Free Expert NFL Picks: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/7/2014
I think we can all agree the Thursday night NFL games this season have been just about unwatchable. One team has looked completely sloppy and unprepared each week. The average margin of victory on Thursday nights has been a whopping 29.0 points, with no game closer than 20 points. That's supposed to happen in college football, not the NFL.
Also understand that these games aren't going anywhere. They have been drawing huge ratings despite the blowouts -- and at sportsbooks Thursday games are always one of the most wagered every week. One very outspoken player against Thursday games will play this week and should have a huge role in whether Houston can beat Indianapolis.
Recently, Texans running back Arian Foster -- who likes to speak his mind on anything -- had this to say: "They emphasize concussions when they start getting hit with lawsuits and they care about the players' safety, but 'Thursday Night Football' is putting every player on the football field in danger," Foster said.
He is probably right. It won't change anything.
I do believe the streak of blowouts ends this week in Houston. First place in the AFC South is on the line with both clubs at 3-2. Indy is a -260 favorite to win the division for the second straight season, while Houston is +220 to go from last to first.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Betting Story Lines
Indianapolis won its third straight game on Sunday, 20-13 at home over Baltimore. I did preview that game here at Doc's and recommended giving the three points to the Ravens. I thought it would go "over" the 48.5 points, however. Andrew Luck continued his MVP-type season by completing 32-of-49 for 312 yards, a touchdown and a rushing touchdown. He did have two picks. Luck has thrown for at least 300 yards in four of five games and has at least one TD pass in all five. He leads the NFL with 1,617 yards passing and 14 TD passes. His six picks are also tied for first.
The Baltimore game shouldn't have been that close as the Colts outgained the Ravens 422-287, had plenty more first downs (26-15) and held the ball for nearly 39 minutes. But Indy had four turnovers, including two in the red zone. It ended a streak of 11 straight games without a red-zone turnover for the Colts. Good thing they also forced three. I still believe the defense will be the downfall of this team.
Houston lost 20-17 in overtime at Dallas. The Texans were down 17-7 late in the fourth quarter but got within seven on a field goal at 2:27 and tied it on Foster's one-yard run with 41 seconds left. Houston got the ball first in overtime but could only reach the Dallas 48 before punting. The Cowboys would drive from their 10 to the Houston 31 for the game-winning field goal. Foster had a monster game with 23 carries for 157 yards and two scores. He has been playing through a hamstring injury. Foster is averaging 150.4 yards in five career games (114 attempts) against Indianapolis, by the way.
Texans receiver Andre Johnson had five catches for 58 yards to become the second-fastest receiver in NFL history with 950 catches (159 games). He also will be the second-fastest to 13,000 yards with 19 this week. Johnson has yet to record a touchdown in 2014. The downfall of the Texans is going to be QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He threw for just 154 yards with no touchdowns and an interception on Sunday. He has six picks in the past three games after none in the first two. I'm not sure he has much wiggle room left until Coach Bill O'Brien turns to Ryan Mallett.
The Colts were 2-0 against Houston last year, winning easily at home in Week 15 and 27-24 in Houston in Week 9. Indy is 20-4 all time against Houston (8-4 on road). The Colts also beat Fitzpatrick twice in 2013 when he was playing for the Titans.
As for an injury report, it's always tough to tell who will sit in one of these games. Houston, for example, had 11 guys listed as limited in practice on Monday. One guy who appears out is Colts rookie starting guard Jack Mewhort. He also sat Sunday with an ankle injury.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans NFL Week 6 Betting Odds and Trends
The Colts are three-point favorites (-105) with an "over/under" of 46. You can find this at 2.5 points at many books. The total has generally been steady. Indianapolis is 4-1 against the spread (2-0 on road) and 4-1 O/U (2-0 on road). Houston is 4-1 ATS (2-0 at home) and 2-3 O/U (0-2 at home).
The Colts are 14-3 ATS in their past 17 vs. the AFC South. They are 2-6 ATS in their past eight on the road against teams with a winning home record. Houston is 2-9 ATS in its past 11 following an ATS win. It is 0-4 ATS in its past four on Thursday. The over is 7-1 in the Colts' past eight on the road. The under is 5-0 in Houston's past five after a loss. The home team is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The under is 6-1 in the past seven.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Free Expert NFL Picks and Betting Predictions
The Colts will be looking for their NFL-best 10th straight divisional win in this one. I really don't recommend taking the road teams in these games. Houston has a better running game and defense, but the quarterback matchup isn't close. I simply can't turn down a home team getting points in what looks to be evenly-matched teams. J.J. Watt will get to Luck a few times as the Colts have a questionable offensive line. Take Houston -- unless by some miracle Watt and Foster don't play -- and go under.
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