Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans (-3.5)
Sun. 10/7, 8:20 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Dallas-Houston:
1. Both the Cowboys and Texans are coming off Week 4 home wins in which they relinquished double-digit leads before prevailing on field goals on the final play of their respective games. While Dallas was up 20-10 on Detroit after three quarters before its come-from-behind 26-24 victory on a Brett Maher 38-yard field goal at the end of regulation, Houston led 28-10 with less than 21 minutes remaining in regulation in Indianapolis before allowing the Colts to come back and force overtime. After Indianapolis failed to convert a fourth-down attempt with four yards to go from its own 43-yard line in the final minute of overtime, Houston needed just a couple of plays before Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a game-winning 37-yard field goal. (One thing you do not necessarily need to know before betting on Dallas-Houston: The name “Ka'imi” is short for Ka'iminoeauloameka'ikeokekumupa'a.) The Texans had gone 315 days without a victory prior to this past Sunday, and their nine-game losing skid included eight straight losses against the spread.
2. The Cowboys offense was efficient against the Lions in Sunday’s 26-24 victory, churning out 183 yards on the ground and 231 yards through the air without turning the ball over. Since the start of the 2016 season, Dallas is 8-1 against the spread when coming off a game in which it rushed for 175 or more yards, and the Cowboys’ average margin of victory in those nine contests has been 13 points. Houston scored a defensive touchdown and added another on a drive that began on the Colts’ eight-yard line after an Indianapolis fumble. The Texans threw for 347 yards, but rushed for only 3.4 yards per carry, as their two running backs, Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue, combined for just 80 yards on 27 carries. Dallas is one of five NFL teams allowing an average of fewer than 3.7 yards per rushing attempt; if you subtract out Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson’s 161 rushing yards (most among NFL quarterbacks) on 24 carries, the Texans are rushing for an average of fewer than 3.7 yards per carry.
3. Dallas has played well away from home under head coach Jason Garrett, going 35-27 straight up on the road (34-26-2 against the spread, which includes a 20-14 ATS mark as a road underdog) since he took over midway through the 2010 season. Dallas has yet to lose to an AFC South opponent in five games under Garrett (4-1 against the spread), and the team has gone 18-9 ATS against AFC opponents during that timeframe. Houston, meanwhile, seems to gear up much more for division play than it does the weeks immediately after, going 2-10 ATS after facing an AFC South opponent since the start of 2016, including 0-6 ATS after a divisional win. The Texans have also tended to struggle after earning a hard-fought victory, going 0-4 against the spread when coming off a game in which they prevailed by three points or fewer under head coach Bill O’Brien, who was hired in 2014.
Pick: Dallas +3.5
Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)