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Texans vs. Dolphins Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: Is Houston Undervalued On the Road?

Texans vs. Dolphins Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: Is Houston Undervalued On the Road? article feature image

Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyrod Taylor.

  • Texans vs. Dolphins odds are on the move after news broke Sunday morning that Tua Tagovailoa will not start the game.
  • While our analyst wrote the following preview before the news, find out whether there could still be value on this spread.

Texans vs. Dolphins Odds

Texans Odds +5.5
Dolphins Odds -5.5
Over/Under 46.5
Time 1 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Editor’s note: The following preview was written before news broke on Sunday morning that Tua Tagovailoa will not start this game, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

After a blowout 38-22 loss last week to the Los Angeles Rams at home, the Houston Texans look to bounce back when they visit Hard Rock Stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins.

The Texans (1-7) were outmatched from the start last week against a powerful Rams offense, going scoreless through the first three quarters, only to score all 22 of their points in garbage time in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins (1-7), meanwhile, fell victim to another powerful offense in the Buffalo Bills, scoring just 11 points in the road loss.

In a battle between two 1-7 teams, a 5.5 point spread seems a bit inflated. Should we be looking toward the road team to cover here in this Week 9 AFC bout?

Click the arrow to expand injury reports

Texans vs. Dolphins Injury Report

Texans Injuries

  • TE Pharaoh Brown (thigh): Out
  • KB Christian Kirksey (thumb): Out
  • LB Hardy Nickerson (concussion): Out

Dolphins Injuries

  • QB Tua Tagovailoa (finger): Questionable
  • LB Jerome Baker (knee): Questionable

Texans vs. Dolphins Matchup

Texans Offense DVOA Rank Dolphins Defense
32 Total 26
28 Pass 26
32 Rush 16
Texans Defense DVOA Rank Dolphins Offense
23 Total 25
16 Pass 25
31 Rush 30
Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.
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Texans Welcome Back Tyrod Taylor

After missing the last six games with a hamstring injury, quarterback Tyrod Taylor is poised to make his return in Week 9 in a plus matchup against the Dolphins. Taylor should add some spark to an offense that has scored fewer than 10 points in four of its last six games, with three of those outings resulting in five points or fewer.

Taylor was efficient in his first two starts of the season, completing 70% of his passes for three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was also averaging 11 yards per carry as a rusher, which will add another dynamic to this currently stale offense.

He’ll have a great opportunity to bounce back strong against this 26th-ranked Dolphins pass defense, a unit that has struggled to contain opposing offenses all season. In fact, they’ve allowed an average of 29.1 points per game to opponents, the fourth-worst mark in all of football.

Top receiving option Brandon Cooks should also have plenty of opportunities to dominate. Per PFF’s WR/CB Matchup tool, Cooks has a matchup advantage against each of his primary defenders in this one — particularly cornerback Nik Needham, whom he projects to have an 88.4 matchup advantage against while in the slot. Cooks should especially benefit with Taylor back under center. He averaged 105 receiving yards per game in Weeks 1 and 2 before the injury.

Dolphins Need Run Game to Prove Effective

With the trade deadline finally in the rear view, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will have his chance to prove over the second half of the season that he’s the starter of the future in Miami. While we’ve seen flashes of the first-round talent the Dolphins are counting on, the consistency just hasn’t been there in his second season.

Miami is averaging only 15.2 points per game with Tagovailoa under center this year and has been one of the worst in the league in terms of turnover differential. Per The Football Database, Miami’s -4 turnover differential is tied for the fourth-worst mark among all teams.

The 23rd-ranked Texans defense hasn’t been particularly effective, allowing 30.1 points per game itself, but it has excelled in forcing turnovers. Through eight weeks, The Texans have compiled nine total turnovers on defense, tied for the sixth-highest total in the league.

If the Dolphins are going to find success in this one, it will likely be on the ground. The Texans’ 30th-ranked run defense has been a sieve, so expect Miami to try and establish the ground game with running backs Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed.

NFL Pick: Texans vs. Dolphins

While rookie Davis Mills has filled in admirably-ish, this Texans offense was much more effective with Taylor behind center. Not only does his rushing upside add an extra dimension to this offense, but it also helps to open things down the field for Cooks and the rest of the receiving corps.

At the current line, the Texans are being undervalued by betting markets. In fact, sharps have already attacked the line, pushing it down from an opening of +7.5 down to its current total of +5.5. Heavy money has accompanied that shift, with 56% of tickets and 94% of the money landing on the Texans side as of the time of writing.

I’m hitting the Texans at the current line of +5.5, but I would be comfortable playing this all the way down to +4.

Pick: Texans +5.5 | Bet to: +4

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