When the sportsbooks released a line on this AFC encounter, those making NFL picks jumped all over one team and lifted the total as well. Did they make the right choice? Read on and see what you think.
Don’t Feel Sorry for Houston
The latest ESPN Power Rankings came out Tuesday and with the Texans recent loss to Jacksonville, the votes for these rankings have made Houston the worst team in the NFL.
Consider on Nov. 25, 2012, the Texans had a 10-1 record and were being considered the team to beat in the AFC and oddsmakers had begun adjusting the betting odds to reflect Houston’s newfound public following.
While Houston steadily improved on head coach Gary Kubiak’s watch, there were elements that were being ignored.
Kubiak has seldom been a risk-taker and this has shown in making changes in personnel and his game management. He only went away from Matt Schaub when there was no other choice and maybe he knew Case Keenum was not ready to be a starting quarterback, which is something he has to talk to the general manager about.
Several players have commented this season saying Houston has always been an “easy read”, because they seldom make second half adjustments, which is why this season they have one of the worst scoring differentials in the final two quarters this season.
Lastly, a professional gambler friend of mine named Sal, told me this about Houston. “They are soft, they seldom play hard and other than (J.J.) Watt, they are a bunch of …….(the actual word cannot be used here).”
In other words, those who study the NFL odds have lost respect for Houston who have lost nine in a row.
Mental Game as Much Physical for New England
The Patriots astonishing second half and overtime performance had to be seen to comprehend. Watching the emotions of the New England players as they overcome a 24-0 halftime deficit was something to behold.
With all the energy which was required to pull off such a stunt, what NFL football handicappers and sports bettors everywhere want to know is what will the Pats have left in the tank for a team which is playing like it has tanked?
Will New England players be energized to carry that emotion forward and bury a team ready to take the 8-count almost immediately? Or will it be similar to last season, when after pulling of a nearly similar miracle against San Francisco before losing 41-34; will Bill Belechick’s squad be as flat as they were in a 23-16 non-cover as 13.5-point favorites at Jacksonville?
Trying to determine feelings is a tricky way to handicap.
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NFL Betting Odds and Matchup Numbers
The NFL betting public made their case loud and clear, moving Tom Brady’s team from -4.5 to -7.5. They are counting on Houston to roll over like the figurative dogs they are and also knowing the Texans are 0-6 ATS at home.
With New England, a blossoming favorite general means a higher total and this is the case in this context with the NFL odds pushed from 45 to 47. Belichick’s bunch is 6-0 OVER after gaining 375 or more total yards in three consecutive games.
What to Watch For
With Brady having all of his weapons available, he played like the quarterback of old in the second half especially and he will look to exploit a Houston defense which has been weakened by player losses. While it is not entirely the defenses fault, despite their No. 2 total defense ranking, the Texans are dead last in yards per points allowed.
Case Keenum is having issues understanding blitzes and coach Belichick has a long history of success versus youthful quarterbacks.
While Houston plays like they feel sorry for themselves and their given circumstance, the number of key injuries is still fewer than what the Patriots have experienced. The Texans players need to suck it up and play to talent level.
No question, one of my sports picks will be on New England as the current price, since Houston acts like they want a hug and this Patriots team will not oblige.NFL Football Free Pick- New England -7.5