The mark of a franchise quarterback is that he can do something about a team’s historically horrid betting trend.
The Houston Texans, led by quarterback Deshaun Watson, are 3-point betting favorites against the Dallas Cowboys with a 45.5-point total for their Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The contrast in the teams’ track records in prime time is stark: the Texans are 4-22-1 against the spread in their last 27 games at night, whereas the Cowboys are 7-1 straight-up in their last eight prime-time contests. The Cowboys are also 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games in October, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
Whether those trends hold up for another week or the law of averages rears up might come down to whether the Cowboys offense and quarterback Dak Prescott, ranked 27th in the NFL in yards-per-pass, can keep pace with the Texans, who are sixth but have struggled to protect Watson.
The Cowboys, who are 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS, are facing perhaps the best offense they have seen yet this season, while also going up against a J.J. Watt-led defense that leads the NFL in quarterback hits.
Thanks in part to running back Ezekiel Elliott and an offensive line led by left tackle Tyron Smith, the Cowboys lead the NFL in yards per rush, so there is a strong possibility of putting together some long drives that keep the clock rolling and keep Watson and Co. on the sidelines. That might be a factor for totals bettors.
Whether Dallas can put up points on the road will come down to who breaks first in the passing phase. While the Cowboys are struggling to throw and lack an identifiable red-zone target for Prescott, the Texans are 25th in yards per pass allowed and have only one interception in four games.
For the Texans, who are 1-3 both SU and ATS, the big question is whether Watson will have time to cycle through his reads. The second-year passer has acquitted himself well in prime time, with a 5-to-0 touchdown/interception ratio in two starts where the Texans are 1-1 SU.
Watson has a scary wide-receiver combo of DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller facing a Cowboys secondary that has zero interceptions and is right at the median in yards per pass, at 17th in the NFL. However, it’s glaring that Houston has allowed 17 sacks, second-most in the league, especially when Dallas has a strong pass rush built around left end Demarcus Lawrence.
While interconference home games only come up twice per season, the Texans are 6-3 SU and ATS against NFC opponents under head coach Bill O’Brien.
The total has gone UNDER in the Cowboys’ last six road games, with an average combined score of 29.67. The total has also gone UNDER in the Cowboys’ last four games against the Texans, with an average combined score of 36.5. The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Texans’ last 10 home games as a favorite of 3.0 or fewer points.
However, the total has gone OVER in 10 of the Texans’ last 11 home games in October.
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