The Houston Texans (1-3) host the Dallas Cowboys (2-2) on Sunday Night Football this week in an all-Texas clash. Kickoff is set for 8:20 PM EST on Sunday, October 7th at NRG Stadium. The game will be televised on NBC.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Texans listed as as 3-point home favorites. That line has remained pretty much the same after early betting, as Houston is currently available at -3.5. The total for this matchup is 45 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 5 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Texans vs Cowboys Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Dallas managed to get back to .500 on the season last weekend after grinding out a close 26-24 victory over the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys trailed for much of the game before K Brett Maher kicked the game winning field goal as time expired in the 4th quarter. The star of the game for the Dallas offense was clearly RB Ezekiel Elliot, who dominated on the ground and while also catching four passes out of the backfield en route to a 240 yard, one touchdown performance. QB Dak Prescott also had his best game of the season so far, throwing for 255 yards and two touchdowns. There are reports that Elliot is less than 100% healthy heading into Week 5, although he is stille expected to play on Sunday night at this point. As a whole, Dallas is currently averaging just 16.8 points per game (30th) on 311.8 total yards.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys are giving up are giving up just 19.3 points per game (7th) on an average of 306.3 total yards per game. They have really done a great job defending against the pass, as they have limited opponents to an average of just 208.5 yards per game through the air (6th).
The Texans finally won their first game of the 2018-19 season in Week 4, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 37-34 in overtime to improve to 1-3 on the year. It looked like Houston was in control of the game in the second half before Andrew Luck and Co. mounted a late comeback to force overtime. QB DeShaun Watson threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns in the win, connecting with both DeAndre Hopkins and rookie KeKe Coutte for a combined 22 receptions, 278 yards, and a touchdown. Watson is now completing 62.2% of his passes and has thrown for a total of 1,246 yards and 7 touchdowns over his first four games. Overall, Houston is averaging 24.0 points per game (15th) on 413.8 total yards.
It has been a bit of a struggle defensively for the Texans, as they are currently giving up an average of 27.0 points per game on 382.0 total yards. While they have been above average against the run, Houston has been terrible defending against the pass as opponents are currently averaging 288.0 yards per game (27th) through the air.
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Texans -3.5
I’m not sure how much entertainment value this game will offer prime-time viewers on Sunday night, as both of these teams have had a lot of struggles offensively. The main draw has to be Ezekiel Elliot, who may not even be able to suit up this weekend. However, even if his does, Dallas will likely have problems moving the ball against a fairly solid Texans defense that is also playing in front of a rowdy home crowd. Houston has been solid against everything except for the pass, which isn’t exactly the Cowboys strong suit on offense. The Texans do seem to have found another gear over the past few weeks, especially with their trio of talented wide receivers (Hopkins, Fuller IV, and Coutte).
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Dallas is just 2-8 ATS over their past 10 games and 12-26-1 ATS in their last 39 games on field turf. The Cowboys are also only 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight up win. Houston is 4-1 ATS over their last five October games and have scored 20+ points in three out of their four games this season.
The Cowboys have really struggled against the spread so far this season, going just 2-4-1 ATS over their last seven games. They are also only 2-3-1 ATS over their past six road games. This game will probably be fairly low scoring and will likely be decided by 3-7 points. Houston is currently allowing 4.2 sacks per game, which is almost dead last in the entire NFL. If the Texans can find a way to better protect DeShaun Watson against the Cowboys this week, they are talented enough to cover the number at home. The entire Dallas offense is almost 100% dependent on Zeke – I’m not overly excited about his chances of repeating his Week 4 performance against a Top 10 Houston rushing defense (9th). I think the best play in this particular spot is to take the home favorite and lay the 3.5 points.