Drew Lock and the Denver Broncos are worth a look for your NFL picks when they visit the Houston Texans this Sunday.
Jason’s 2019 NFL picks record through Week 13: 9-6 ATS, 6-6 Totals
Denver Broncos vs Houston Texans
Sunday, December 8 at 1 PM ET, NRG Stadium, CBS
Being a replacement-level quarterback isn’t so bad. Consider Drew Lock; he won his first NFL start last week, leading the Denver Broncos (4-8 SU, 7-5 ATS) to a 23-20 comeback over the Los Angeles Chargers as 4.5-point road dogs. It wasn’t epic by any means, but judging from that very small sample size, Lock is the best quarterback the Broncos have had since Trevor Siemian’s 2016 rookie campaign.
That upgrade is enough for us to recommend Denver for your Week 14 NFL picks – at least for a small sum. They’re visiting the Houston Texans (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) this Sunday, and the consensus reports at press time show 55 percent of early bettors on the Broncos at +9.5. Early money is sharp money, right?
A Small Price To Pay
That’s what they say. Here’s what our favorite stat nerds have to say, using their fancy non-proprietary computer projections
FiveThirtyEight: Houston –8.5
Jeff Sagarin: Houston –7.69, 41.57 total
The total for Sunday’s matchup has moved from 41 to as high as 42.5 on the NFL odds board, but we wouldn’t have had much profit margin to work with either way, so let’s concentrate on that spread. We’ll have close to our desired two points of difference if Sagarin’s “Rating” numbers are accurate; however, we should point out that his eigenvector-based projection is Houston –8.46, which is very close to where Nate Silver’s crew has it.
This is why we’re only recommending a fun-sized wager. Sure enough, if you check out the expanded consensus report for Week 14 – and you should – you’ll see that Denver is pulling in an average bet of $57, which is eminently reasonable. Small edge, small bet.
It would help our cause if the Texans were overvalued, but the market seems to have them pegged pretty well at 6-6 ATS. Maybe last week’s 28-22 win over the New England Patriots (–3 away) on Sunday Night Football is bringing some of those “recreational bettors” into the fold. That was a good win for Houston, but they’re still No. 15 on the DVOA charts at Football Outsiders – one spot behind the 5-7 Cleveland Browns, and five behind the 5-7 Philadelphia Eagles.
The Texans are only one game up on the 7-5 Tennessee Titans in the AFC South standings, so maybe they’ll be focussed enough this Sunday to avoid the “let-down” trap and put away the Broncos (No. 23 in DVOA). But in what projects to be a low-scoring game, we’ll take Denver and all those points, thank you kindly.
Free NFL Pick: Broncos +9.5 (+100) at Intertops