Browns vs Texans Odds & Picks | NFL Best Bets, Player Props

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Browns vs Texans Odds & Picks | NFL Best Bets, Player Props

Browns vs Texans Odds

Saturday, Jan. 13
4:30 p.m. ET
Browns Odds
Texans Odds
44.5 col2awayline=
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Browns vs Texans Picks

Chris Raybon: Joe Flacco has been the best Browns quarterback this year by far, but he has thrown a pick on 3.9% of his passes. Meanwhile, the Texans have committed the fewest turnovers in the NFL (14) as C.J. Stroud finished with the NFL’s lowest interception rate among qualified quarterbacks (1.0%). In the postseason, the team that wins the turnover battle wins the game roughly three-quarters of the time. The Browns are also converting just 34.2% of their third downs in Flacco’s starts, which would rank 27th over the full season.

Per our Action Labs data, Wild Card/Divisional higher-seeded dog/pick-’ems are 13-9-2 (59%) against the spread (ATS) over the past two decades. Saturday home dogs are 8-1-1 (89%) ATS since 2007, covering by 1.9 points per game.

Bet to: +1

Pick: Texans +2.5 (-115)

NFL Best Bets

Stuckey: Wild Card Weekend has historically featured plenty of unders, which have gone 51-35 (59.3%) over the past 20 seasons. However, those have mainly involved teams playing outdoors in contests that usually have less-than-ideal weather conditions this time of year. Indoor wild card games have actually gone over 11 of 19 times, although that's a meaningless sample size.

Regardless of the historical trends, I think this total is too low for various reasons.

The Browns defense won't be at full strength after suffering numerous injuries throughout the latter half of the season, so this unit hasn't been the same dominant unit away from home. That's part of the reason why Browns road overs finished a league-best 8-0, clearing the close by an absurd average of 15 points per game.

During the regular season, the Browns allowed 29.75 points in eight road games. We'll remove the 31 points the Browns' backups gave up to the Bengals in Week 18 and when they faced Case Keenum in Week 16. In those other six games, Cleveland allowed more than 30 points per game with every opponent scoring at least 24 points.

Admittedly, I have some reservations about how C.J. Stroud will perform in his first playoff start with a rookie head coach since the track record of that combination doesn't inspire much confidence. For reference, quarterbacks making their first playoff start against a QB who has playoff experience have gone just 17-35-1 (32.7%) against the spread (ATS) and 17-36 straight-up (SU) since 2002. Stroud is ahead of most rookie QBs, though, and I think he can hit some explosive plays here.

The Texans defense has major flaws that simply haven't been fully exposed due to an extremely easy schedule of opposing offenses. Believe it or not, they faced only one offense all season that finished in the top 10 in EPA per play. That came in Week 1 against the Ravens, who scored 25 points in the first game of a brand-new scheme.

On average, the offenses Houston faced ranked 19th in EPA per play. It only faced two other top-13 offenses in the Bengals and Buccaneers, who scored 27 and 37, respectively. The Browns ranked 28th in EPA per play during the regular season but have a much more competent offense with Joe Flacco, who led the offense to a 36-point outburst in this same stadium a few weeks back.

In Flacco's five starts, Cleveland has averaged over 28 points per game and has gone from a bottom-5 to a top-5 unit in terms of passing explosiveness. Head coach Kevin Stefanski has also let Flacco loose with an extremely pass-heavy game plan, which I expect him to employ again on Saturday.

That's critical because Houston's defense has major issues in coverage on the back end. Those issues are amplified by the fact that edge rushers Jonathan Greenard and Will Anderson Jr. aren't fully healthy. The Texans finished the regular season ranked No. 1 overall in Rush Success Rate (sixth in EPA per rush) compared to 19th in Pass Success Rate (20th in EPA per pass).

I'm interested to see how DeMeco Ryans and Houston's defensive staff decides to defend Amari Cooper after he posted 11 catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns back in Week 16. The Texans could potentially use Derek Stingley as a shadow, but I don't think there's much they can do to slow Cleveland down in the passing game.

I expect two pass-heavy game plans that lead to plenty of explosive plays, which are ideal for an over on a fast track indoors. The highest I'd go on this is 44.5.

Pick: Browns-Texans Over 44.5 (-110)

Browns vs Texans Player Props

David Njoku

Over 56.5 Receiving Yards (-110)

The man who has benefited the most from Flacco taking the reins in Cleveland has to be David Njoku. He’s had an almost instant connection with the former Ravens QB and it’s no mistake that his three biggest games of the season have all been with Flacco.

Njoku’s receiving yards total stands at 56.5 against the Texans. It’s a number that he’s hit in three of five games with Flacco at quarterback. However there have been two 100+ yard games in that span and it averages out at 78 receiving yards per game.

The Texans have allowed more receptions to tight ends than anybody besides the Bengals and only four teams have given up more yardage to the position. This is a must-play.

Pick: David Njoku Over 56.5 Receiving Yards (-110)

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RB Kareem Hunt

Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+240)

When these teams met in Week 16, I was bullish on running backs Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt to score as Cleveland ran the ball at the fourth-highest rate in the NFL (31.2 attempts per game). Ford and Hunt each scored in a blowout win.

Even though that rushing average has declined since Joe Flacco took over at quarterback (25.4 attempts per game), I still like the Browns to run the ball. I’m going back to my old friend Kareem Hunt at +240 to carry the luggage and get us home.

I’m not going to pretend that Hunt is more talented than Ford between the 20s, but he’s always involved in the red zone. Hunt leads the Browns with 36 red-zone touches and, excluding Week 18 when most starters were rested, he had 18 of those just in games with Flacco.

Inside the five-yard line is where Hunt has made his money — he has seven TDs scored from that spot, ranking seventh in the NFL in that category. For reference, Hunt had more TDs inside the five-yard line this season than Joe Mixon, Isiah Pacheco, Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley and Jonathan Taylor.

I can see the trepidation with taking Cleveland running backs. The Texans rank second vs. the run in DVOA and Flacco has been throwing the ball a lot. Teams haven’t had success between the 20s on the Texans (96 rushing yards allowed per game) but that doesn’t seem to hold up once opponents are in scoring position as they've allowed 19 rushing TDs (tied for 28th).

Pick: Kareem Hunt ATD (+240)

Pick: Kareem Hunt Anytime TD

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