Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
TNF - Colts at Texans
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The Colts (6-4 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) rebounded from a stunning loss as an 11-point favorite to the Dolphins the previous week to cruise past the Jaguars, 33-13 as 2 ½-point favorites. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett returned to the lineup for the Colts after missing the Miami game with a knee injury as threw for 148 yards and a touchdown, while running for another score.
Jacksonville scored the first touchdown of the game, but it was all Indianapolis after that as the Colts scored the next 31 points. The Colts torched the Jaguars on the ground by rushing for 264 yards on 36 carries, led by 116 yards from Jonathan Williams, who had rushed for 95 yards in his career prior to busting out on Sunday. Marlon Mack also hit the century mark on the ground as the Colts’ running back racked up 109 yards and a touchdown, but left the game with a fractured hand and will miss several weeks.
The Texans (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) had an excellent opportunity to make a statement as one of the top teams in the AFC, but Houston’s offense could never get going in a 41-7 beatdown at the hands of the Ravens in Baltimore. The lone Texans’ touchdown came on a 41-yard scamper from Carlos Hyde in the fourth quarter with Houston sitting in a 34-0 hole, as Deshaun Watson was limited to 169 yards passing. Watson has thrown for under 201 yards in four games this season, as Houston fell to 1-3 in those contests.
Houston’s defense allowed 263 yards rushing to Baltimore, as the Texans’ first three losses came by a combined 11 points before losing by 34 last Sunday. The Texans fell to 3-3 ATS in the role of an underdog, while giving up its most points since yielding 41 points at Seattle in a three-point defeat in 2017. Houston’s pass defense has been lit up during the last six games by allowing 17 touchdown passes, including at least three passing touchdowns five times in this stretch.
MORE ON THAT LEAKY DEFENSE
Going further into that last nugget regarding the Texans and how opponents have torched them through the air lately is eye-opening. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson threw four touchdown passes last week, the only aberration is Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew, who failed to get the Jaguars in the end zone in a 26-3 setback in London to Houston. But Oakland’s Derek Carr posted three touchdown passes in a 27-24 defeat at Houston in Week 8, Brissett tossed four touchdowns in a seven-point win by the Colts in Week 7, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes put up three in Week 6, and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw three touchdowns in Week 5.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Colts began the season with a pair of contests away from Lucas Oil Stadium by losing to the Chargers in overtime and edging the Titans. Since the bye week, Indianapolis has played four of five games at home, as the lone road affair came at Pittsburgh in a 26-24 defeat in Week 9. The Colts have split their four away contests, as every game has been decided by six points or fewer. Under head coach Frank Reich, the Colts own a 6-4-1 ATS mark in the role of a road underdog.
Indianapolis is the only team in the AFC South to post a perfect record against division foes so far at 3-0. Houston has gone 2-1 inside the AFC South with both victories coming against Jacksonville and the loss coming to Indianapolis (more on that in a moment). Both the Colts and Texans own a one-game advantage over the Titans (who Indianapolis has already defeated once), while the Jaguars are sitting in last place at 4-6. The Colts host the Titans next week, while Houston draws Tennessee twice in the final three weeks of the season.
These division rivals hooked up three times last season as the road team won each time. Houston outlasted Indianapolis in overtime, 37-34 at Lucas Oil Stadium to pick up its first victory following an 0-3 start that spurred a nine-game winning streak. That hot stretch ended at NRG Stadium in Week 14 when the Colts held off the Texans, 24-21 as four-point underdogs, highlighted by 399 yards passing and two touchdowns from Andrew Luck.
In the Wild Card round, the Colts cruised past the AFC South champion Texans, 21-7 as 1 ½-point road underdogs. The top three offensive weapons from that game for Indianapolis that day (Luck, Mack, and T.Y. Hilton) are not available for Thursday, but the Colts are seeking the season sweep of the Texans for the first time since 2017.
The Colts held off the Texans in Week 7 as 1 ½-point favorites at Lucas Oil Stadium, 30-23 following the bye week. Brissett’s highest touchdown passing total of the season took place in that game (4), while throwing for a season-high 326 yards. Indianapolis built a 14-9 halftime lead before Brissett hooked up with tight end Eric Ebron on a four-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter for a commanding 21-9 advantage. The Texans crept back within five points on a Watson touchdown connection with DeAndre Hopkins with 6:38 remaining in regulation, but that’s as close as Houston would get.
After watching the ‘over’ connect in six straight primetime games in Week 9 and 10, the ‘under’ stormed back with a 3-0 mark in Week 11 and all of the results were never in doubt. For this week’s divisional matchup between the Colts and Texans, the total opened at 45 ½ and most books are holding 45 as of Wednesday.
The ‘over’ (46 ½) cashed in the first matchup between the pair but that outcome could be considered an anomaly, since the ‘under’ was on a 5-1 run in the previous six meetings.
Chris David of VegasInsider.com provides us with his thoughts on the first encounter, plus offers up his total lean for the rematch.
He said, “What stands out from the first game is that both teams moved the football, combining for close to 400 yards of offense and 20-plus first downs. Both teams put up five scores and the difference came down to Houston kicking three field goals, while Indianapolis put four touchdowns and a late safety. The four scores for the Colts came from Brissett and that was a career record day for him. While Brissett has filled in the gap nicely for the previous QB that quit on the Colts, it’s still tough to trust him on the road. In 11 games outside of Lucas Oil Stadium, Indy has gone 3-8 with Brissett.”
Sticking with the numbers that CD mentioned, make a note that Brissett has gone 2-2 outside of Indy this season and he was knocked out early in a 28-26 loss at the Steelers in Week 9. Also, the other road win in his career came in 2017 at Houston but the Texans had Tom Savage at QB and he’s no longer in the NFL.
The Texans have watched the ‘under’ go 6-4 this season while the Colts have gone 6-4 to the ‘over.’ Over the past two seasons, Houston has been a great ‘under’ bet at home but David believes we should tread lightly on that trend.
“Houston has watched the ‘under’ go 3-1 at home this season and going back to the 2018 campaign, the low side is on a 9-4 (69%) run at NRG Stadium. Delving into those numbers further, the ‘under’ is 5-1 in divisional matchups but the Colts (24, 21) did manage to put up points in two wins. This year’s defense for the Texans has taken a step back due to injuries (J.J. Watt) and trades (Jadeveon Clowney). Fortunately for Houston, its offense has had to pick up the slack and it’s done so. In six wins, the club is averaging 29.5 PPG. And after losses, the team is averaging 31 PPG. The team total for Houston (25 ½) looks more than doable and I believe we’ll see more sixes instead of threes on Thursday,” added David.
VegasInsider.com NFL expert Joe Nelson weighs in on his thoughts regarding this matchup, “In short, the statistics paint Houston as the much stronger offense while the Colts have the edge on defense. Houston is far more productive in the passing game gaining a full yard per pass attempt more than Indianapolis while also rushing for nearly a half yard more per carry. The Colts have effective defensive numbers against the run allowing just 97 yards per game and 4.3 yards per rush while also allowing only 6.6 yards per pass attempt and leaving opposing quarterbacks with lower ratings by nine points on average.”
Even though these teams own identical records, Nelson points out the Texans have endured a tougher schedule to this point, “Houston has played the fifth-toughest schedule in the league compared to the #24 slate for the Colts. The difference so far has been facing the Ravens in the 1st place draw while already playing the Saints from the NFC South draw. The schedule gap will grow further next week when the Texans host the Patriots though the path in the final four weeks is manageable for Houston, still to play the Titans twice while also facing Denver and Tampa Bay.”
PLAYER PROPS – According to Westgate Superbook
Total Completions – Jacoby Brissett (IND)
Over 21 ½ (-110)
Under 21 ½ (-110)
Total Touchdown Passes – Jacoby Brissett (IND)
Over 1 ½ (-110)
Under 1 ½ (-110)
Will Jacoby Brissett (IND) throw an interception?
Total Receiving Yards – Eric Ebron (IND)
Over 36 ½ (-110)
Under 36 ½ (-110)
Total Gross Passing Yards – Deshaun Watson (HOU)
Over 265 ½ (-110)
Under 265 ½ (-110)
Total Touchdown Passes – Deshaun Watson (HOU)
Over 1 ½ (-150)
Under 1 ½ (+130)
Total Rushing Yards – Carlos Hyde (HOU)
Over 69 ½ (-110)
Under 69 ½ (-110)
Total Receiving Yards – DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)
Over 82 ½ (-110)
Under 82 ½ (-110)
On Tuesday November 12, the Westgate Superbook released early lines for the NFL as the Texans opened as a 5 ½-point favorite against the Colts. Following Sunday’s results, Houston dropped to a 3 ½-point favorite at the Westgate, while the total remained the same at 45 ½.
Favorites have posted a 6-1 SU and 3-4 ATS mark in the last seven Thursday night games, but only two home teams have won and covered in the favorite role (Patriots in Week 6 and Browns in Week 11).
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