NFL Picks: Texans on the Rise, but Can Niners Prove their Critics Wrong?

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 1:52 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 1:52 PM UTC

The Niners and Texans get their NFL Preseason underway on Saturday when they collide at NRG Stadium. Check out our NFL betting analysis, complete with cutting-edge NFL odds and NFL picks.

Big Question Mark Hangs Over San Francisco 49ers
A big question mark hangs over the San Francisco 49ers going into the 2015-2016 NFL season, prompting an energetic debate amongst NFL fans, divided about which way the Niners are headed: up or down. If the NFL odds were any indication, they are widely expected to take a step backwards.

Can the Niners prove their critics wrong? Perhaps, their preseason will give us an early indication about their chances to emerge as legitimate contenders in the NFC.

The Niners begin the exhibition round of games at the NRG Stadium in Texas, where they’ll face off against a very promising Houston Texans, anchored by a stout defense. Last season, the Niners closed their warmup campaign at the NRG Stadium with an impressive 40-13 win. It marked their second straight win in the 2014 preseason as they finished 2-2 SU.

It’s worth noting that Colin Kaepernick was rested in that belated win, giving way to the backups to duke it out before coach Jim Harbaugh. Blaine Gabbert went 4 of 11 for 60 yards before third-string quarterback Josh Johnson took over and threw for three TDs.

As this meeting comes in week 1 NFL betting, Colin Kaepernick is sure to see a portion of the play time. There are many NFL betting fans that have gone off the Niners’ quarterback after his rather abysmal account last season. But he’s had some offseason training with Kurt Warner, which reportedly has gone rather well and could see him take a step forward in 2015-2016.

The amount of wholesale changes that have taken place over the offseason in San Francisco are dizzying, to say the least. From top to bottom, the comings and goings are endless (Aldon Smith is the latest to be let go). Essentially, this is now a totally different team than the one Jim Harbaugh left behind for the greener pastures of college football. That’s worth taking stock of when considering your NFL picks here.


Houston Texans On The Rise?
Houston Texans are behind a positive 9-7 SU season but missing the NFL playoffs. In any event, there’s a bit of buzz about the Texans and their prospects in the coming NFL season. They’ve nicked Brian Hoyer from the Cleveland Browns (they have the superbly talented dud Johnny Manziel after all), who is sure to get the starting job, one would think. They have some interesting backup talent in Ryan Mallet and Tom Savage as well.

Defense is synonymous with the Texans. J.J. Watt springs to mind, ever so quickly when one contemplates the Houston backline. But they have plenty of depth beyond the 6’6” monster as well that is key to their strength.


NFL Betting Odds and Picks: Niners vs. Texans
Home advantage coupled with a more established unit on the field gives the Texans the slight 3-point edge on the spread against the Niners. While the defensive-minded tendencies of both outfits has yielded a rather low total of 35.5 on the NFL odds board with the OVER and UNDER trading at -110.

Preseason is mostly about the backups rather than the regulars, so it’s important to consider the merit of both teams’ backup rosters against each other. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that there’s a lot less strategizing on the coaching end in the preseason, it’s just about rolling the dice in order to determine the roster they’re most confident in for the coming season.

That said both teams will want to start strong in the preseason for a variety of reasons. New coach Jim Tomsula, who’s worked his way up the ladder in San Francisco, will be keen to prove his merit as the caretaker-apparent to Jim Harbaugh; he leaves big shoes to fill with three straight NFC Championship games and one fourth-down conversion away from a Super Bowl. Colin Kaepernick has many critics to silence while Brian Hoyer will be looking to prove he’s a legitimate NFL starter.

As a result, this has the makings of a very close game, a battle of the trenches between two stout defences. It could go either way, really. We’re taking a leap of faith on the Niners and backing them on our NFL picks as the 3-point underdogs to cover. What about you?

NFL Picks: Niners +3.0 at BetOnline

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