Texans vs. Cardinals NFL Preseason Betting Picks

Nikki Adams

Friday, August 8, 2014 6:53 PM GMT

Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals kick-start respective preseason schedules on Saturday when they collide at University of Phoenix Stadium. Here’s a preview of this clash complete with NFL odds and predictions.

Houston Texans +2.0 -110, O/U 38.00 -110
The Houston Texans were so horrible last season that surely they can only go up from the 2-14 output, which ushered in a complete overhaul and wholesale changes from top to bottom. Whether they can pull off a complete turnaround, not unlike last season’s Kansas City Chiefs that advanced into the playoffs on the back of an 11-5 mark, after finishing 2-14 in 2012, remains to be seen. Few sports fans would back that NFL betting pick at this early vantage point.

For that to happen, though, deciding on a quarterback has to be the first order of the day, one would think. The names in the hat leave something to be desired: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and Tom Savage don’t exactly leap off the page as Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. But one in this triplet needs to step up. As it were, it’s still unclear which is going to be the starter, so NFL bettors can assume/expect all three to feature in some measure on Saturday against the Cardinals as they vie for the coveted role.

 

Arizona Cardinals -2.0 -110, O/U 38.00 -110
Arizona Cardinals exist in a tough NFC West division, which contains two of the top Super Bowl betting favourites this season. While Cardinals had a largely successful 2013 – in any other division they might have made the playoffs – they missed postseason action with Seattle (13-3) and San Francisco (12-4) advancing instead. They understand better than anybody the monumental task that is before them this season if both NFC West rivals play up to their lofty standards.

Trends in the last two seasons augur well enough, suggesting they are a team on the rise in that very competitive field. Last term, they finish 10-6 (6-2 at home, 4-4 away), building positively on the 5-11 mark they closed the 2012 term on. Cardinals are confident they have what it takes to compete in 2014, build on their previous mark further. Offensively, there is a lot to recommend them if seasoned veteran Carson Palmer remains healthy and on form, and running back Andre Ellington and the receiving corps that includes Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd have a standout season. Where Cardinals are a question mark is on backup quarterback: Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas are in the running. This aspect is crucial particularly in preseason action where just about everybody gets playing time.

 

NFL Betting Analysis
Betting on NFL preseason action is tricky because teams rotate rosters from quarter to quarter. Just about everybody gets to play, making it difficult to get a handle on all the different matchups, how they stack up against one another.

Cardinals should win because they appear stronger on both sides of the ball. Offensively and defensively, they have loads of options to field. Carson Palmer is a veteran and he has loads of weapons to turn to when he takes the field. When the backups take the field, the game suddenly becomes a tossup. As it were, neither has proven much.

Texans could win: There’s a lot we don’t know about this team given the wholesale changes from new coach Bill O’Brian to potential quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and more. O’Brian however is sure to have a big impact on how Texans play offensively and that could be deciding, especially if offense on the Cardinals side comes down to backups (it’s quite likely it will as the Cardinals will want to save Palmer as much as possible for the regular season, giving him a series or two only). Defensively, the Texans have lots of attractive options as well, namely Jadeveon Clowney. It remains to be seen whether he’ll see playing time at all given he’s supposedly injured.

 

NFL Betting Verdict
It’s a tossup with either side taking the win. Cardinals would appear to be overall healthier and that gives them a slight edge, along with home field advantage. Texans have a lot to prove on offense, so they could pull off the upset on the road.
Free NFL Picks: Arizona to win straight up and cover -2.0 -110

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