The Houston Texans have had a terrible season. A preseason favorite to challenge for the AFC South, they lost J.J. Watt for the season and then they lost rookie sensation, DeShaun Watson. Their offensive production bottomed out, they couldn’t stop the pass, and they quickly fell out of contention. They have now lost 5 straight and 8 of their last 9 and they have been costing their backers a lot of dough with a 3-6 ATS mark in that span. This team has managed to top the 20-point mark in just one of their last 8 outings and they’ve been held to 7 or less in their last 2 straight. The only things that they could be motivated by in this Week 17 tilt is the fact that it’s a division game and they don’t want to finish in the AFC South basement.
Meanwhile, Indianapolis has managed to rack up a mere three wins. There is a popular argument that they would have been much better had Andrew Luck not been lost for the season but it is hard to imagine that he is the difference between Indy being a 3-12 team and a playoff team. He would have likely made their offense better than the 3rd-lowest scoring one that averages 16.1 points per game. Could he have helped the Indy defense be better than the one that has given up 26.1 points per game? Not likely. The SS Indy has a lot of holes to patch on both sides of the ball and Captain Pagano might find himself going down with the ship soon after this one no matter what the score is.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Spread: Houston Texans +4.5 (-115), Indianapolis Colts -4.5 (-105) at 5Dimes Sportsbook
Moneyline: Houston Texans +175, Indianapolis Colts -210
Total: Over 41 (-110), Under 41 (-110)
Any offense that is led by veteran bench warmer T.J. Yates doesn’t really have much of a leg up. He wasn’t too bad in week 14’s loss to the Niners but he has absolutely stunk it up in his last 2 appearances. To be fair, those games were against Jacksonville and Pittsburgh who boast formidable defenses but he was a boy among men. In his 3 appearances this season, Yates has completed just 45% of his passes while compiling 386 yards, 4 touchdown passes, and 2 interceptions. Thankfully, he has DeAndre Hopkins who has the ability to make spectacular catches or else his numbers would be much worse.
Even more concerning is Houston’s defense, or lack of. They have been shelled for 79 points over their last 2 games and have yielded at least 21 points in 7 straight games. Not being able to score along with not being able to stop opponents is the exact opposite of a recipe for success.
One area that Houston has had moderate success in is the running game which accounts for an average of 117 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry. Against the Steelers, Alfred Blue scurried for 108 yards on 16 carries including a 48-yard dash while Lamar Miller added 55 yards on 10 carries. They should be able to find some open lanes against an Indy rushing defense that allows 122 yards per game and 4 yards per carry. Expect a run-heavy attack.
K. Lamm (Concussion), J. Allen (Concussion), L. Lewis (Shoulder) are questionable.
Losers of 6 straight and 9 of their last 10, Indy has had very little go their way. Their backers have been stung by their 1-4 ATS record over the last 5 games but those who have been wagering on the Under in their matches in recent weeks are very happy. The Under is 8-1 in their last 9 including the last 7 consecutive games. Of course, much of that can be attributed directly to Indy’s inability to produce points. It’s also safe to say that they have been marginally, and I mean marginally better on defense in the second half of the season.
Under center, Jacoby Brissett has had his moments but he has been largely inconsistent. He had his hands full against a very hungry Ravens squad in Week 16 which was reflected in his 48.5 completion percentage but he has also now gone a season-high three games without throwing an interception. Now he’s going up against a putrid Texans passing defense. He has an opportunity to finish on a strong note in front of a home crowd. Even though Houston isn’t great at stopping the run, Indy gains just an average of 3.7 yards per carry. Expect the focus to be on the air attack.
R. Melvin (Hand), D. Moncrief (Ankle), D. Good (Knee), J. Vander Laan (Concussion) are questionable.
Texans at Colts Betting Lines
The line is pretty stable with Indianapolis listed as a favorite of -200 to -210 at most books. It’s not likely that there will be much movement before kickoff unless something drastic happens. After opening at Indy -3.5 at most books, a bit of early money has come in on the Colts pushing the line up to -4 at most books. It’s quite possible that late money could drive that line back down to -3.5 or possibly even -3 by game time. Neither of these teams deserves to be spotting anyone points at this stage of the season. The total appears to have stabilized at 41 at most books and there shouldn’t be much movement from here on in. Expect a stinker of a game.
My Pick: Houston +4.5 (-115)
Total: Under 41 (-110)
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