The Indianapolis Colts emerge as road underdogs for the much-anticipated "Thursday Night Football" tilt with the Houston Texans, marking an AFC South showdown with the divisional title potentially on the line. Does the market have it right? Or will the Colts pull off the upset according to the NFL odds?
The Indianapolis Colts are the current holders of first place in the AFC South, but their edge is flimsy at best. Both the Colts and Texans are on a level behind a 6-4 SU mark with the Colts nosing ahead by virtue of a 1-0 head-to-head edge in their series.
It goes without saying, the premium on the win here is pivotal because it will give the victor a boost in the AFC South. Will the Colts defy the NFL odds and serve up an upset at NRG Stadium? Or will the Texans come through as the considerable home favorites for their backers?
Colts vs.Texans betting guide
Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, 8:20 p.m. ET
NRG Stadium, Houston
TV Broadcast: FOX/ NFL
Bookmakers went to press with the Texans pegged as the home chalk laying -3.5 points across sports betting platforms, just above the customary field goal advantage awarded to home teams in matchups that are perceived to be tight games that could go either way. It doesn’t get tighter than a divisional clash between familiar foes that are neck-and-neck in the standings.
The total for this game opened around 46.6, but immediately following an alarmingly lengthy injury report card for Indianapolis the total plummeted to a low of 44.5 points. RB Marlon Mack’s injury (hand) was the marquee listing that swung the pendulum. T.Y. Hilton’s questionable status with a calf injury (he’s yet to be cleared to play, if at all) is another contributor.
According to early consensus betting, the Texans are edging the Colts with 57% of early wagering tickets buying the Texans.
The Colts are 6-4 SU and 5-4-1 ATS this season all the while the total has gone OVER in 6 of their last 10 games. On the road, the Colts are 2-2 SU and 2-1-1 ATS on the road.
The Texans are 6-4 SU and 5-5- ATS this season, all the while the total has gone UNDER in 6 of their last 10 games. At home, the Texans are 3-1 SU and 1-3 ATS.
Why bet on the Colts?
Jacoby Brissett led the Colts to the 30-23 win over the Texans in Week 7, what was his best game of the season by a country mile. He went 26 of 39 for 326 yards and 4 TDs for a 126.7 passer rating.
It was arguably the game that announced Brissett as a legitimate contender in the AFC, restoring some of the faith that Indianapolis lost among NFL bettors following Andrew Luck’s shock retirement.
It must be said Brissett did have most of his weapons intact for that game. Marlon Mack had 18 carries for 44 yards while T.Y. Hilton caught six passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Zach Pascal had 6 receptions for 106 yards and 2 TDs. And the defense got at Deshaun Watson, sacking him three times.
Recent form is auspicious. The Colts snapped a two-game losing streak with a 33-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 11. The Colts have won two of their last four games and they’re 1-1 in their last two away games, a record that is comprised of an upset over Kansas City and a surprising loss to the Steelers.
Why bet on the Texans?
The Texans were eviscerated by Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in a highly publicized matchup on Sunday. The 41-7 loss marked the worst loss of the season for the Texans and, equally so, Deshaun Watson’s worst career loss -- it was the first loss in his career by more than one possession.
The Texans don’t have a lot of time to dwell on that forgettable outing though. It’s a short week and a must-win game if the Texans hope to get back on track in the AFC South title race.
Recent form bodes well as the Texans are 2-2 SU in their last four games. They’ve also won their last two home games, including a whopping 53-22 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5. It’s that kind of an output that Deshaun Watson and the Texans are clearly capable of that underscores their favoritism on the NFL odds board.
The Texans have home advantage, which could be deciding. Not only are the Texans a solid 3-1 SU at home, but Watson holds an 11-4 SU record at NRG Stadium. In 2019, the Texans have bounced back strong each and every time following a loss.
Colts vs. Texans prediction
It’s easy to get distracted by the happenings in the previous week when settling on NFL picks. Brissett underlying his credentials with a win over Nick Foles and the Jags can be taken as a ringing endorsement of Indianapolis’ odds, while Watson’s abominable production against the Ravens can be looked upon as a worrying sign and a reason to fade the Texans for Week 12 NFL picks.
Alternatively, if one takes a step back and surveys the scene dispassionately the following might hold merit. The Jaguars aren’t that great and the Ravens are simply great. In the context of such an assessment, both results might be taken with a grain of salt.
Divisional bragging rights are at stake in this matchup and you can bet both teams will be up for the clash. What is somewhat concerning is the list of wounded that is sure to impact the Colts offense. Without Marlon Mack and potentially T.Y. Hilton, the pressure on Brissett could prove great.
A must-win game for the Texans, combined with home advantage and watered down Colts offense arriving to NRG are the main reasons why betting on the Texans to win and cover is the choice NFL pick.
NFL pick: Texans -3.5 (-105)