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C.J. Stroud of the Houston Texans runs for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals, and we offer our top Texans vs. Colts prediction based on the best NFL odds.
C.J. Stroud of the Houston Texans runs for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images via AFP.

It's entirely possible the winner of Saturday night's game finishes the 2023 season as the AFC South champion, and we take a deeper dive into the matchup with our top Texans vs. Colts prediction based on the best NFL odds.

Two 9-7 teams do battle on Saturday with a playoff berth on the line, as the Houston Texans visit the Indianapolis Colts. The winner of this affair will secure the final wild-card spot in the AFC, and it's possible they'll also wear the AFC South crown.

If the Jacksonville Jaguars lose on Sunday to the Tennessee Titans, the winner of Saturday night's game will earn the division title.

It appeared earlier this year that the Jaguars were destined to win the AFC South when the Colts lost starting rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson in Week 5 and the Texans got off to a relatively slow start with fellow rookie signal-caller C.J. Stroud.

However, both teams have gained momentum throughout the season; the Colts with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew and the Texans with Stroud.

Who will emerge from this game as this season's surprising playoff contender?

In addition to our NFL Week 18 predictions and NFL Week 18 player props, and to accompany our Texans vs. Colts NFL player props, here are our best Texans vs. Colts prediction and our NFL picks (odds via our best NFL betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Texans vs. Colts prediction: Saturday

Texans ML (-118 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When these two teams played all the back in Week 2 - which might as well have been a different season - the Colts escaped with a 31-20 road win despite getting outgained by 34 yards and five first downs. These are far different teams now, and I'm expecting the result to be different, too.

The Texans have since embraced their identity behind Stroud, the presumptive NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year winner who even made a run in the NFL MVP odds market before a poor performance and subsequent injury in Week 14 effectively killed his chances.

Stroud returned last week and showed why this team is so dangerous with him at the helm. The rookie QB completed 75% of his passes - his fourth game with a completion rate over 70% in his last seven starts - and finished with 213 yards and a score in a workmanlike 26-3 win over the Titans.

Now he faces off against a Colts secondary that he torched for 384 yards back in Week 2, and it might be in even worse shape now. Starting corner Kenny Moore, who leads Indianapolis' defense in snap count (1,033) and ranks fifth in PFF grade (76.0), is questionable with a back injury. So is fellow corner Chris Lammons (ankle), who missed practice after making his first career start last week.

Indy's offense isn't in the best shape, either, with three starters - center Ryan Kelly (ankle), guard Quenton Nelson (ankle), and tackle Braden Smith (knee) - all questionable to play on Saturday. That's bad news for Minshew, who ranks 30th in completion rate under pressure (45.6%) among 38 passers with at least 200 dropbacks.

Houston has been able to get after opposing QBs this season, ranking fifth in pressure rate (25%) despite blitzing at the sixth-lowest rate (21.1%). The team has recorded 21 sacks since Week 13, by far the most in the league, which has helped DeMeco Ryans' defense transform into a top-10 unit over the back half of the season.

Similarly, the Texans rank 12th in weighted DVOA - the Colts rank 22nd - and have been better than their division rivals all season long per net yards per play and net EPA/play. There's a reason the early money is backing the road team, especially with Stroud back in the fold, and I'll be doing the same.

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Texans vs. Colts best odds

FanDuel (-118)

Texans MLTexans MLTexans MLTexans MLTexans ML

After the Colts opened as short home favorites, the market has since flipped in favor of the Texans, who are favored at all five of our best sports betting sites.

Not every price is the same, though. Houston is dealing at -120 to win at three of our best sportsbooks, while Caesars is hanging an aggressive -130 price on the road team. If you like the Colts to win outright, your best bet is a +110 ticket at Caesars.

Instead, we're taking the slight discount on the Texans ML with -118 odds at FanDuel, which tends to be an outlier when one exists. If you prefer, you can grab Houston -1 at -110 odds at three of the aforementioned books, but I don't mind paying a little extra on the moneyline in a win-or-go-home affair.

With these prices so close, I'd highly recommend checking out our best sportsbook promos to see which books are offering the best bonuses for this game.

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Texans vs. Colts odds

Texans vs. Colts odds analysis

The Colts opened anywhere from -1 to -1.5 depending on the book, but it didn't take long for the market to pounce on the Texans, who have been the better team all season long and returned starting QB C.J. Stroud last week.

We haven't seen any notable movement on the total, which opened at 47.5 and remains there across our best sports betting apps. Keep an eye on the injury report for both teams this week, as a rash of absences on either side could tilt this total before kickoff.

Texans vs. Colts game info

  • When: Saturday, Jan. 6 at 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
  • How to watch: ABC/ESPN
  • Weather: Indoors

Texans-Colts prediction made Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. ET.

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