Houston Texans(3-1SU, 3-1ATS) vs.Dallas Cowboys(3-1SU,3-1ATS)
Date and Time:October 5th @ 1:00 PM E
byJeffHochman,Pro Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread:HOU +6/DAL -6
How ’bout them Cowboys, sitting at 3-1 when many experts predicted five to eight wins for this team. Dallas upset the Saints 38-17 as 3-point home underdogs. They were out for revenge over what happened last season and came through in a big way. The Cowboys’ offensive line is ranked No. 1 after DeMarco Murray surpassed 100 yards in four straight games. The pass protection has been brilliant, ranking in the Top 5 in sacks allowed.Dallas has won the stats in three of its four games this season. The Houston Texans defeated the Buffalo Bills 23-17 as 3-point home chalk. That game had the fewest amount of bets placed on it so far this season. Houston was outgained again, making it six straight dating back to last season. The Texans are just 1-9 ITS (in the stats) in their past 10 games. Not good.
Lets slow are roles a bit on how good this Dallas team is right now. The schedule gets a lot tougher and they haven’t even played a division game yet. Two things are for sure though. Dallas has a Top 5 offense and the defense is markedly better than last season. The schemes and play-calling are much improved. Houston will bring in the better overall defense, but not by much. The Texans are allowing just 237.5 yards through the air while the Cowboys are allowing 271. I would expect the Cowboys to feature DeMarco Murray once again this week as the Texans are allowing over 130 rushing yards so far this season. If the Cowboys can jump out to an early lead, the Texans could be in for a long day. Houston’s passing offense won’t scare many teams as they are averaging just 225 yards through the air.On the flip side, the Cowboys don’t have a shutdown passing defense. Not even close. I would expect both teams to move the ball in this game. The team that commits the fewest turnovers will likely win this game.
Tony Romo looks much healthier than what we saw the first week and that’s great news for Cowboy fans. He was excellent on Sunday Night Football against a defense that is very similar to what the Saints like to run. Romo currently has the thrid-best active career QB rating at 95.9. That’s even better than Drew Brees (95.4) who won a Super Bowl with the Saints back in 2009. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’s career QB rating of 77.9 ranks in the bottom third of all starting quarterbacks. The Texans offensive line is ranked No. 9 in pass protection, but No. 19 in run blocking.Houston should be able to create some big plays through the air, despite Fitzpatrick’s costly mistakes in the red-zone. Dallas is coming off an emotional win. It was a game they had circled ever since losing to the Saints in blowout fashion last year. They were able to focus behind one of the loudest crowds at Dallas in quite some time.
Dallas is 2-1 SU and 2-1 ATS all time against the Texans. The last meeting saw the Cowboys win 27-13 as 1.5-point road dogs back in 2010. These two teams play in the preseason every year, so they are somewhat familiar with each other.Dallas must not get caught looking ahead as they play the defending Super Bowl champions in Seattle next week. Nobody wins at Seattle so that makes this a must win game for the Cowboys.
The Underdog is 20-5 ATS in the last 25 Cowboy games. That stat has been a huge money maker of wise guys and professional bettors across the country, and I see no reason to go against it right now. The injures to linebacker Bruce Carter and cornerback Morris Claiborne will surley weaken the Cowboys’ defense just enough to make this a closer game than most people would expect. Dallas is 6-12 ATS as a favorite over the last three seasons. The Texans are just 3-6 ATS in non-conference games over the last three seasons. There have been 12 NFL teams to start 3-1 and than be listed as underdogs of at least four points in their very next game. Those teams have gone 9-3 ATS, and the Texans will try to make it 10-3 with a cover in this game.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:
This line opened at 4 and has been steamed up to 6. The Texans have two key injuries on offense. I will lean to the road dog as Dallas is coming off an emotional victory. Lets not forget about this nugget of info. NFL teams that play the Saints are covering just 38% in their next game with no rest, since Sean Payton has been the head coach. Dallas by 4!