Texans vs Patriots Odds, Prediction, Pick | NFL Preseason (August 10)
Pictured: C.J. Stroud (left) and Bailey Zappe (right).
Texans vs Patriots Odds
On one side, No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud will make his NFL debut at quarterback for the Texans. On the other, new Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien will return to NFL sidelines for the first time since 2020 in a tailor-made revenge spot against the franchise that kicked him to the curb. The Texans vs Patriots odds have Houston installed as a road favorite.
Should we expect both offenses to light up the scoreboard in this NFL preseason tilt? Let's break down the matchup and make a Texans vs Patriots pick.
Spoiler alert: No.
We shouldn't expect both offenses to light up the scoreboard – not early, at least. While the full game total was bet down from 38.5 to a more reasonable 36.5, the first-half total is still sitting at 19.5, which is quite aggressive.
Yes, Stroud threw 85 touchdowns over the past two years at Ohio State and may be the Texans' best quarterback since the days when you could still utter the name “Deshaun Watson” without making anyone uncomfortable, but Stroud alone doesn’t offset the plethora of factors working against the first-half total going over.
Here are the top five, which I’ll elaborate on below.
- Both offensive lines are in shambles due to injuries, which will force both coaches to play it safe.
- Both teams are holding a kicker battle, which leads to less going for it on fourth down, going for two, etc.
- Inclement weather is a very real possibility.
- Recent history shows us that top-five quarterbacks making their debut tend to lead to inflated totals, especially in the first half.
- Preseason first-half unders have historically crushed in this spot.
Offensive Line Injuries
With Trent Brown (undisclosed), Cole Strange (leg), Michael Onwenu (PUP) and Calvin Anderson (NFI) on the shelf, center David Andrews is the only healthy Patriots lineman that is a lock to start in Week 1. The starting line was unlikely to play much anyway, but the injuries all but ensure O’Brien won’t risk putting starting quarterback Mac Jones out there.
In fact, backup Bailey Zappe may be off the table as well. This also means the Patriots will have to be careful about exposing their second-team line to injuries, so we’ll likely get even less of the second-team offense than is typical for preseason Week 1.
The Texans are in a similar situation. Starting center Scott Quessenberry (ACL/MCL) and starting right tackle Tytus Howard (hand) recently went down, so head coach DeMeco Ryans and offensive coordinator Drew Petzing will have to prioritize health and limiting exposing Stroud (and backups Davis Mills and Case Keenum) to any nasty hits.
The Patriots drafted Chad Ryland to challenge incumbent Nick Folk, and the Texans just signed undrafted rookie free agent Jake Bates to challenge incumbent Ka’Imi Fairbairn.
Forecast Calls for Wind, Rain
Bet Houston vs. New England at FanDuel
Top-Five QBs in Their Debuts Usually Don't Score a Bunch of Points
First-half unders are generally money in the preseason regardless of the circumstances (more on that in a moment), but this has especially been true when top-five overall picks are making their NFL debuts.
Over the past five seasons, there have been six rookie quarterbacks to debut in the first half of their team’s first preseason game. All six of those first halves went under the total:
- Aug. 14, 2021: Jaguars 13, Browns 0 (Under 18.5) — Trevor Lawrence (No. 1 overall out of Clemson) started and went 6-for-9 for 71 yards, but failed to lead the Jaguars offense to a score in two series before giving way to Gardner Minshew.
- Aug. 14, 2021: Jets 3, Giants 0 (Under 17.5) – Zach Wilson (No. 2, BYU) started and led the Jets to an opening-drive field goal, which would go down as the only score of the first half.
- Aug. 14, 2021: 49ers 9, Chiefs 7 (Under 19.5) – Jimmy Garoppolo started for the 49ers, but gave way after one series to Trey Lance (No. 3, North Dakota State). In what is sadly still one of Lance’s better moments as a pro, he threw an 80-yard touchdown to Trent Sherfield. He also led a field-goal drive, but that was followed by four straight punts and a 3.5-point win for first-half under bettors.
- Aug. 8, 2019: Cardinals 7, Chargers 7 (Under 20) – Kyler Murray (No. 1, Oklahoma) played only one series and went 6-for-7 for 44 yards, but failed to lead a scoring drive in what ended up as a six-point win for the first-half under.
- Aug. 9, 2018: Browns 13, Giants 3 (Under 17.5) – Baker Mayfield (No. 1, Oklahoma) came in for the third series of the game and promptly threw a touchdown to David Njoku. But despite playing the rest of the half, he failed to lead another scoring drive, which would have sent the first-half total over.
- Aug. 10, 2018: Jets 17, Falcons 0 (Under 19.5) – Sam Darnold (No. 3, USC) debuted in the second quarter with the Jets up 10-0 and led the Jets to paydirt on his second drive, but Falcons veteran QB Matt Schaub couldn’t lead the Falcons to points, despite completing all nine of his pass attempts in his first half.
The chance to bet the under in a top-five quarterback’s debut doesn’t occur often, but, as you can see, the first-half lines are generally inflated to the point where even if that quarterback has success, it’s still a struggle for the number to get over.
A 65% First-Half Under Trend
According to our Bet Labs data, preseason first-half unders in games played outdoors are 216-168-9 (56%) since 2014. But, we can do better. If we zoom out and look at all preseason games played outdoors since 2005 with a full-game total of 34-plus and the home team not favored, the record jumps to a pristine 95-52-3 (65%).
Home field isn't going to play much of a factor in the preseason, but all things being equal, a home team will be slightly favored unless the road team has a player — in this case, Stroud — whom the market believes can alter the outcome, and with that typically comes a raised first-half line that proves to be over-inflated roughly two-thirds of the time.
Texans vs. Patriots
Betting Picks & Predictions
Why not the full game?
With the full-game total having been bet down to 36.5 at most books, it's sitting right around the key number of 37.
Also, the game may have more dangerous finishers at the quarterback position: Houston will likely close with Case Keenum, who is still good enough to be a QB2 on many teams, and the Patriots could give a look to speedy dual-threat rookie Malik Cunningham.
It is also worth noting that Bill Belichick-coached teams are 43-19-2 (69%) toward the second-half over in the preseason dating back to 2005, making him the most profitable preseason second-half over coach in our entire Action Labs database.
The Pick: 1H Under 19.5 | Bet to 19