Titans-Texans MNF Betting Preview: Will Houston’s Luck Run Out vs. Tennessee?

Titans-Texans MNF Betting Preview: Will Houston’s Luck Run Out vs. Tennessee? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Marcus Mariota, J.J. Watt

Betting odds: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

  • Spread: Texans -3.5
  • Over/Under: 41.5
  • Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: ESPN

>> All odds as of Sunday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: This is perhaps the biggest sharp vs. square matchup of the week.

After opening between -5.5 and -6.5, the Texans have fallen to -3.5/-4 around the market, despite getting two-thirds of spread bets while the Titans are getting half of the dollars despite the public not being on their side.

There have also been two reverse line moves triggered in Sports Insights’ Bet Signals on the Titans, with sharps hitting them at +6 and +5.5. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: NFL spreads are influenced by recent performance, and the Titans are likely being undervalued by the public following their 38-10 loss to the Colts last week.

Since 2003, teams that lost their previous game by 20 or more points have actually 415-348-17 (54%) against the spread, per our Bet Labs data.

If their next game is on the road, these teams have gone 187-147-6 (56%) ATS because home-field advantage is often overvalued. John Ewing

The Texans are the 21st team since 2003 to win seven straight games straight-up after not making the playoffs the season before.

The past 20 teams made the playoffs in the season with the streak, but only three made the Super Bowl.

The good news for Houston? All three teams that made it to the big game won it all: The 2017 Eagles, 2009 Saints and 2003 Patriots.

Since 2003, only 17 teams have played in prime time off of at least a seven-game winning streak after not making the playoffs the season prior, and they are 6-11 (35.3%) ATS.

Over the past decade, 10 teams have been in this spot. They’re 3-7 SU and 2-8 ATS. Evan Abrams

Did you know? The Texans have struggled mightily in prime time, going 12-23 SU and 8-25-2 ATS over the team’s history. But that has not been the case recently.

The Texans have won consecutive games in prime time for the first time since the 2007 and 2008 seasons and are 2-0 SU in prime time this season, both wins coming against teams that are now .500 or better.

The Texans, however, are 1-7-1 ATS when facing AFC South opponents in prime time and haven’t covered the spread in this spot since 2008. Abrams

Biggest mismatch and DFS edge: Texans’ defense vs. Titans’ offensive line

The Titans’ offensive line has struggled this season, ranking 32nd in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, while the Texans rank 10th in sacks per game and their defensive line ranks 11th in adjusted sack rate. The Texans also boast a top-five unit in defensive DVOA.

On the Thursday-Monday DFS slate, the Texans defense has the second-highest median projection on both DraftKings and FanDuel. They should have a high floor since the Titans are implied for only 18.5 points, and they’ll be overmatched in the trenches. Justin Bailey

Which team is healthier? Titans

Both teams are fairly healthy considering it’s Week 12.

Marcus Mariota (stinger) was forced out of action early in Week 11, but he’ll start under center on Monday night. While Mariota won’t have No. 2 receiver Taywan Taylor (foot), left tackle Taylor Lewan (illness) and center Ben Jones (shoulder) are both expected to suit up.

The Texans have several more question marks to worry about, as starting guards Zach Fulton (shoulder) and Senio Kelemete (ankle) are shaping up to be game-time decisions.

The good news for Tennessee is stud slot corner Aaron Colvin (ankle) is expected to return to the lineup for the first time since Week 4. Ian Hartitz

Bet to watch: Titans +3.5

The Texans are on the flukiest of seven-game winning streaks.

In Week 4, they beat the Colts by three points in overtime when Indianapolis was without left tackle Anthony Castonzo and tight end Jack Doyle, and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton exited the game early with chest and hamstring injuries.

In Week 5, they beat the Cowboys by three points in overtime. They were aided by a poor fourth-and-1 decision by Jason Garrett in the game’s final minutes.

In Week 6, they beat the floundering Bills by only seven points. Josh Allen was knocked out of the game and backup Nathan Peterman threw a pick-six in the final two minutes of regulation.

In Week 7, they beat the Jaguars by 13 points. They were at home, the Jags were in the middle of what would become a season-defining losing streak and Blake Bortles played poorly enough to make Doug Marrone finally bench him.

In Week 8, they beat the Dolphins by 19 points when Miami was without Ryan Tannehill, and backup Brock Osweiler was his typical uninspiring self.

In Week 9, they beat the Broncos by two points. Vance Joseph made strategic end-of-game mistakes that contributed to his kicker attempting and missing a 51-yard field goal that could have won the game.

In Week 11, coming off the bye, they beat the Redskins by two points. Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury in the middle of the third quarter, and backup Colt McCoy was mediocre in relief.

Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson

The Titans have already beaten the Texans once this season — 20-17 in Week 2 — and they have the best expectations-adjusted defense in the league, limiting opponents to a scoring average that is 4.13 points less than their implied Vegas total.

Mariota practiced in full on Friday and Saturday, and the Texans offense has not been as dynamic since the season-ending injury to field-stretching wide receiver Will Fuller (knee).

I entered the pick in The Action Network app at +6 and shopped around to find it at +6.5, but I’m comfortable backing the Titans at even +3.5. And if I had to bet the moneyline, I’d pick them to win outright.

At some point, the Texans’ luck has to run out. Matthew Freedman

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.