Fearless Sharps Jump on Texans Early

Jason Lake

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 4:07 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 4:07 PM UTC

With the Oakland Raiders running out of quarterbacks, sharps are willing to put (gulp) Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans in their NFL picks for Wild Card Weekend. 

Record: 22-23-1 ATS, 4-9 Totals

It’s a shame we don’t get to see what the Oakland Raiders would have done in the playoffs with Derek Carr at quarterback. For that matter, we might not get to see Matt McGloin this Saturday (4:35 p.m. ET, ABC) when the Raiders visit the Houston Texans in their AFC Wild Card matchup. McGloin hurt his shoulder in Week 17 and looks very iffy for the postseason.

The Texans aren’t sure who their quarterback will be, either. Tom Savage suffered a concussion in the season finale, so it could be Brock Osweiler at the controls this Saturday. That hasn’t stopped the Texans from scooping up 56-58 percent of early bettors at –3.5 on the NFL odds board. And our consensus reports show 63 percent support for the UNDER on a very low total of 36.5 points.

Dude, Where’s My Carr?

We don’t have enough data yet for an expanded consensus report, so this is presumably some light action we’re dealing with here; in fact, none of the eight teams playing on Wild Card Weekend is drawing overwhelming support at press time. But Houston is the closest thing on the board to a “sharp” NFL pick.

And it’s because Carr isn’t around. FiveThirtyEight have slapped an Elo-based spread of Oakland –1 on Saturday’s contest, but Elo doesn’t account for Carr’s broken leg. He was having a Pro Bowl-quality season, too, ranking sixth among quarterbacks in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) at Football Outsiders. McGloin is a replacement-level quarterback; so was Connor Cook in his brief stint this year.

The drop-off between Savage and Osweiler isn’t quite as dramatic. Savage also performed at replacement-level after taking over for Osweiler, who was near the bottom of the efficiency charts this year after leaving the Denver Broncos as a free agent. Now that the Raiders offense has been knocked down two pegs or three, Osweiler (or Savage, if he clears protocol) will have a relatively winnable home game facing Oakland’s sub-par defense. We’ll buy that for a dollar.

Free NFL Pick: Texans –3.5 (+100)Best Line Offered: at BetDSI

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