Sunday Night Football odds have Texans as field-goal favorites vs. Cowboys

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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.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

 

Sunday Night Football odds favor Steelers against rival Ravens

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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ long win streak in prime time is under the strain of a short week, along with facing the rival Baltimore Ravens, who are a tough out as a narrow road underdog.

The Steelers, with Ben Roethlisberger behind center, are 3-point favorites on the Sunday Night Football odds against the Baltimore Ravens with a 50.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The OddsShark NFL Database shows that the Ravens are 16-8-3 against the spread as a road underdog of 3.0 or fewer points since John Harbaugh became their coach in 2008. The Ravens are 7-2 ATS in their last nine road games against their AFC North counterparts.

However, the Steelers are 13-0 straight-up in their last 13 games at night and 10-0-1 straight-up in their last 11 games against AFC North teams with an average winning margin of 6.27 points. That’s counter-balanced by being 0-6 ATS in their last six home games at Heinz Field.

The Ravens, who are 2-1 SU and ATS, are on something of a heater in the red zone, where quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense are 12-for-12 at finishing drives with touchdowns. Some regression toward the mean will be inevitable at some point for an offense that is 20th in the 32-team NFL in yards per pass (6.9) and 31st in yards per rush (3.1).

Flacco and his re-worked supporting cast of wide receivers Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, though, are facing a Pittsburgh pass defense that is 28th in yards per attempt and has allowed 10 touchdowns through the air, tied for most given up in the league.

The Steelers, who are 1-1-1 SU and 1-2 ATS, offer the Ravens defense the stiffest challenge it has faced after a three-game stretch where the starting quarterbacks it faced were Nathan Peterman, Andy Dalton and Case Keenum. While Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown haven’t busted out big-time, the Steelers remain 10th in the NFL in yards per pass with the chunk-yardage plays coming via JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight ends Jesse James and Vance McDonald.

Like the Ravens, the Steelers have been sporadic in the rushing phase, ranking 23rd in yards per rush with James Conner at running back due to Le’Veon Bell being a holdout.

With Roethlisberger as their quarterback, the Steelers are 21-3 SU in prime-time games. However, the Ravens have also acquitted themselves in prime time, with a 14-6 SU record in their last 20 games at night. However, Pittsburgh is 2-3 SU and 1-3-1 ATS in its last five games as a home favorite or 3.0 or fewer points, so it’s fair to wonder if the tight turnaround after a Monday night road game against Tampa Bay will be a tipping point.

The total has gone OVER in six of the Ravens’ last eight road games, with an average combined score of 46.88. The total has gone OVER in the Steelers’ last five divisional games at home.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

On Her Turf: Michele Tafoya on her SNF role, covering the NFL as a woman

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NBC Sports’ new series with On Her Turf, Football is Female, will profile women who work in the NFL. This edition follows Sunday Night Football reporter Michele Tafoya, who gives a behind-the-scenes look at her role and details her path to becoming one of the women covering the NFL.

In the clip above, Tafoya explains all that goes into a broadcast, the hardships she overcame in her career, and the progress she’s seen women make in the industry.