Wild Card Round NFL Picks: Bet Chiefs & Texans To Go 'Under' 40

Jason Lake

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 10:19 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 10:19 PM UTC

The Houston Texans are known for their defense – and their revolving cast of quarterbacks. Maybe the UNDER will be the right NFL pick for Saturday's Wild Card game.

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NFL Pick: Under 40

Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Jason's 2015 record as of Jan. 6: 52-53-3 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 27-33-1 Total

Finally, the 2015 NFL regular season is behind us. We did reasonably well with our NFL picks here at the ranch; the record you see above doesn't include the futures market, where we nailed the Joe Philbin firing at a healthy 16-1. Anyway, now that we're all warmed up for the playoffs, let's see if we can make some “real” money against a betting public that will only get squarer as the Big Game approaches.

First up: Saturday's Wild Card game (4:20 p.m. ET, ABC) at THC Stadium – excuse me, NRG Stadium – between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. Both teams are hot going into the postseason, but we'll be looking at the total for this matchup, and there it is, sitting at 40 points on our NFL odds board as we go to press. Let's riggidy-roll.


Hoyer's In Love
Unfortunately, we don't have enough data yet to produce a consensus report for this game, but our roving gang of street urchins tells me there's some early action on the UNDER. Story checks out: The total opened at 40.5 points at most locations, with some going as high as 41. Jeeves, a fresh crate of apples for our lovable scamps, if you would be so kind.

You can see where the market is coming from. When you think of the Texans, you think about defense; they rank No. 8 overall (No. 7 pass, No. 13 rush) in defensive efficiency at Football Outsiders. Houston's 2015 campaign has also been defined by mediocre quarterbacking, provided by a revolving cast of other teams' leftovers. Brian Hoyer was one of the better ones, checking in at just under average in passing DVOA, roughly the same neighborhood as Eli Manning and Brock Osweiler. Sounds like a good recipe for an UNDER play.


On the other side of the field, the Chiefs were even better at defense this year, ranking No. 6 overall (No. 5 pass, No. 11 rush) on the season. Both teams locked down even more tightly as the season progressed, allowing them to make the playoffs. However, Kansas City also has a quality offense at No. 6 overall (No. 14 pass, No. 1 rush). Perennially underrated QB Alex Smith is a couple of steps above Hoyer in passing DVOA, and much better on his feet at 5.9 yards per scramble.

The hope here with the UNDER is that Smith keeps scrambling and checking down and handing the ball off to tailbacks Spencer Ware (5.6 yards per carry) and Charcandrick West (4.0 yards per carry), who have done yeoman service filling in for the injured Jamaal Charles (5.1 yards per carry). Ideally, that would keep the clocks running without gaining large chunks of yardage and racking up too many points. It's a tough total to work with, but the Texans have lost starting LT Duane Brown to a torn quad, so we'll bite the bullet and recommend the UNDER for a suitably small wager.

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