Texans vs. Bills Odds, NFL Picks, Week 4 Predictions: How To Bet Buffalo As Massive Home Favorite
Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen.
|Moneyline||+900 / -1600|
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Coming into the year, the Houston Texans were expected to be a bottom-of-the-barrel team. They smashed those expectations immediately, though, by smoking the Jaguars and playing the Browns to a halftime tie. Unfortunately, an injury to starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor set them back and they have not looked the same since.
Houston will need to bring its A-game if it hopes to overcome a 17-point spread in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills.
As things have gotten worse for the Texans, they have only gotten better for the Bills. After starting slow and dropping their opportunities in a Week 1 loss to the Steelers, the Bills dialed in and dominated their last two games.
Another blowout victory would help boost the Bills’ confidence with two primetime games against the Chiefs and Titans on deck.
The 17-point spread says everything for what to expect from this matchup. Let’s see if we can find an angle to take to add some spice to this game.
Texans Search For Answers Without Starting QB
The loss of Tyrod Taylor was a huge setback for a Texans offense that showed promise with him under center.
In his game and a half of play, Taylor averaged 9.5 yards per attempt and had four total touchdowns and no turnovers. Behind third-round rookie Davis Mills, the Texans passing attack has slowed way down to 5.9 yards per attempt.
Mills did have the burden of facing Carolina’s top-ranked 45.2% pressure rate, according to Pro Football Reference, in his one start. Unfortunately, his second start comes against the Bills, who rank second in that category at 33.9%.
This will again be a trial-by-fire situation for the rookie out of Stanford. Hopefully, Mills can learn from his struggles against the Panthers.
Causing more trouble for their backup quarterback has been Houston’s absence of a run game. Against the Panthers, the Texans ran for a measly 42 yards. For the season, Houston is averaging 3.3 yards per carry, the second-fewest in the NFL.
Facing the Bills’ high-scoring offense, running the ball well might not mean anything anyway since opposing teams typically need to keep pace with Josh Allen’s offense through the air.
Defensively, the Texans will hope they can force some turnovers to help their offense out, having forced five already through their first three games. However, if Houston fails, Buffalo’s offense will not be as forgiving as their previous opponents.
Both Carolina and Cleveland were happy to eat clock and methodically march down the field against Houston. Buffalo, on the other hand, has no problem creating chunk plays and running up the score if the defense allows.
Bills Have More Than Bounced Back
Last week was the first time in 2021 we saw Allen play at the level he established last season.
Allen threw for 358 yards and scored five total touchdowns against Washington, finishing with a passer rating of 129.8.
Adding to Allen’s impressive performance was his ability to spread the ball. He completed a pass to eight receivers, and none of them reached the 100-yard mark.
The plethora of options in the passing game is what made Buffalo dangerous last year. If Allen keeps spreading the ball around efficiently, the Bills will repeat as one of the NFL’s highest-scoring teams.
Defensively is where Buffalo has massively improved from last year. In 2020, the Bills were a middle-of-the-pack defense, ranking 14th in yards allowed and 16th in points allowed. Their main struggle was creating pressure, though, as they ranked in the bottom 10 in pressure rate.
This year, the Bills have completely turned that around. As mentioned above they rank in the top two in pressure rate, and their success upfront has given the defense as a whole a big leap forward. Buffalo is also allowing the fourth-fewest points and yards on the year.
With an offense as talented as Buffalo’s unit, an elite pass rush goes a long way to limiting teams’ ability to keep up with them. The past two weeks have shown us how dominant the Bills can be when clicking both offensively and defensively.
The only question for this week’s matchup is whether the Bills can be focused from the kickoff. If that’s the case, this one should be over early.
Buffalo has shown a propensity to start their games very strongly. Since the start of 2020, the Bills are an incredible 14-4-1 in the first half against the spread (ATS), according to Bet Labs.
This year, Buffalo’s offense has continued that trend by playing aggressive early, throwing the ball about two-thirds of the time in the first quarter. Houston has had trouble stopping teams early in games, allowing 8.7 yards per pass attempt and a 97.8 quarterback rating in the opening 15 minutes.
Already at a talent disadvantage, Houston also needs to overcome Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s creativity and early-game planning.
The Bills defense also sets the tone early in games. In the first half of games this season, Buffalo has allowed a passer rating of 66.1 and 2.7 yards per carry, and it has recorded six of their nine sacks. The Bills should look to attack the Texans’ rookie quarterback early and have him playing scared the whole game.
Few lines have been posted for the first quarter, with FOX Bet posting -3.5 as of Friday night. I would take that if it’s available, but since it is limited I will give an alternative option.
Back the Bills to continue their first half ATS dominance at -10.
Pick: Bills 1H (-10)