Perhaps one of the less noteworthy NFL betting matchups in Week 5 is this contest between AFC teams with just one win apiece through four weeks. But hey, it is a battle of rookie starting quarterbacks! With that anecdote in mind, it’s honestly somewhat shocking that the media isn’t salivating over this game. At any rate, for the New England Patriots, Sunday’s road tilt against the Houston Texans is widely expected to serve as a get-right spot. For the Texans, it will likely be another miserable afternoon. The NFL betting odds sure think so, as they have labeled the visitors as hefty favorites in advance of this showdown.
Opening Lines: Patriots -7.5; O/U 41.5
Current Lines: Patriots -9; O/U 39.5
Location: NRG Stadium — Houston, TX
Start Time: 1 p.m. EDT
Last Meeting: November 22, 2020 — The Texans defeated the Patriots 27-20 in Houston.
In all honesty, the Patriots could very easily have a record of 3-1 instead of the current 1-3 that the standings show. New England fumbled away a potential Week 1 win against the Miami Dolphins. Most recently, the Patriots outplayed the reigning Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, only to miss a potential game-winning field goal late. If nothing else, the future of the franchise appears to be in good hands. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones has looked the part through four games. Week 4 saw Damien Harris and the Pats’ run game completely shut down by the Buccaneers. Jones rose to the occasion, completing 31 of 40 pass attempts for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Given that the Patriots couldn’t generate any sort of run game last week, that led to a number of pass-catchers having a productive game. While the offense lacks any big-name receivers, Bill Belichick has assembled a solid group. Each of Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor had over 50 yards receiving. Running back Brandon Bolden also eclipsed the half-century mark as he takes over the “James White role” out of the backfield. The Patriots’ defense has been solid to begin the year, especially against the pass. Football Outsiders grades them second in adjusted efficiency defending the pass, but only 29th against the run.
The Texans were massive 17-point NFL betting underdogs for their Week 4 game against the Buffalo Bills. Not only did Houston fail to cover that gigantic spread, but they didn’t even come close. The Texans barely surpassed 100 yards of total offense last week and were shut out 40-0. Rookie QB Davis Mills was no match for a talented Buffalo defense. He threw four interceptions and finished with only 87 yards passing. 47 of those went to Brandin Cooks on five receptions. If the team’s goal is indeed to tank this season away, the sudden switch from Tyrod Taylor to Mills at quarterback is certainly helping their cause.
This guy’s an ABSOLUTE MANIAC pic.twitter.com/bPeGCzPcNz
— Gump Cathcart (@bubbagumpino) October 4, 2021
It doesn’t figure to get any easier for Houston offensively this week against Bill and the viral Steve Belichick’s defense in Sunday’s NFL betting matchup. (Hey, I had to try and generate some excitement in the Texans portion of the article somehow!) While the final score last week was quite ugly, it should be noted that the Texans’ defense actually held its own for a while. They forced the Bills to settle for some field goals early on. Ultimately, the five offensive turnovers were simply too much for the D to overcome.
- The Patriots are 2-2 ATS and 0-4 to the over this season.
- The Texans are 2-2 ATS and 2-2 to the over this season.
- Ten of the Patriots’ last 12 games have gone under the total.
- Texans are just 1-8 SU in their last nine games.
- Patriots are 8-4 ATS in their last 12 head-to-head matchups against the Texans.
While the Texans did manage to pick up a win at home over the Patriots last season, these are two very different teams taking the field at NRG Stadium this time around. The most glaring difference is Davis Mills under center for Houston compared to Deshaun Watson. Of course, half of Bill Belichick’s defense opted out of last season as well. New England is clearly the more talented team in this Week 5 tilt. They are a massive NFL betting favorite for a reason.
Looking at the lines for this game, the one thing that doesn’t quite add up is the sizeable point spread and the sub-40 total. Games that are expected to be low-scoring typically have smaller point spreads simply because there is less expected variance. Is the Texans’ offense that bad with Mills that we can ignore this angle? I tend to lean towards saying yes on that. It may not be as ugly as last week’s effort in Buffalo, but Mills will be plenty overmatched again on Sunday. Given the fact that the Patriots are a much better team than their 1-3 record suggests, they should cruise to a double-digit victory in this spot.
Pick: Patriots -9
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