NFL Betting: Sharps Going Big for Texans in Wild Card Weekend

Jason Lake

Friday, January 8, 2016 2:01 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 2:01 PM GMT

Are the good times over for the Kansas City Chiefs? It looks like most of the sharps prefer the Houston Texans for Saturday's Wild Card matchup at the En Arr Gee.

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NFL Pick: Texans +4 (–115)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

Who's the best team in the NFL right now? If you go by the Weighted DVOA stats at Football Outsiders, it's the Seattle Seahawks, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs (11-5 SU, 8-8 ATS). Look a little farther down the charts, and you'll find the Houston Texans at No. 13. The Texans are in the playoffs at 9-7 SU and ATS, courtesy of their AFC South division title. And they're 3-point home dogs on the NFL odds board for Saturday's Wild Card game, delightfully scheduled for 4:20 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

Did somebody say “home dogs”? We know a remote farm in Lincolnshire, where the sharps live. Every January, bankrolls grow there – fattened up by betting on underdogs playing at home. And according to our expanded consensus reports, the wiseguys are on Houston like a rash this week; although just 40 percent of bettors are on the Texans, they're providing 82 percent of the monies wagered, for a hefty average bet of $1,030 compared to $148 for Kansas City.

 

Keep the Home Frise Burning
All well and good, but our numbers also point to a well-heeled portion of the marketplace sticking with the Chiefs. As we go to press, our surveys have K.C. pulling in five $1,000+ bets to just two for Houston. Clueless high-rollers, or savvy sharps with deep pockets? It's difficult to say.

Let's start with that whole “home dog” narrative. Underdogs have been a profitable NFL pick in general during the playoffs, going 71-58 ATS (55.0 percent) since 2003. During the Wild Card round? Not so hot: 22-24 ATS (47.8 percent). However, narrow that range down to home dogs, and you get 10-10 ATS during the playoffs and 7-6 ATS in the Wild Card round – including 5-2 ATS since 2010 inclusive. Intriguing.

 

Ryan > Brian > Ryan
But is Houston the home dog we're looking for? Quite possibly. We've already made UNDER 40 our pick against the total, anticipating a low-scoring game between two defensively sound teams. Low scores naturally make it harder for the favorites to cover the spread – although three points isn't gargantuan by any means. We're also encouraged by the return of QB Brian Hoyer, who's played close to league-average this year. Hoyer's no Ryan Fitzpatrick, mind you, but he's also no Ryan Mallett.

There are two other home dogs available this weekend: the Cincinnati Bengals (+3) and the Minnesota Vikings (+5). It doesn't look like the sharps are particularly interested in either of those two teams, judging by our consensus reports. So let's do some bandwagon-hopping and put the Texans in our Wild Card picks. You should have no problem buying them at more than a field goal if you shop around, so get cracking, and may the prolate spheroid be with you this weekend.

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