NFL Picks: Texans vs. 49ers in Week 5

Jason Lake

Thursday, October 3, 2013 3:29 PM GMT

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 3:29 PM GMT

The Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers have both been as mediocre as their 2-2 records would suggest. But the Week 5 NFL odds have the Niners laying nearly a touchdown at home.

Our weekly NFL regular season coverage continues with Daily NFL Week 5 Betting Odds Report!

We’re about to learn something very important about the Houston Texans and the San Francisco 49ers. Each team is 2-2 SU heading into their Sunday Night Football matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) at Candlestick Park; the Texans have yet to cover this year, while the 49ers have scuffled their way to 2-2 ATS. One of these teams will feel a lot better about the 2013 season after the final gun. Which one should you add to your sports picks?

The NFL betting lines suggest it’ll be San Francisco. As we go to press, the Niners are favored by 6.5 points at most online sportsbooks, which does seem a bit ambitious for a team that looked ripe for the picking just a week ago. The sharps have responded by pounding the Texans at over 60 percent on our early consensus reports; that’s in fairly light betting, though. Not a strong vote of confidence for Houston.

 [gameodds]16/226943/?r3=349-43-192-19-999997-118-238-227/dec&r-1=349-43-192-19/us[/gameodds]

 Average Joe

It’s not easy to get geared up for either of these two teams right now. Football Outsiders have published their Week 4 efficiency stats, freshly adjusted for strength of opposition, and the results are as meh as you’d expect: Houston sits at No. 17 overall (No. 22 offense, No. 5 defense, No. 30 special teams), one spot ahead of San Francisco (No. 17 offense, No. 18 defense, No. 26 special teams).

The NFL lines are giving the Niners the benefit of the doubt after last week’s 35-11 evisceration of the St. Louis Rams (+3 at home). That was a Thursday night matchup, which gives the home team a few extra days to prepare for a Texans team that has lost back-to-back games, including Sunday’s 23-20 meltdown in overtime against the Seattle Seahawks (–1 away). Momentum!

Rams Schmams

Winning is always nice, but putting the boots to the Rams isn’t that big of a deal. St. Louis checks in at No. 30 on the efficiency charts after Week 4. The Rams so-called defense is No. 29 overall. Houston will almost certainly do a much better job of containing the Niners, especially with LB Brian Cushing expected to play after suffering what appears to be a mild concussion against Seattle.

The bigger question with the Texans is on offense. Their two losses coincide with the absence of Pro Bowl LT Duane Brown, who has a “pretty bad case” of turf toe and is officially listed as day-to-day. Ryan Harris has performed reasonably well in Brown’s absence, but QB Matt Schaub has still been getting hit on a regular basis, and his plus-42 passing DYAR sits No. 22 among qualifying quarterbacks through Week 4.

To Be Frank

The Texans have a few bumps and bruises, but their lineup is largely intact, which is more than we can say about San Francisco. The latest casualty is rookie WR Quinton Patton, who broke his foot against St. Louis, further thinning out the depth chart behind WR Anquan Boldin (24 catches, two TDs). However, as long as gimpy TE Vernon Davis (11 catches, 3 TDs) is available, Boldin should continue to see less double coverage than he did earlier in the season.

I think the key here is Houston’s run defense. Except for the Seahawks (6.0 yards per carry), Houston’s opponents haven’t gotten much done on the ground this year. San Francisco’s win over St. Louis was powered by RB Frank Gore (7.7 yards per carry), who was mostly silent in the first two weeks before steamrolling the Indianapolis Colts (No. 26 overall in run defense) and the Rams (No. 20). Do that again versus Houston, and I’ll start looking at the NFL odds a little differently.

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NFL Pick: Take the Texans +6.5 on the spread at William Hill

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