Bet Texans to Cover in Sundays Clash Against Jaguars

Nikki Adams

Monday, December 1, 2014 2:13 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 2:13 PM UTC

Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off huge wins in week 13 NFL betting. Something is going to have to give when they collide next Sunday. Here's our breakdown of this matchup, complete with early NFL odds and picks.

Ryan Fitzpatrick's Redemption
After nine starts and a 4-5 SU record, Houston Texans benched Ryan Fitzpatrick in favour of backup Ryan Mallet. When Mallet led the Texans to victory in his first NFL start as a Texan two weeks ago that was the veteran's season done for the foreseeable, so it was thought.  Such is the lot of journeyman quarterbacks though and all Fitzpatrick could do was sit, wait and hope for a chance at redemption.  

The chance came. And as it often does when a rookie is installed, it came sooner rather than later. Mallet, in only his second start of the season, suffered a season-ending chest injury (injured his pectoral muscle) as the Texans succumbed to a 22-13 loss to Cincinnati in week 12 NFL betting. The Texans had no option but to turn back to their seasoned starter for the following week's clash against Tennessee. Granted the Titans are one of the season's weaklings and the Texans were firmly favoured to both win SU and cover across NFL betting platforms at -260 NFL odds and -6.5-points against the spread. Nobody, though, not even the Texans' organisation in their wildest imagination, could have predicted the virtuoso performance by Fitzpatrick: completing 24-of-33 passes for 358 yards and a career-high SIX touchdowns.

In nine starts on the season, Fitzpatrick hadn't thrown for more than 289 yards and two touchdowns, so this Peyton-Manning-esque performance came completely out of nowhere. It's also worth noting J.J. Watt's outstanding account on the day. The defensive end had his third touchdown reception of the season, two sacks and forced and recovered a fumble, all of which just adds weight to his mounting MVP bid this season.

It's unlikely Fitzpatrick would channel Peyton Manning for a second straight appearance since coming off the bench. But the bookies have cornered the clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars in their camp, installing the Texans as the firm 3.5-to-4-point road favourites, depending on your sportsbook of choice.

Blake Bortles stuns Eli Manning and the Giants
Blake Bortles led the Jaguars to the franchise's biggest come-from-behind win when he erased a 21-point deficit to beat the Giants 25-24, all while covering as the 3-point home underdogs. The win marked the Jaguars' second win of the season, first since an upset over the Cleveland Browns in week 7 NFL betting.

All in all, it was a topsy-turvy game that offers many talking points, mainly whether the Giants simply lost the game or the Jaguars actually won it. To look at the opposing halves of the game is to continue hashing out that debate. Consider from an empirical performance assessment: Giants raced to an early 21-point lead in the first half only to counter with three points in the second half, and the Jaguars could only put up 3 points in the first half but somehow found their way to 22-points in the second half. It looks to be more of a case of the former rather than the latter. That's not to take anything away from the Jaguars but, arguably, the Giants lost a game they really should have won.

NFL Betting Verdict
Behind the morale-boosting win over the Giants, the Jaguars improve to 2-10 SU and 2-4 SU at home. Hardly the record of a competitive team, is it. Quite fittingly they enter this upcoming clash with the Texans as no less than the 3.5-point underdogs. Taking the shine off their NFL odds for their upcoming clash is a 3-8-1 ATS record overall this season with an 11.9-point margin of defeat, 8-18-2 since 2013 with a 12.3-point margin of defeat.

The Texans are behind a spectacular performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick and J.J. Watt that will motivate them down the stretch as they continue in their quest for an AFC playoff spot. It's unlikely Fitzpatrick would rise to the occasion quite as spectacularly as he did against the Titans, but you never know.  When that came out of nowhere, who is to say it won't happen again. Importantly, in the Jaguars they have an essentially a winnable game, and so for this NFL pick they should both win and cover on the road. Houston are 7-5 ATS this season with a 3.3-point margin of victory and 4-2 ATS with a 3.8-point winning margin on average on the road.

Free NFL Pick: Houston -4 at BookMaker

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