NFL Opening Odds Report for Thursday’s Colts vs. Texans

Jason Lake

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 6:36 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 6:36 PM GMT

The Indianapolis Colts keep finding ways to beat the NFL odds. This Thursday night, they’ve got another tough task: Beat the improved Houston Texans in their own stadium by at least a field goal.

Jason’s Record After Week 5: 19-16 ATS, 5-7-1 Totals

Profit: plus-0.1 units
 

Another game, another payday for the Indianapolis Colts. They got a bit of a scare from the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, but in the end, the Colts won 20-13 as 2.5-point home faves to improve to 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS. They’re 25-12 SU and ATS since head coach Chuck Pagano was hired and QB Andrew Luck was drafted first overall. It’s been an amazing run on many levels.

But can the Colts withstand the NFL betting power of the Houston Texans (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS)? Houston was one of our Top 5 follow candidates going into the new season, and everything’s gone according to plan thus far. The Texans opened as 2-point home dogs on our Week 6 NFL odds board before edging upward to +3  at BookMaker (–125) at press time; however, the early consensus has been nearly 70 percent on Indianapolis.
 

Don’t Push Your Luck
If you’re new to betting on the NFL, you may have missed that amazing 2012 season for the Colts. They made an unusually quick turnaround from that beastly 2-14 nightmare (6-10 ATS) they suffered with Peyton Manning out for the year and Curtis Painter (66.6 passer rating) starting half their games. And they did it despite Pagano having to sit out most of the season for cancer treatment.

Going into the 2013 campaign, the Chuckstrong Colts were expected to regress to the mean. But they kept on rolling, beating the football odds even while their schedule got tougher and their third- and fourth-down conversion rates smoothed out:

2012 Colts: No. 32 SOS, 43.0 percent on 3rd down, 70.0 percent on 4th down
2013 Colts: No. 23 SOS, 38.1 percent on 3rd down, 41.7 percent on 4th down

This year, the Colts are in the middle of the table again in conversion rates, and they’ve had a fairly average schedule through five games at minus-1.2 SOS according to Pro Football Reference. In a way, the schedule gods have set up Luck and the Colts to succeed, giving them incrementally tougher hurdles to climb and allowing them the chance to outgrow the regression monsters. For now, at least.
 

Foster Home
The Houston Texans are a whole other kettle of barbecue. They regressed real hard last year, falling from 12-4 (9-7 ATS) in 2012 to 2-14 (4-12 ATS) under the weight of injuries and the drying up of QB Matt Schaub (73.0 passer rating). Injuries are still a bit of a concern; Houston’s prize No. 1 pick, LB Jadeveon Clowney, is out until at least Week 7 with a torn meniscus. But Ryan Fitzpatrick (82.3 passer rating) has stabilized the QB position with his typical middle-of-the-road play.

The Texans are coming off a 20-17 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys (–5 at home), so they’re not in the most upbeat of moods with Indianapolis coming to town on a short week. These Thursday night games (8:25 p.m. ET, CBS) have become a serious point of contention for players like RB Arian Foster, who sat out Monday’s walk-through to allow his injured hamstring some time to heal – Foster missed Week 3 with that injury as the New York Giants (–1 at home) beat Houston 30-17, the only ATS loss for the Texans this year.

Otherwise, Houston is theoretically a good betting value as the home dog in this matchup, facing the public Colts and their poster-boy quarterback. But Indianapolis was a unanimous choice at the open before tailing off to 70 percent consensus. It’s hard to argue with 25-12 ATS. We’ll have our NFL picks for this contest (ATS and total) as the week progresses.

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