The Houston Texans taking on the Denver Broncos is not a contest that is going to get anyone excited, but it does have its bright spots. The Houston Texans can take one step closer to clinching a playoff berth with a victory over the Broncos. Denver fans will be excited to take in the second start of their potential franchise quarterback in Drew Lock. This game also features two of the best wide receivers in the league in Deandre Hopkins and Courtland Sutton.
- Opening Lines: The consensus point spread for this contest opened at -8.5 on the Houston Texans. The consensus over/under total opened at 41 points. The point spread has seen considerable movement but currently sits at -9. The over/under total has climbed to 42.
- Current Line: Houston -9
- O/U: 42
- Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
- Start Time: 1:00 PM EST, Sunday, December 8th
- Last Meeting: Houston defeated Denver 19-17 – November 4, 2018
The 4-8 Denver Broncos are in the midst of a tumultuous season. It began in the offseason when general manager John Elway decided that Joe Flacco was a worthy bridge quarterback, and decided against adding a higher upside quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater or Ryan Fitzpatrick. Just weeks into the regular season, they would lose star edge rusher Bradley Chubb for the season to a torn ACL. This effectively ended their hopes of competing in 2019, and Elway was not shy to admit that fact with his actions. He would go on to trade Emmanuel Sanders to the San Francisco 49ers prior to the trade deadline, and would even dangle star corner Chris Harris in trade talks.
Less than a week later, starting quarterback Joe Flacco would call out the coaching staff for not being aggressive enough, and playing not to lose, as opposed to playing to win. He would pop up on the injury report with a mysterious phantom ailment and be placed on season-ending injured reserve not long after his out of character comments. After a few weeks of some guy named Brandon Allen playing under center, the Broncos would activate designated to return quarterback Drew Lock. Lock was under heavy consideration by the Broncos in the first round, but they were able to land him in the second as no team had as high of a grade on the signal-caller from Missouri. Lock has talent, and the Broncos will be using the rest of this season to evaluate their young signal-caller, so they can decide on a plan of attack for their offseason roster moves. Denver has some nice building blocks but may need general manager John Elway to get out of his own way before they take the next step in their development.
The 8-4 Houston Texans are riding high after an ‘upset’ win over the New England Patriots in Week 13. After weeks of being on the sidelines, cornerback Bradley Roby is back and starred in the Texans win over New England. The fact that Houston has been able to be so competitive despite a big step back from their defense has been quite the story. They traded away oft-injured former first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney because they could not afford to pay him with Deshaun Watson’s contract coming up. They also lost superstar edge rusher J.J. Watt for the season.
Active on the trade front, the Texans would trade for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills from the Miami Dolphins. They would trade for running backs Carlos Hyde from the Kansas City Chiefs, and Duke Johnson from the Cleveland Browns. They have been making the moves of a team that is painfully aware that their Watson rookie contract window is closing. Luckily, they have been playing at a high level and should get a chance for postseason glory this season. The Texans have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two dates with the Tennessee Titans, and the Denver Broncos left on their schedule. In other words, they have an easy path to a 12-4 season.
- Denver is 7-5 ATS on the season.
- Denver is 3-3 ATS on the road this season.
- Houston is 6-6 ATS on the season.
- Houston is 2-4 ATS at home this season.
- Denver is 6-4 ATS in their last 10 contests.
- Denver is 4-1 ATS in their last five contests.
- Denver is 4-0 ATS in their last four contests as underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points.
- Denver is 5-2 ATS in their last seven contests against the AFC.
- Houston is 5-5 ATS in their last 10 contests.
- Houston is 2-5 ATS in their last seven home contests.
- Houston is 1-4 ATS in their last five contests as favorites of 3.5 to 10 points.
- Houston is 1-5 ATS in their last six contests as a favorite.
- Under is 9-2-1 in Denver’s last 12 contests against teams with winning records.
- Under is 8-2-1 in Denver’s last 11 road contests.
- Under is 5-2-1 in Denver’s last eight road contests against teams with winning home records.
- Under is 8-1 in Houston’s last nine contests as a home favorite.
- Under is 4-1 in Houston’s last five contests.
- Under is 8-2 in Houston’s last 10 home contests.
- Under is 6-2 in Houston’s last eight contests against teams with losing records.
Texans team total over 25.5 (-105)
The Denver Broncos have allowed three of the four playoff teams they have faced this season to score 27 or more points. The only team that did not was the offensively challenged Buffalo Bills. The Texans have scored at least 26 points in seven of their 12 contests this season. Four of the contests they failed to reach 26 points in were divisional matchups. Three were games the Texans would end up losing. With the Texans being the prohibitive favorite to secure the straight-up victory, and playing a non-divisional opponent, the win probability of this prop is great enough to warrant multi-unit action. Lock this one in at PointsBet before the team total rises.
Phillip Lindsay over 74.5 rushing yards (-114) and over 49.5 rushing yards (-333)
Houston has surrendered 91.83 rushing yards per game to the running back position on the season. They have done so at 4.53 yards per carry. They have allowed the last three teams they faced to gash them for over 139 yards on the ground. We no longer have to worry about Royce Freeman leading the team in carries on any given week, and with the Texans playing the matador role in the run game in recent weeks, this should be an easy cover. Lindsay’s numbers suggest that the over 49.5 yard prop may be the better play, as he has only reached 75 rushing yards three times this season. However, the -333 odds may not be for everyone. The smart play here is to hedge with the over 49.5 rushing yards, a number he has crossed in nine of his last 10 contests. This is the plan for this player prop at PointsBet.
The opening consensus point spread of -8.5 was much more favorable. While the Broncos have been a disaster this season, they only lost three of the eight games they have dropped by nine or more points. They have been able to keep some games competitive that probably should not have been. Drew Lock is a big question mark under center, as he has the talent and aggressive mentality to lead his team to an upset on any given week. The Texans are the obvious favorite here and are worth keying into parlays on the moneyline.
The spread, however, is another story. Spreads over a full touchdown are always backdoor cover candidates. The Texans should be able to cover after 50 minutes of play. But as we saw in their victory over New England, the Texans are a team that may mail it in during garbage time, something that is much more worrisome when Houston is the betting favorite by two scores. With that in mind, this is a one-unit play only. The Texans are still the far superior team in this contest and are arguably playing a higher level than any of the teams the Broncos have faced this season. Denver has lost their contests to playoff teams by an average of 13.5 points.
While this contest is a candidate for further line movement throughout the week, there is no guarantee that it will drop as opposed to rising. Lock this in as one unit play, and if Denver scores first on Sunday, be sure to check on what could be a very favorable Texans live line immediately. With the Texans locked in as our pick, the next step is to do some line shopping via our live odds page. Somehow, for some reason, BetMGM, which often marches to the beat of their own drum, has this contest at -7.5 on Denver at 25 cents juice. Lock this one in immediately, and if this line is still available by the time you place your wager, strongly consider a two-unit play.
Pick: Houston Texans -7.5 (-125)
Check out our other NFL Sports Betting Guides for Week 14
- Washington at Green Bay Packers (-13)
- Detriot Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-12.5)
- San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-2.5)
- Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-7)
- Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills (+6)
- Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
- Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)
- Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-5)
- Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars (+3)
- Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders (+3)
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals (+2.5)
- Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-3)
- Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-1)
- New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-9)