Texans vs Broncos Odds, Picks, Predictions

Texans vs Broncos Odds, Picks, Predictions article feature image

Aaron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Randy Gregory (left), Alex Singleton.

  • The Broncos are heavy favorites today at home against the Texans.
  • Both teams are winless, although Houston tied the Colts in Week 1.
  • John LanFranca breaks down the game and makes his pick below.

Texans vs. Broncos Odds

Sunday, Sept. 18
4:25 p.m. ET
Texans Odds
-113o / -108u
Broncos Odds
-113o / -108u
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The Broncos and Texans are both surely agonizing over missed opportunities to start their 2022 campaigns. While a matchup between two winless squads may not seem exciting, there is value to be had for bettors.

The start to the Nathaniel Hackett era will be remembered for him putting faith in a kicker to make an improbable field goal over Russell Wilson. However, from a betting perspective, the data point we can make actionable is Denver's snail-paced offense.

Sprinkle in a little disruption from both defensive units, and it’s time to attack this line.

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Texans vs. Broncos Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Texans and Broncos match up statistically:

Texans vs. Broncos DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA1911
Pass DVOA1020
Rush DVOA239
Overall DVOA1814
Pass DVOA615
Rush DVOA3120

Geno Smith may have stolen the show on Monday Night Football, but in reality, what we learned about the Broncos defense was most encouraging.

Bradley Chubb looks fully healthy and earned the second-highest pass rushing grade of the week from Pro Football Focus (93.7) after recording two sacks and hitting the QB one more time, while Randy Gregory produced four hurries in his Broncos debut. In the secondary, the star was Patrick Surtain, who was deployed in a true lockdown corner role and shadowed DK Metcalf, who had seven receptions but tallied a measly 36 yards.

Surtain’s next assignment will be Brandin Cooks, who earned a massive 36% target share against the Colts in Week 1. If Denver’s defense can slow down Cooks and force the Texans into predictable down-and-distance situations, it could be a bleak afternoon for quarterback Davis Mills.

While Mills was the 10th-ranked QB in DVOA in Week 1, his level dips greatly when he is forced to play out of the shotgun. In 2021, Mills played remarkably well under center for a rookie, earning a +17.6 DVOA. When working from shotgun, his play tanked, dropping down to a -14.8 DVOA.

The Broncos have the personnel to limit the Texans’ top offensive weapons and pressure Mills if/when they get the lead in the game.

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On offense, Hackett’s conservative nature was on display. He understands the Broncos were 31st in adjusted sack rate allowed on first and second down in 2021 (8.8%), and he is doing everything he can to avoid a repeat this year.

Hackett won’t be changing his tune on Sunday, as he faces a defense that now features one of the most underrated pass rushers in football, Jerry Hughes. Hughes, 34, was 15th in hurries in 2021, and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon after two sacks in Week 1. He earned the fourth-best PFF pass rushing grade of the week. Overall the Texans’ defense looked much improved, as it ranked 14th according to DVOA.

The Broncos played at a deliberate pace last season – at 29.45 seconds per play, they were fifth slowest in the NFL. They stayed true to that last week, taking 29.69 seconds to run each play. In neutral situations, they were even slower at 36.79 seconds.

This led to the Broncos snapping the ball with one second on the clock on 13 occasions and taking two delay of game penalties. Hackett and Russell Wilson will clean up their communication and sort this out, but we shouldn’t be surprised by this as the Packers in 2021 finished the season 18th in plays per game.

Betting Picks

The Broncos were first in the NFL in time of possession per drive on offense. Their defense will be lathered up for their home opener.

Where the Broncos excel on defense can limit the Texans’ offense and force Mills to be uncomfortable. There won’t be many possessions in this game, as the Broncos have no reason to deviate from their 29th-ranked neutral offensive pace.

It all adds up to a strong play on the under.

FanDuel Quickslip: Under 45.5 | Bet to 45

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