Texans-Jets Betting Preview: Ride With Houston’s Defense on the Road?
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99).
Betting odds: Houston Texans at New York Jets
- Spread: Texans -7
- Over/Under: 41.5
- Time: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NFL Network
>> All odds as of Thursday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: With 71% of spread bets at the time of writing, the Texans are the second-most popular team of the week behind the Patriots (click here for live odds). Despite the overwhelming support, the line has moved against the Texans.
Nearly 60% of bets are on the over, but more than 80% of the cash is on the under, which has caused the total to drop from 42.5 to 41.5. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Big home underdogs are often overlooked late in the season by casual bettors. The reason? Most teams that fit that description are out of the playoff race and thus viewed as having little to play for.
The Texans enter Week 15 coming off a loss, but here’s a fun fact: Teams that are allowing fewer than 21 points per game and coming off a straight-up loss are 51-32-1 ATS (61.4%) over the last five years, covering the spread by 3.1 PPG. — Evan Abrams
Did you know? Deshaun Watson has started three games in his career that have not been on a Sunday and the Texans are 3-0 straight up and ATS, covering the spread by 11.5 PPG. — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Houston rush defense vs Jets rush offense
Simply put, the Jets can’t run the ball. New York averages just 4.1 yards per carry, which ranks 24th in the NFL. That doesn’t even paint the whole picture, as the Jets already placed Bilal Powell on IR earlier this year and now Isaiah Crowell is in a boot.
Even Elijah Mcguire and Trenton Cannon didn’t practice on Tuesday due to nagging injuries, leaving De’Angelo Henderson and Mark Thompson as RB1 and RB2.
I expect McGuire to go, but he has only averaged 3.8 yards per rush. And Cannon has been even worse at 3.0 yards per carry — only LeGarrette Blount and Buck Allen have averaged fewer yards per attempt among running backs (minimum 25 carries).
Things will be especially tough given the matchup against Houston’s second-ranked rush defense DVOA (Football Outsiders). The Texans allow only 3.6 yards per attempt — tied with the Cowboys and Saints for the league lead.
It all starts with the defensive front, which ranks fifth overall in adjusted line yards (a regression-based metric that measures the success of a line in the running game). The Jets’ offensive line ranks 30th in that same category.
Expect to see the Jets in plenty of third and longs, which will allow those Texans elite pass rushers to go to work against a subpar Jets offensive line, which will likely lead to many punts and a few inevitable mistakes from the rookie Sam Darnold. — Stuckey
X-Factor: Jets Special Teams
I think it’s worth noting how good the Jets’ special teams has been this year. It has been by far the strongest of their three units, as the Jets rank No. 1 overall, per Football Outsiders.
The strength of the unit comes in the kicking game, where Jason Myers has been one of the best kickers in the NFL this season.
The former Jaguars kicker is 24-of-25 on extra points and 30-of-32 on field goals, including a stellar 6-of-7 from 50 or more yards.
Ka’imi Fairbairn has been solid for Houston, but his 85% success rate on field goals significantly trails Myers’ 94%, and the Texans kicker has missed five attempts from 40 or more yards.
In the return game, Andre Roberts has been one of the best returners in the NFL this season, averaging a superb 15.3 yards per punt return and 27.1 on kick returns.
The Jets rank third overall in kick return average and first overall in punt return average. Houston ranks 29th and 11th, respectively.
New York will certainly have the edge in this area against a pretty average Texans special teams unit. — Stuckey
Which team is healthier? Texans
The Texans are finally beginning to get healthy, as only slot receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring), center Zach Fulton (hand) and safety Andre Hal (ankle) are at risk of missing Saturday’s matchup. The
Jets aren’t quite so lucky, as they could be without No. 1 cornerback Trumaine Johnson (toe) in addition to linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) and Jordan Jenkins (ankle).
As Stuckey mentioned, the biggest question mark is the Jets backfield, as Crowell (toe) has already been ruled out, and Cannon (toe) is questionable.
DFS edge: DeAndre Hopkins
There’s no debate surrounding Hopkins’ status as one of the league’s best receivers, but over the past two seasons, that hasn’t translated to consistent fantasy production with Will Fuller sidelined.
- With Fuller (16 games): 10.7 targets | 6.3 receptions | 100.3 yards | 1.1 TDs
- Without Fuller (12 games): 10.6 targets | 6.6 receptions | 77.1 yards | 0.4 TDs
Hopkins has surpassed 100 receiving yards in just two of his 12 games (17%) without Fuller compared to the seven 100-yard games in 16 games (44%) with the offense’s ace field-stretcher.
Bet to watch: 6-point teaser — Texans -1/Texans-Jets Under 47.5 (-110)
I’m going to get creative here. The Texans had won nine consecutive games straight up before their home loss to the Colts in Week 14.
Houston is still allowing just 19.9 points per game this year, which ranks fifth in the league, including allowing more than 27 points in a game just once.
As I noted above in trends, teams with a stellar defense coming off a loss have covered the spread 61.4% the last five years. This is a great spot for Houston, as the Jets come off a surprising road win over the Bills in which they scored 27 points.
As Stuckey broke down above, the Jets are literally running out of running backs: Powell, Crowell, McGuire (hurt), Cannon (hurt).
The Texans have the second-ranked rush defense according to DVOA and should shut down the Jets on the ground and force Darnold into mistakes.
So what’s the reason for bringing the teaser into play? I’m simply trying to negate the risk of laying a touchdown with Houston on the road — plus, it’s nice to get the over/under above the key number of 47. — Abrams
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.