Cowboy's Cavalier Attitude has our NFL Picks Leaning Hard on Texans ATS

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 7:15 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2015 7:15 PM UTC

The final week of the NFL preseason is here & betting odds were released on Monday with very little fanfare. Still there is money to be made betting week 4 NFLX

College football starts this week with real games and for the most part, the only people interested in watching all backups play an exhibition game are die-hards from the particular teams.

However, those making sports picks are a different breed, they want the action of living on the edge, having something on the line to make the adrenaline flow. Also, these football handicappers and bettors also want the NFL odds in their favor as much as possible.

Like death, taxes and somebody from the Kardashian or Jenner families in the news daily, the Dallas Cowboys losing in the preseason is something you can count on. Let's delve more into this topic as they will face Houston at home Thursday.


Cowboys Report 
Dating back to when Tom Landry was the head coach of Dallas, the Cowboys have always been a terrible wager for NFL picks. Landry's philosophy was winning games in the preseason meant little and it was more about being prepared for the first game of the regular season and for the most part the first month. Back in the early part of his coaching career, they used to play SIX preseason games (the NFL schedule was just 14 regular season games from 1961-77). That thinking and mindset has remained part of the Cowboys culture and is still playing out today.

Dallas is 0-3 SU and ATS this preseason, averaging nine points a game while allowing 22.7. Since 1990, the Cowboys are 21-37 ATS as favorites and 22-31 ATS as underdogs this time of year, back by an even worse record in win percentage.

Head coach Jason Garrett has already announced none of the presumed starters will play and as many three quarterbacks will see action, including Brandon Weeden, who missed a week with a concussion, but none of them will have Romo on the back of their jersey's.

In terms of what Garrett is looking for, he likes the progress of more pressure on the opposing quarterbacks and would like to see that continue and he prefer if Houston threw the ball a little more to test the depth of the secondary. Otherwise, the focus is on the Sunday night opener against the New York Giants, when it counts.


Texans Report
Houston feels they are ready to take the next step in progress, going from 2-14 in 2013 to 9-7 last year, to making the playoffs and challenging Indianapolis for the AFC South crown.

Coach Bill O'Brien is from the no-nonsense tree of Bill Belichick, with everything having a purpose and evolving into a meaningful outcome. Having announced Brian Hoyer as his starting quarterback, O'Brien has made it clear this is a potentially fluid situation and Hoyer "...has to earn it (the starting job) each week." While initially devastated, Ryan Mallet, has mentally regrouped and understands this game can catapult him back into the conversation for running the Texans.

Yes, Mallet will be playing with mostly backups, but he will also be facing the same and if he stands out as the best player on the field, he keeps himself in the coaches mind's eye.

O'Brien likes both offensive and defensive lines but would like to add more depth as injuries pop up. Also, the linebacker position has suffered a numbers of injuries the past couple years and you can never have too much depth at that spot in his mind.


Odds and What to Look For
With the Cowboys cavalier attitude, sportsbooks like Pinnacle made Houston a 1.5-point road favorite, but that quickly jumped to -4, given Dallas past. Normally the Cowboys fit the mold of a Play On team but because of their non-caring nature and the fact Ryan Mallet has something to prove when he's on the field, the Boys tumbling to 2-10 ATS as an underdog under Garrett should not catch anyone off guard. However, I would limit taking Houston beyond this present number, because they also will be playing backups.


NFL Free Picks: Texans -4 (-106) at Pinnacle

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