Texans vs. Colts Odds & Picks: Indianapolis Is A Reliable Road Favorite Sunday
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan Taylor
Texans vs. Colts Odds
Indianapolis sits one game behind first place in the AFC South and is currently occupying the conference’s seventh and final playoff spot.
Now, the Colts travel to Houston to battle a 4-7 Texans team that has won three of its past four games. These two teams have split the last 10 meetings, with an average margin of victory of just 6.2 points.
Can the Colts find a way to earn a third straight road win against a divisional rival? It seems likely. Let’s take a closer look.
Head coach Frank Reich announced on Friday that left tackle Anthony Castonzo, linebacker Bobby Okereke, punter Rigoberto Sanchez and safety Khari Willis have all been ruled out. In addition, tackle Chaz Green and tight end Noah Togiai are listed as questionable.
The loss of Castonzo is particularly worrisome, leaving a hole on the blindside of 39-year old quarterback Philip Rivers. This should support an even heavier run-first game script for Reich, and the Colts will have a their full backfield ready to take advantage.
Rookie Jonathan Taylor produced the overall fantasy RB11 performance in Week 11, tallying 114 total yards along with four receptions. Pass-catching back Nyheim Hines has started to establish consistency, with two top-12 running back performances over the past three weeks. Hines has 16 receptions over those three contests.
Rivers has finally started to develop a rapport with this receivers, especially rookie Michael Pittman. The USC product had seven receptions and 101 receiving yards in Week 10 against Tennessee and followed by up with an impressive three receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay cornerback Kevin King.
The Texans have allowed the fourth-most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and will be without top cornerback Bradley Roby (suspended). Pittman projects to match up with cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, who ranks 106th in coverage rating, per PlayerProfiler.
Also encouraging for the passing game, veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton awoke from his season-long slumber in Week 12 with four receptions, 81 yards and a touchdown against the Titans.
Defensive end DeForest Buckner (40 tackles, 2.5 sacks) will return from the reserve/COVID-19 list to bolster a defense that is still among the NFL’s best despite a poor Week 12 performance. The Colts will also get defensive end Denico Autry (six sacks) back.
With a defense that still ranks sixth against the pass and ninth against the run in Football Outsiders’ run DVOA, the Colts should return to form against Texans offense missing its top wide receiver in Will Fuller (suspended).
The Texans will be without only two players due to injury: Fullback Cullen Gillaspia (back) and running back C.J. Prosise (illness).
Defensive tackle Ross Blacklock (illness) did not practice all week and is listed as questionable. Punter Bryan Anger (quad) and safety Lonnie Johnson (knee) had full participation on Friday and should be good to go.
The biggest absences for Houston will be results of failed drug tests, as Fuller and Roby will miss the rest of the season and the 2021 season opener. Both leave a big hole to be filled for the Texans.
Fuller was in the midst of a career season with 53 receptions, 980 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns. He had a streak of six consecutive games with a receiving touchdown and was coming off a six-reception, 171-receiving yards, two-touchdown performance on Thanksgiving against the Lions.
The loss of Roby may be even more important, though, as the Texans’ defense already ranks among the NFL’s worst — Houston ranks 25th in defensive DVOA.
The most lopsided matchup between the Colts’ offense and Texans’ defense can be found in the ground game: Houston has allowed the most rushing yards and the second-most touchdowns and fantasy points to opposing running backs. Going against an Indianapolis team that has run 58.8% of the time over its last three games, Houston will likely need its best defensive performance of the season to slow Indy down.
Laying 3.5 points in an intradivisional matchup is always tricky, but that’s what I’m doing here with the Colts. They have the better defense, rushing attack, offensive line and head coach. Coming off an embarrassing home loss to Tennessee, I expect Indianapolis to bring its best effort.
Under Reich, the Colts have a strong record as road favorites, including covers in three of their last four games away from Lucas Oil Stadium against the Titans, Lions and Bears.
I’m taking the Colts at -3.5 but would not go higher than that. Hopefully, this will get bet down to -3 or lower, in which case it’s an automatic play.
PICK: Colts -3.5