Expert Picks Redskins vs. Texans in NFL Week 1 Odds

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 3:01 PM GMT

If the NFL held a Toilet Bowl instead of a Super Bowl at the end of each season with the worst team in AFC facing the worst team in the NFC, these two clubs—the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans—would have played in that game last season.

This is a pretty surprising reality with the visions both had of improvement just a couple of seasons back. On Sunday, these two meet in the season opener at Houston’s HRG Stadium (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT) in a game that is a very tough handicap and may well may also be a tough one to watch.

New Washington coach Jay Gruden and the Redskins (3-13, SU, 5-11 ATS) head to Space City to face another new coach, Bill O’Brien, and the Texans (2-14 SU, 4-12 ATS) in a Week 1 inter-conference game, and, by looking at both teams’ straight up and point spread records from last season, one can see why both have new coaches and leery fans now. The two teams have only one direction to go after 2013, but looking at their rosters and depth charts, it seems the best thing(s) for Washington and Houston is that they play in the NFC East and the AFC South, respectively—divisions where neither second-place team (Cowboys, Titans) finished above the .500 mark last season.


This is a Game Where Anything Can Happen and Nobody Would Be Surprised
Oddsmakers around the world have made the host Texans 2½- to 3-point favorites, which means these two teams are pretty even and that the home-field advantage is the field goal-sized number the gambler can give, take or stay away from, which is always sage advice. The Total Points in the game is at 45 almost everywhere and shows these two teams aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts. Houston said adios to head coach Gary Kubiak and starting Quarterback Matt Schaub—likely a good move for the Texans but it will take time to get O’Brien and new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on the same wavelength and the fact the team added Ryan Mallett (Patriots) to the roster shows that they’re still a little bit suspect about who will ultimately be leading the team behind center.

The Redskins (4-6 ATS L10 first Road game of year) have also had their own share of issues, and are hoping Gruden can help QB Robert Griffin evolve into more of a pocket QB instead of one that roams and runs and gets hit, jeopardizing the team’s most important player—himself.  Griffin has some decent targets now including WRs DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon and Santana Moss, among others, but what this team, as well as the Texans (5-3 ATS first Home game of year) really need to work on is their defense(s).


How Bad Were These Two Teams Last NFL Season?
Have you seen Snow Dogs? If so, that bad. Maybe Nickelback level bad. Bologna sandwich (without the mayonnaise) bad. The numbers just don’t lie sometimes bubba. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars (-202 PD) had a worse point differential than either the Redskins (-144) or the Texans (-152) last season and the two teams had a total of only 9 point spread wins between them out of 32 total results (28.1%). That means you would have won 72% of the time (23-9 ATS) fading the Redskins and Texans last season. So now you know. 

As far as both teams and their odds to Win the Super Bowl, it’s interesting to see that as bad as Houston was last season, and having a new head coach and new QB and all, that it is still a seemingly steep 25/1 to win Super Bowl XLIX (in Glendale, Arizona on February 1, 2015) here in Las Vegas at the SuperBook, a renowned sports book in the LVH casino recently bought out by Westgate Resorts. By contrast, the also lowly Redskins are 60/1 to become NFL champions, but when you think about the fact that the Texans (Season win total 7½o -155, LVH SuperBook) have been blessed to have both the aforementioned Jacksonville Jaguars (5 Over -145) and the Tennessee Titans (7 Over -135) in their division. And further proof of the division’s overall weakness? The best NFL Odds To Win AFC South for Houston are less than appealing (+275, Paddy Power). The lucky benefactor from all this mediocrity? The Indianapolis Colts (9½u -120, 4/7 to win AFC South).
 

Can We Possibly Make Vegetable Soup Out of a Stone and a Carrot?
Out of all the games on the Week 1 NFL schedule, this one is one to miss and may only be rivaled in its Sheer Potential Boredom Level by the Titans-Chiefs game in Kansas City. But we’re here to examine potential betting angles and be honest, so, maybe the First Scoring Play has some value with the small plus an the Field Goal (+130, bet365)? That’s such a gamble though. Pass.

The best approach I can see in this game is to find and take the 3 points as these teams are very equal and the Redskins should have the slight edge on offense with the more experienced and more mobile QB (Griffin) and the ever-dangerous Jackson. The low Total indicates the probability of a lower-scoring game (by NFL standards), and one extreme trend (Marc Lawrence Playbook) reveals that the Texans are 0-10-1 vs. .400< non-conference opponents and, at 3-13, Washington (.188 winning percentage) certainly fit that criteria.

Another little thing I noticed which is worth pointing out here is that Houston’s (4-12 ATS) four ATS covers last season were by 5½, 1, 4 and ½ point, or a total of just 11 points. That’s razor thin. So thin that the Texans were within one score in each of those four games from losing ATS and possibly going a nearly impossible 0-16 ATS on the season. That’s the kind of team I like to bet against.

Free NFL Pick: We will recommend the Redskins +3  as your NFL pick at BetOnline

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