Week 5 NFL Sunday Night Football Sports Betting Preview: Cowboys vs. Texans

Posted By Nate Weitzer on October 7, 2018 - Last Updated on October 8, 2018

The NFL continues to heat up in Week 5 with the Texans hosting the Cowboys in a cross-state rivalry game this Sunday night. For this game and every other primetime contest, we’ll break down the sports betting lines and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.

This advice is also relevant for fantasy contests on sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel and can be helpful in seasonal fantasy leagues as well.

Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if they don’t respond well in warm-ups.

Week 5 Sunday Night Football Betting

Dallas Cowboys (21.25) at Houston Texans (24.25)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Texans -3.5, 45.5 total 
888 Sportsbook Odds: Texans -3.5, 45.5 total
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Texans -3.5, 45.5 total
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Texans -3, 45 total

This matchup is a case of contrasting styles in every way. More than ever, the Cowboys are leaning on their premier running game, while the Texans are allowing Deshaun Watson to sling it all over the yard.

Ezekiel Elliot is the only player in the NFL with over half (51.2%) of his team’s touches. Dallas is generating 46.6% of scrimmage yards on the ground, the highest rate in the NFL.

While the Cowboys rank third in DVOA rush offense, they meet a stiff challenge in Houston’s second-ranked (by DVOA) rush defense. The Cowboys are running the third-fewest plays per game (57.5) and the Texans are fifth (69.8) in that category.

Clearly, Dallas will look to ride Elliott on the road and slow down the pace of the game to keep Watson and his elite receivers off the field. Despite dealing with ankle and knee injuries, Elliott is the most reliable option in this game for NFL DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.

The Cowboys passing attack has been nonexistent. Only the pathetic Bills and Cardinals average fewer passing YPG than Dallas (166.5) and Dak Prescott is struggling with little volume, posting a career-worst 40.6 QBR.

Prescott will look towards possession receiver Cole Beasley when he isn’t targeting Elliott on short passes. Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup have been extremely inconsistent options on the perimeter. Houston does rank dead last in DVOA pass defense against opposing TEs, giving Geoff Swaim some appeal in DFS tournaments.


The Texans offense is improving each week, as Deshaun Watson continues to gain confidence and mobility while coming off ACL surgery.

Watson is a big play magnet, averaging the most intended Air Yards (11) in the NFL with the best conversion rate (64.1%) of completions to gain 10 or more yards.

Houston’s offensive line has given up the second-most sacks (17) in the NFL this season. The Cowboys have tallied the third-most sacks (14) and have an underrated secondary that is stout on the perimeter.

The Cowboys slow pace of play will likely limit the upside of this passing offense, but won’t stop Watson and his weapons altogether.

The biggest factor for Houston could be rookie slot receiver Keke Coutee. The 5-foot-11 burner out of Texas Tech caught 11-of-15 targets for 104 yards and handled two carries as well. Dallas is most vulnerable over the middle of the field, ranking 32nd in DVOA pass defense against tertiary receivers. Plus, the Cowboys coughed up a massive game (8-132-2TD) to shifty slot-man Golden Tate in Week 4.

Coutee is one of the most economical options on this DFS slate and he should get overlooked to a degree with Will Fuller (hamstring) likely to play. Yet Coutee’s role is secure regardless and he could continue to see more work on sweeps and screens with Lamar Miller (chest) injured and ineffective.

Alfred Blue is a candidate to see more work with Miller struggling, yet neither back is generating much production behind an offensive line that lost RT Seantrel Henderson (knee) for the season.


Dallas may look to funnel this passing game into the interior of the field, but DeAndre Hopkins is one of the most versatile receivers in the game and he’ll cause problems on short slant routes as well. Fuller has caught a TD in every full game he’s played with Watson and the Texans average 32.3 PPG when Watson starts.

NFL Week 5 Picks

With the Cowboys averaging just 16.8 PPG this season (third-lowest in football), this is an easy spot to take the Texans (-3.5). Bets on the spread are split almost completely evenly down the middle, with slightly more money coming in on Houston.

The Cowboys slow pace of play makes it tempting to take the Under (45.5). Yet Prescott continues to improve on his throws down the field and Houston’s aging corners (Jonathan Joseph is now 34) may struggle to contain Gallup, Hurns, or speedster Tavon Austin.

It’s reasonable to bank on a Texans team that should be winless to commit a few defensive blunders. We like a Texans/Over teaser in this spot.

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Nate Weitzer

Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player at DraftKings and FanDuel with numerous tournament wins in NBA and NFL contests. He's been writing about DFS for several years, specializing in NBA picks and advice while continuing to build his bankroll across the daily fantasy industry. When he's not playing DFS, Weitzer is often covering high school sports in the greater Boston area for outlets such as The Boston Globe, or playing basketball himself. Follow Nate on Twitter @Nweitzer7.

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