NFL Picks: Texans Player Props for Thursday Night Vs. Colts

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, October 8, 2015 1:40 PM GMT

1st place is on the line in the wretched AFC South Thursday night as the Texans look to end a 5-game losing streak vs. Indy. Let's examine some Texans player props from various sportsbooks.

The last AFC South team to beat the Colts? That would be Houston on Dec. 16, 2012, but the Texans have beaten Indianapolis just four times overall in 26 meetings. Even though Houston is only 1-3, it could find itself in a tie for first place by the end of Week 5. The Colts are 2-2, while Tennessee is 1-2 but a home underdog to Buffalo on Sunday. Jacksonville is also 1-3 and slight dog Sunday at Tampa Bay. Being 1-3 doesn't mean your playoff hopes are over, either. Since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was instituted, 25 teams have rebounded from a losing record after four weeks to qualify for the postseason. Four of those clubs advanced to their conference championship games, including the 2001 New England Patriots (1-3) en route to their Super Bowl XXXVI victory. However, no team in 2014 made the playoffs with a losing record after four games. Houston is +750 on NFL odds to win the AFC South.

 

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Texans 'Over/Under' 21.5 Completions, 223.5 Passing Yards, 2.5 TDs + INTs
So why isn't an individual Houston quarterback listed? Because oddsmakers clearly aren't that confident that current starter Ryan Mallett will last the entire way. Mallett has a cannon for an arm, maybe the best in the NFL, but he's wildly inaccurate. Think of maybe a Jeff George, who once played for the Colts. Or David Carr, a former No. 1 overall pick by the Texans. In the Week 4 blowout loss in Atlanta, Mallett was just 12-for-27 for 150 with an interception. That's a passer rating of 46.8. Mallett is last by far in the NFL with a completion percentage of 51.8, and his 65.3 rating is better than only Andrew Luck's (now that's a surprise!). Texans coach Bill O'Brien pulled Mallett for Week 1 starter Brian Hoyer with Houston down 42-0 to the Falcons, but he's sticking with Mallett for now. However, O'Brien said his QB "has to play better." Hoyer and Mallett were about dead even coming out of training camp, so O'Brien won't have any problem pulling Mallett, especially as O'Brien knows a loss here essentially ends all playoff hopes. The Houston QBs might catch a break in that the Colts' best cornerback, Vontae Davis, is questionable with a foot injury. Indy is No. 23 in passing defense, allowing 268.0 yards per game. It has given up six touchdowns and three picks.

NFL Free Picks: 'UNDER' all.

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Arian Foster O/U 74.5 Rushing Yards, +350 To Be Texans' First TD Scorer
Foster is clearly the centerpiece of the Houston offense -- no team ran it more last year than the Texans and Foster was excellent when healthy. But that's his problem, staying healthy. He missed the first three weeks of this season after tearing his groin early in training camp. He might have been a tad rusty in his debut last week against the Falcons, rushing eight times for only 10 yards. To be fair, Houston was down so big so fast that the running game was taken out of the game plan. But the Texans' beat reporters expect Foster to be a much bigger part of the offense here. So do I. Foster loves facing the Colts, too. Since entering the league in 2009, the undrafted free agent leads the AFC with 53 rushing touchdowns and an average of 86.6 rushing yards per game, including 960 yards and eight touchdowns in eight career games against the Colts. Indy is No. 25 against the rush.

NFL Free Picks: 'OVER' and yes he will be. O'Brien wants to make it as easy on Mallett as possible, and that means a lot of Foster running the ball.

 

DeAndre Hopkins O/U 6.5 Receptions, 88.5 Yards
Deciding how to bet on Hopkins does depend a bit on whether the Colts' Davis plays because no doubt he would draw the primary assignment on Hopkins. The former Clemson star is having a nice season despite shaky QB play, catching 31 balls for 409 yards and three scores. He has been targeted a whopping 60 times in four games, which is on pace to set an NFL record. He might be targeted eve more tonight with fellow receiver Cecil Shorts III expected to miss the game. Hopkins also enters with back-to-back 100-yard games, a first in his young career. Hopkins was rather quiet in two games last year vs. Indy: two catches, 12 yards; and five catches, 77 yards. But Houston had Andre Johnson around last year.

NFL Free Picks: 'Over' receptions, 'UNDER' yards.