NFL Week 5 Predictions - Houston Texans vs Minnesota Vikings Odds & Free Picks

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 10:46 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 10:46 PM UTC

Our handicapper likes defense, which makes an early look at this Week 5 matchup an absolute necessity. Read on as he breaks down the game between Texans and Vikings for a valuable NFL pick.

 Houston Texans vs Minnesota Vikings

Wow, so after a pretty hot start I’ve dug myself into a little hole here to get out of, but that’s ok. Catch me on a hot streak as we look at some early lines for Week 5 action. How early? I’m writing this as the Minnesota Vikings finish up their Week 4 game against the New York Giants. If you are interested in early lines look no further than BetOnline, who with BookMaker and 5Dimes, consistently offer the earliest lines available to online bettors. For this game with the Minnesota Vikings hosting the Houston Texans, the Vikings have opened as early 5.5-point favorites at BetOnline, now offering 50% free play bonus. No total has been listed so far for this game.

Whenever that total is posted though, it figures to be on the low side. Both the Vikings and the Houston Texans are in the top 10 in the NFL in scoring defense. The Texans are particularly efficient in defending the pass, only allowing 162.5 yards per game through Week 4. They’ll draw Sam Bradford in Week 5, the ad hoc quarterback that the Vikings picked up in short order after Teddy Bridgewater went down. It could be said that Bradford has the best pedigree of any quarterback that the Texans have faced so far. The Texans have faced Jay Cutler (5 sacks), Alex Smith (4 sacks), Jacoby Brissett (1 sack), and Marcus Mariota (1 sack). The only loss in the above group was to Jacoby Brissett, as the Texans forgot to show up in Foxboro in Week 3.

Houston has succeeded in large part in spite of their new quarterback, Brock Osweiler. Osweiler’s raw passing stats have been serviceable, but he has been picked off at least once in each game so far this year – posting a 5/6 TD/INT ratio. Compare that to Bradford, who has performed his role as game manager very well and has not turned the ball over once all year. When you have a defense like Minnesota, just one turnover per game in your favor will just about win every game.

If we are talking about quarterbacks played against, we can’t go on without mentioning that the Vikings have beat Marcus Mariota, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and Eli Manning already this year. That is a pretty decent list of talent. They are among the lead leaders in sacks and interceptions this year, which I believe to be a function of their superior defensive front.

Even though the Texans are 3-1 this year, I just can’t find a reason to fade the Minnesota defense at home in this spot. I guess the only reason might be that they are coming off of a short week and a Monday Night Football game. However, they got through that game relatively unscathed, so I have no problem grabbing this early line at 5.5-points favoring the Vikings for my Week 5 NFL picks.


Free NFL Picks: Vikings 5.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline
2016 NFL Record: 5-9, -4.85 Units

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