Cowboys-Texans SNF Betting Preview: Will the Dallas D Slow Deshaun Watson?

Cowboys-Texans SNF Betting Preview: Will the Dallas D Slow Deshaun Watson? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott

Betting odds: Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans

  • Spread: Texans -3
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: NBC

>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.

Betting market: Spread bets are split, and sportsbooks are also split, as the line is 3 at about half the books and 3.5 at the other half at the time of writing (check out the updated lines here).

Keep in mind, these numbers are heavily juiced pretty much anywhere you look. If you want Dallas +3.5, you’re going to have to pay -120 or so, whereas the Houston -3 bettors will have to do the same. — Mark Gallant

Trends to know: While they have certainly had their struggles covering at home, the Cowboys have been the second-most profitable road team against the spread in the NFL since 2014 (19-11-1), according to Bet Labs data. They trail only the Bengals in that area. — Stuckey

The Texans have struggled mightily playing in prime time, going 10-23 straight up and 7-24-2 ATS. Since 2002, the Texans’ expansion season, 26 franchises have played at least 30 games in prime time. The Texans’ win percentage of 30.3% is second-worst, ahead of only the Bengals (10-25, 28.6% SU in prime time).

When the Texans face a .500 or better team in prime time, they are 3-19 SU and 3-18-1 ATS in franchise history, beating only the Jets, Bears and Bengals.

Houston faced the Cowboys once before in prime time, the first game in franchise history in 2002. The Texans won as an eight-point home underdog. — Evan Abrams

The Dallas Cowboys are averaging 16.8 points per game through four weeks, the third-lowest mark in the NFL (Bills and Cardinals).

Since 2003, teams that average less than 17 PPG are 58-107 SU (35.2%) in prime time, but 80-84-3 ATS (48.8%). When those teams are listed as an underdog, they are 30-89 SU (25.2%) and 58-62-1 ATS (48.3%). — Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Cowboys’ defensive line vs Texans’ offensive line

The Cowboys’ defensive front has tortured opposing quarterbacks through the first quarter of the season, accumulating 14 total sacks, third-most in the NFL. And now it adds David Irving to the rotation, as the Dallas lineman returns from suspension.

I’m not sure how Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will have any time to throw behind a horror show of an offensive line that has allowed the second-most sacks in the league (17).

Watson has been pressured at the highest rate in the league, and I doubt that percentage drops on Sunday. — Stuckey

Which team is healthier? Cowboys

The Texans regularly list half their roster as limited practice participants, so it’s hard to get a read on exactly who is in jeopardy of not playing. The biggest potential absence would be receiver Will Fuller (hamstring), as Fuller’s field-stretching ability has regularly elevated the performance of his teammates.

The Cowboys will once again be without center Travis Frederick (illness) and linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring), but the rest of the starters are tentatively expected to play Sunday night.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Watson is fifth in yards per attempt (8.4) and third in rushing yards per game (40.3) through four games this season.

He has the highest projected Plus/Minus on the prime-time slate at only $6,300 on DraftKings. — Joe Holka

Bet to watch: Texans -3

Passing is the predominant factor in giving one team an advantage over another, and Watson is averaging 8.4 yards per attempt this season after averaging 8.3 last season.

He’ll get to face off against a Cowboys team that will be without Lee (hamstring), which is never for good news: Dallas is 1-5 ATS without Lee since the start of last season.

If rookie Keke Coutee’s 11-catch, 109-yard NFL debut is any indication, Watson may have yet another weapon alongside DeAndre Hopkins and Fuller.

Meanwhile, Dak Prescott is averaging just 6.5 yards per attempt. He relies on his running game to stay ahead of the chains, but that’s Houston’s strength — its defense ranks cool second in rushing DVOA.

I’ll lay three for a team at home with the edge in passing offense that can also match up well against the opponent’s bread and butter. Chris Raybon

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.