Why the Houston Texans 2018 Win Total is Too Low

Why the Houston Texans 2018 Win Total is Too Low article feature image

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: J.J. Watt

  • The Houston Texans had a rough 2017 season, but that has set them up with an easy schedule in 2018.
  • Their win total is set at either 8.5 or 9, depending on the book.
  • Converting their 2018 point spreads into win probabilities shows that there's value in betting the over at either number.

Last season was not the Texans’ year. They lost J.J. Watt for the season in Week 5, and although it seemed their season was likely over at that point, that was also right around the time Deshaun Watson started to tear it up … and then he had to go tear something else.

Houston went on to an AFC South-worst 4-12 record, winning only one of the nine games played without Watson and Watt.

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Of course, finishing in last place has its perks. The Texans now get to face the other AFC division cellar-dwellers in the Browns and Broncos — they’ll also play the Jets, but that’s as a result of being matched with the AFC East this season.

That last-place finish has helped provide Houston with what should be one of the easiest schedules in the league next season. Their 2018 opponents had a combined win percentage of .453 last season — the worst win percentage in the NFL — and as our Bet Labs simulations point out, the Texans should gain 0.74 wins based on their schedule alone.

Their win total around the market has been set at either 8.5 (o-145) or 9 (o+100). Either way, that number is too low.

Using the point spreads set for Weeks 1-16 at CG Technology and this handy-dandy point spread to moneyline converter courtesy of SBR, we can calculate implied probabilities for every Texans game next season. Adding those up will give us a more accurate number, or at least reveal an inconsistency that sheds value on Houston’s win total.

Week 1: at Patriots

CG Tech line: HOU +7

Approx. win probability: 24.79%

Not the easiest start for the Texans, but as one-touchdown dogs, they win this game a quarter of the time.

Projected record: 0.25-0.75

Week 2: at Titans

CG Tech line: pick’em

Approx. win probability: 50%

How these teams perform in Week 1 could certainly move this line, but for now let’s tack on a half-win to Houston’s accumulated total.

Projected record: 0.75-1.25

Week 3: vs. Giants

CG Tech line: HOU -6

Approx. win probability: 70.65%

The Texans are considerable six-point favorites in their first home game, which implies that they should win this one seven out of 10 times.

Projected record: 1.45-1.55

 Week 4: at Colts

CG Tech line: HOU -3

Approx. win probability: 59.37%

Who knows when Andrew Luck will make the jump from Nerf footballs to regulation-sized pigskins, but Houston’s three-point edge gives the Texans a nearly 60% implied chance of beating the Colts on the road.

Projected record: 2.05-1.95

Week 5: vs. Cowboys

CG Tech line: HOU -3

Approx. win probability: 59.37%

Another three-point spread, another 0.6 wins for Houston.

Projected record: 2.64-2.36

Week 6: vs. Bills

CG Tech line: HOU -6

Approx. win probability: 70.65%

Favored for a fourth straight game, the Texans are in position to be at least 3-3 through their first six games.

Projected record: 3.35-2.65

Week 7: at Jaguars

CG Tech line: HOU +3

Approx. win probability: 40.63%

Houston is a three-point road dog against its toughest divisional opponent, a point spread that’ll come in handy in determining Week 17’s unset line.

Projected record: 3.75-3.25

Week 8: vs. Dolphins

CG Tech line: HOU -7

Approx. win probability: 75.21%

As we know from Week 1, touchdown favorites are expected to win three-quarters of the time. Based on the lines through eight games, Houston is slightly more likely to be 5-3 than 4-4 at the halfway point.

Projected record: 4.51-3.49

Week 9: at Broncos

CG Tech line: pick’em

Approx. win probability: 50%

By finishing last in the AFC South last season, Houston avoids the Chiefs and Chargers from the West. Still, the Texans are given only a 50% chance to beat the Broncos at Mile High.

Projected record: 5.01-3.99

Week 10: Bye

Projected record: 5.01-3.99

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Week 11: at Redskins

CG Tech line: HOU -3

Approx. win probability: 59.37%

Houston is a road favorite only twice, and this marks the second occurrence. Just as in Week 4, the Texans are favored by three points, implying a near 60% win probability.

Projected record: 5.60-4.40

Week 12: vs. Titans

CG Tech line: HOU -3.5

Approx. win probability: 64.27%

After being listed as a pick’em in Nashville, the Texans are 3.5-point favorites against the Titans at home, another piece of information that could be useful in Week 17.

Projected record: 6.24-4.76

Week 13: vs. Browns

CG Tech line: HOU -10

Approx. win probability: 83.56%

The biggest benefit of finishing in fourth place last season comes in Week 13, as Houston’s largest point spread of the year is unsurprisingly against the Browns.

Projected record: 7.08-4.92

Week 14: vs. Colts

CG Tech line: HOU -7.5

Approx. win probability: 78.06%

Nothing like back-to-back home games against the Colts and Browns to beef up a season win total. At this point, the Texans’ most likely record is 8-5 with three games to go.

Projected record: 7.86-5.14

Week 15: at Jets

CG Tech line: HOU +1.5

Approx. win probability: 47.5%

This line is definitely the biggest head-scratcher of the group. Interestingly, CG Tech also lists the Colts as 1.5-point dogs on the road against the Jets, even though Houston is significantly favored in both matchups against Indy.

For what it’s worth, one book has the Texans as 1.5-point favorites in this matchup, but for the sake of being on the conservative side, we’ll tack on only 0.475 wins to their win total.

Projected record: 8.33-5.67

Week 16: at Eagles

CG Tech line: HOU +5.5

Approx. win probability: 31.05%

While it’s never ideal to play the reigning Super Bowl champions, this is perhaps the most fortunate time for Houston to see Philadelphia. Considering that Week 17 is reserved for divisional matchups, Week 16 is the next best option to meet a team that may have clinched its postseason position by this point.

Projected record: 8.64-6.36

Week 17: vs. Jaguars

CG Tech line: N/A

Week 17 lines are left off the board at CG Tech because the games are so often meaningless, and starters are left on the bench. If the 2018 season goes somewhat as expected, however, both of these teams should be in the playoff hunt in the final week, and this has potential to determine a division champion. With that in mind, let’s approach it as if the starters will be playing.

Against their other two divisional opponents, the Texans gained 3.5 and 4.5 points from their road matchups to home. Let’s split the difference and assume they’d gain four points from their Week 7 line in Jacksonville.

Predicted line: HOU -1

Approx. win probability: 51.25%

Projected record: 9.16-6.84

So based on their point spreads for the upcoming season, the Texans’ most likely win total is nine. The oddsmakers got that part right. Where they’re wrong however, is the juice.

Since Houston is projected to have slightly more than nine wins, even with a listed total of nine the over has some value — just as long as the juice is still at even- or plus-money.