Titans vs. Texans Odds, Picks, Predictions: A Brandin Cooks Prop To Bet On Sunday of NFL Week 18
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
- Updated Titans vs. Texans odds now position Tennessee as a 10.5-point favorite with a chance to secure the AFC's 1-seed in NFL Week 18.
- But our analyst isn't betting on the spread. Instead, he's targeting a Brandin Cooks prop.
- Find his picks and predictions in the full preview below.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Following a tough loss at home last week against the San Francisco 49ers, the Houston Texans hope to rebound Sunday when they host the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium.
The Texans (4-12) found themselves ahead with a 7-3 lead at halftime last week against the 49ers, but ultimately surrendered 20 unanswered points in the second half in a 23-7 loss. Meanwhile, the Titans (11-5) decisive 34-3 win over the Miami Dolphins put them atop the AFC playoff race heading into the final week of the season. They’ll need to win again this week to secure the AFC’s 1-seed heading into the playoffs.
In a game that oddsmakers consider a slam dunk for the Titans, is there value on the other side — perhaps in the props market — that we can exploit in this Week 18 AFC South contest?
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Titans vs. Texans Injury Report
- DT Naquan Jones (knee): Out
- DE Teair Tart (ankle): Out
- WR Chris Conley (knee): Questionable
- TE Jordan Atkins (illness): Questionable
- WR Chris Moore (illness): Questionable
Titans vs. Texans Matchup
|Titans Offense||DVOA Rank||Texans Defense|
|Titans Defense||DVOA Rank||Texans Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Titans Can Stick To Usual Strengths
The Titans currently hold the top overall seed in the AFC playoff picture after the win over the Dolphins following big performances from running backs D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard, who combined for 177 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Tennessee has a chance at a repeat performance against a Houston defense that currently ranks 24th against the run and surrendered 119 yards just last week to Elijah Mitchell. Foreman has been especially impressive since Derrick Henry was forced to the IR with an injury, averaging 4.6 yards per attempt since Week 12 when he became the de-facto starter.
That said, expect a heavy dose of both backs again in this matchup.
Since Henry’s injury, the Titans have surprisingly doubled down on the running game, which subsequently has resulted in less offensive production for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Since Week 12, Tannehill is averaging just 153 passing yards per game, which is among the lowest marks in the NFL. However, he has been relatively efficient, completing 68% of his passes to go along with a 5:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In a game against a porous Texans rush defense, there’s no reason for the Titans to change their Week 18 game plan.
Texans Can Let Brandin Cooks Cook
Rookie Davis Mills has been impressive down the stretch for the Texans, completing 68% of his passes for 957 yards and six touchdowns over his last four games. He’s also led the Texans to wins in two of their last three outings, creating a difficult offseason decision for the franchise’s front office regarding the future of the quarterback position in Houston.
Mills will have a tough task against this ninth-ranked Titans defense in a game the Titans need to win to lock up the overall seed in the AFC. While the seventh-ranked Tennessee secondary has been relatively strong, they’ve been susceptible to big games from opposing wideouts of late.
Two weeks ago, they surrendered a nine-catch, 159-yard outing to Deebo Samuel and a few weeks before that allowed a five-catch, 98-yard performance to Jakobi Meyers. That bodes well for Mills’ top receiving option — Brandin Cooks — particularly in a game that projects Houston to be in catch-up mode most of the day.
Per PFF’s WR/CB Matchup tool, Cooks has a 66.5 matchup advantage against his primary defenders, which is the highest mark for Houston. He’s been Mills’ top option over the past three weeks, averaging eight catches on 11 targets during that span. He’s also accumulated an impressive 269 yards and three touchdowns during that same period.
While the matchup for running backs Rex Burkhead and David Johnson against this 14th-ranked rush defense isn’t overly imposing, neither can be counted on for consistent production.
Outside of a ceiling game two weeks ago that saw Burkhead rush for 149 yards and two touchdowns, there hasn’t been much to get excited about from these players. Burkhead is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry on the season, while Johnson is averaging just 3.2 yards.
Titans vs. Texans Predictions
In a game with a relatively large 10- to 10.5-point spread, the implication from oddsmakers is the Texans will be trailing by a wide margin. In that scenario, we’re going to be seeing a large dose of Davis Mills and the passing game. That also means a lot of targets for Brandin Cooks.
The Houston standout has been on a tear lately, averaging 90 yards and a touchdown over his last three games. He’s also been Mills’ top target by a wide margin, averaging 11 targets during that same span. Mills has also shown he’s capable of big passing performances. In 10 starts, he’s already exceeded 300 yards passing on three occasions.
Given the projected game script, Cooks’ current receiving prop of 64.5 yards provides immense value, particularly when we consider the combination of his big-play ability and target share. I’m taking the over on this prop and would comfortably play it up to 69.5 yards if the line were to shift prior to kickoff.
Pick: Brandin Cooks Over 64.5 Rec Yards | Bet to: 69.5
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