Zylbert’s NFL Over/Unders: Are Watson, Luck Returning to Form?
Scott Taestch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Andrew Luck
NFL Betting: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
Zylbert’s 2018 NFL Over/Under Betting Record: 1-2-1, -1.2 units
Last Week’s Result: Patriots-Lions Over 54 (loss)
With a combined 1-5 record entering Week 4, things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for both the Texans and Colts thus far in 2018.
However, with each of the starting quarterbacks on the verge of returning to form, there could be a tipping point in regards to offensive output when the two AFC South rivals meet Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
This is essentially a must-win game for the 0-3 Texans. Only one team in NFL history — one — has made the playoffs after dropping its first four contests (1992 San Diego Chargers).
Since a lackluster season debut in New England — his first regular season game since last October, by the way — Watson has begun to look more like the quarterback who was putting up a whopping 34.7 points per game in his six starts a year ago.
In his last two games, Watson has tallied almost 700 passing yards and tossed four touchdowns while turning the ball over only twice. He’s also logged 80 yards on the ground.
The Texans can keep this going, thanks to one of the most talented offenses in the AFC. The pair of DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller might be the most dynamic 1-2 punch at wide receiver in all of football, and unsurprisingly, both are out to quick starts this season.
Despite missing the Week 1 opener with a hamstring injury, Fuller has recorded more than 100 receiving yards in each of the two games he’s played. He’s also caught a touchdown in all six games he’s played with Watson.
The Colts could have a tough time keeping up defensively. In 2017, they gave up more points per game (25.3) than all but two teams, while ranking 28th against the pass and 26th against the run. This year’s group isn’t all that different.
The other starting quarterback in this divisional affair, Andrew Luck, also knows a little something about coming back from a major injury.
The No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft is averaging only 220.7 passing yards per game through the first few weeks in his return from a shoulder injury — down considerably from the 272.5 yards he was collecting per game coming into the campaign. But that’s to be expected early on after such a long layoff.
Nonetheless, Luck has still shown signs of progress that could return him to the upper echelon by year’s end. A matchup with a familiar foe can help in that cause — he’s 5-3 in eight career games vs. Houston with 17 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions. In fact, he’s thrown for more scores against the Texans than any other opponent.
In four of his first five seasons, the former Stanford Cardinal registered a better passer rating at home compared to on the road, so it’s no surprise his best game of 2018 has been his lone outing at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 1 (39-53, 319 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT).
He has a fine supporting cast to work with, anchored by one of the conference’s premier receivers in T.Y. Hilton. Ryan Grant has played well in his first few games as a Colt and I’m a believer in Chester Rogers. Despite missing Marlon Mack, the backfield has shown it can be satisfactory.
With NFL over/unders, I always prefer to buy the half-point if it’s hovering around a key number, and a total of 47 certainly qualifies as such.
So, buy it down from 47.5 like I did in order to be protected from common outcomes like 27-20 and 30-17.
Play: OVER 47 (-120)