NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
An easy sweep of our Sunday picks last week as we recommended the Kansas City Chiefs at -6.5 (alternate line) against the San Francisco 49ers and "over" a huge total, and the Chiefs easily covered and blew past that total.
Let's keep it rolling this week with a game that won't approach those 65 combined points scored in Kansas City as we have the Houston Texans visiting the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in an AFC South matchup. Believe it or not, it's the first time that Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck will square off. Luck was gone from Stanford by the time Watson was starring at Clemson, and of course Luck missed all of Watson's rookie NFL season.
Shoot, at this time last year it looked as if Watson-Luck (presuming Luck was going to get back healthy) could be the future Tom Brady-Peyton Manning marquee QB rivalry in the AFC. That's no longer the case as Watson is yet to replicate his amazing first-year numbers before tearing his ACL. Luck, meanwhile, has been OK in his return from shoulder surgery, but it has to be concerning to Colts backers that either he didn't have the arm strength to attempt about a 60-yard Hail Mary last week against the Eagles or first-year coach Frank Reich simply didn't want to risk injury to that shoulder. Jacoby Brissett was brought in to do so and it was incomplete.
Texans at Colts Betting Story Lines
I'm absolutely stunned that the Texans are 0-3 in all honesty. I thought this team had Super Bowl quality talent. OK, losing Week 1 in New England is fine. But, Houston can't be losing in Nashville against Titans backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and it 100 percent can't be losing its home opener last Sunday against a horrible Giants offense. New York's 27 points were easily a season high, while the Texans have yet to top the 22 points they scored in that one.
Watson is putting up yardage - he had 385 vs. the Giants - but has been picked off once in each game and just doesn't look near as dynamic. To be fair, his offensive line is one of the five-worst in the NFL. Maybe higher. There are rumors that Coach Bill O'Brien is forcing his offensive vision onto Watson rather than letting his quarterback flourish in a system that benefits him. I haven't seen an updated first coach to be fired prop yet this week, but O'Brien has to be the favorite. His team is on an NFL-high nine-game losing streak.
One other issue: Since the start of last year, the Texans lead the NFL in games where they began the fourth quarter trailing with 16. The team is 1-15 in those. You aren't supposed to win a ton of games when trailing entering the fourth, but more than one.
As for Indy, meh. The defense does seem much improved this year, with rookie linebacker Darius Leonard a stud, but Luck has been up-and-down. He threw for 319 yards and two scores in the Week 1 loss to the Bengals but hasn't topped 179 in the two games since - those were both on the road and outdoors. Maybe Luck is a dome quarterback at this point in his career.
As usual, the Colts can't run the ball. They are 29th in the league in averaging 82.3 yards per game. Starting running back Marlon Mack's already has missed two of the three games with injuries and that's really nothing new for him. The offensive line also is banged up. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo has yet to play a snap this season and now right tackle Joe Haeg will miss a few weeks with an ankle injury. He was the second-stringer there with J'Marcus Webb already lost for the year.
Texans at Colts Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , this game is a pick'em with a total of 47 . On the moneyline, the Colts are -125 and Texans +105. On the alternate lines, Indy is -1 (-117) and -1.5 (-110). Houston is 0-3 against the spread (0-2 on road) and 1-2 "over/under" (0-2 on road). Indianapolis is 2-1 ATS (0-1 at home) and 1-2 O/U (1-0 at home).
The Texans are 0-8 ATS in their past eight overall. They are 4-1 ATS in their past five road games vs. teams with a losing home record. The Colts are 2-6 ATS in their past eight vs. the AFC South. The road team is 5-1-2 ATS in the past eight meetings. The under has hit nine straight meetings in Indy.
Texans at Colts Betting Prediction
Houston lost both in this series last year. Obviously no Luck, and both were played after Watson went down too. It was Brissett against Tom Savage in Houston, and Week 17 in Indianapolis (22-13 final) against forgettable T.J. Yates. Some thought that would be O'Brien's finale. It was for Chuck Pagano.
Purely on talent, Houston should win this game. JJ Watt could have a monster day against that Indy O-Line. Take the Texans on the moneyline and go under (probably like the total pick a bit better).
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