Colts-Texans Betting Preview: Will Indy’s Offense Bounce Back in Houston?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson (4), Andrew Luck (12).
Betting odds: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
- Spread: Texans -4.5
- Over/Under: 50
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
>> All odds as of Thursday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: Following the Colts’ dud of a game, nearly 60% of the public is siding with Houston. The line movement hasn’t been very riveting, though, with sportsbooks around the market set at the inconsequential numbers of 4.5 and 5 at the time of writing (check our live data here). — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Colts did not score in their loss to the Jaguars last Sunday. According to our Bet Labs data, teams that were shut out in their previous game have gone 53-44-3 (55%) against the spread since 2003.
If the team is an underdog in their next game, like the Colts, the ATS record improves to 35-22-3 (61%). — John Ewing
Biggest mismatch: Deshaun Watson/DeAndre Hopkins vs. the Colts secondary
One of the primary reasons I think the Texans have a puncher’s chance in the AFC is their quarterback is on par with the top contenders in the conference.
Houston’s improved defensive play and an increased effort to preserve Watson’s health means he’s not putting up video-game numbers every time out, so it’s gone overlooked that the QB is maximizing Hopkins’ immense talents like no other.
Despite being force-fed his usual 9.5 targets per game (31% of Houston’s targets and 44% of its air yards), Hopkins is having his most efficient season by far.
His catch rate stands at 70.2% after failing to crack 60% for his first five pro seasons, and his 9.8 yards per target would also be a career-high, and the first time he’s cracked even 8.0 since 2014.
The Colts have exceeded expectations on defense, ranking 11th in overall DVOA, but most of that has been due to their play against the run (fourth in DVOA).
Against the pass, the Colts rank 21st overall and 23rd vs. No. 1 wide receivers. — Chris Raybon
Sneaky storyline: Andrew Luck’s 32 touchdown passes are second in the league, and he’s also taken the second-fewest sacks (14), so it’s easy to conclude the Colts have fielded one of the best passing offenses in the league.
But despite the low sack total, the Colts rank just 15th with 6.4 net yards per attempt and are also just 15th in passing DVOA (which, remember, is adjusted for opponent and situation).
Luck has done all he can, attempting the second-most passes in the league and leading the offense to a third-down conversion rate (48.2) that trails only the Buccaneers for best in the NFL.
However, of the 10 players he’s targeted at least 15 times this season, only two (T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron) average at least 10.0 yards per reception.
With that being said, the mismatch between perception and reality may continue, as Houston ranks a mediocre 15th in third-down defense and 23rd in short-pass DVOA.
In the first meeting between these two teams, the Texans won 37-34 in overtime, but fittingly gave up 34 points while allowing a 59% third-down conversion rate and 462 yards on 62 pass attempts. — Raybon
Which team is healthier? Texans
The Texans aren’t all that healthy in their own right, but the Colts are making a mockery of the injury report process at this point. Neither Ebron (back, illness) nor Hilton (shoulder) managed to practice Wednesday or Thursday, but they aren’t thought to be dealing with serious injuries.
There’s also plenty of uncertainty around center Ryan Kelly (knee), tight ends Mo Alie-Cox (calf) and Erik Swoope (knee), safety Malik Hooker (hip), along with wide receivers Chest Rogers (groin) and Dontrelle Inman (shoulder).
The Texans are expected to have Hopkins (foot), Watson (right shoulder) and J.J. Watt (knee) despite their placement on the injury report. Second-year running back D’Onta Foreman (Achilles) could make his season debut, but the offense probably won’t have Keke Coutee (hamstring) for another week.
DFS edge: The Texans are playing winning football and should be thrilled with their season after starting 0-3. With that said, Hopkins hasn’t exhibited the same level of dominance with Will Fuller sidelined over the past two seasons.
Hopkins has scored 17 touchdowns in 16 games with Fuller, compared to just four touchdowns in 11 games without since the beginning of 2017. Nuk has surpassed 100 yards in just two of those 11 games.
Of course, none of this could matter considering how well off Hopkins is against the Colts’ porous pass defense. He hung a 10-169-1 line on the Colts in Week 4, and they rank just 23rd in DVOA vs. No. 1 receivers.
Bet to watch: Colts +4.5
The first matchup between these two teams (which feels like forever ago) was the start of this crazy Texans winning streak that has now extended into December.
Despite all the wins, the level of competition has been low, and I still think don’t think the Texans are anything particularly special.
After being shut out last week by Jacksonville, the Colts should show a much better effort in a game that both teams desperately need for playoff positioning.
I have these teams rated closer to even, so after factoring in home-field advantage, there’s a small amount of value on the Colts. — Ken Barkley
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.