The Texans lost slot CB Aaron Colvin last week to a serious ankle injury. The already weak OL has Kelemete and Lamm questionable and WR Will Fuller is having hamstring issues. CB Kayvon Webster (achilles) and LB Brian Peters (ankle) are also questionable.
When the Cowboys Have the Ball
Run, run, run. it’s the only way this offense moves the ball. They may find slight success with short passes to Beasley, as the Texans slot CB is OUT for this game, but even with success, it’s slow/plodding movement at 3-5 yards at a time.
Don’t be fooled by Dallas’s 26 points last week. Not only did it happen at home, it happened vs. a VERY bad defense in Detroit, who are weak where Dallas is strong.
With the Cowboys struggling to score in the first three weeks of the season, there’s no reason to believe that they’ll put up a big number here as they’ve only scored a combined total of 21 points in 2 road games this season versus similar defenses.
When the Texans Have the Ball
If they’re smart, they’ll run like crazy up the middle. Their offensive line is sub par though. After watching Elliott, who don’t get me wrong, is 3x the back Lamar Miller is, run up the middle freely, there’s no reason to believe that Lamar Miller won’t average 4 yards per carry vs. this wet paper bag run defense. If Miller has success, which I think he will, this will open up the passing game for Houston in which Will Fuller (if he plays) should EAT vs. a very poor CB in Awuzie and vs. a SS Heath who is banged up. If Fuller doesn’t play, Houston should still focus on getting the ball to the right wide receiver as the match-up there is tasty. On the other side of the ball, Deandre Hopkins is a beast, but should see Bryon Jones who PFF ranks as the best CB in the NFL. Many believe that Hopkins is match-up proof, and a good case can be made for that, so Jones coverage may be irrelevant. All in all, I think Houston can move the ball vs. Dallas.
The forecast is showing 80 degrees, humid with slight 10mph winds. Great conditions for some SNF!
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Kevin West’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread
I’m REALLY surprised that they Cowboys aren’t getting 70% of the action and I believe the sportsbooks are as well. I love, and I believe they love their position of Houston -3, as they were expecting to receive a ton of wagering action on a Dallas team with somewhat of a hapless offense. I’m going to boldly predict that they love Houston so much, that they move the line to -3.5 or -4, which will suck in a ton of Dallas money. Many will get crushed in a nationally televised game that most bet with their hearts, not their heads. Don’t get caught up in this sticky web. I’m betting the Houston Texans at -3 before the line goes up. On an unrelated note, please consider following @PredictemPicks on Twitter where you’ll receive betting tips, important player news, some humor and where you can find me live tweeting during NFL Sunday’s. Feel free to ping me. I’m a nice guy! Good luck!