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Steelers vs. Texans Betting Odds & Pick: Pittsburgh Can Cover This Spread

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Joe Sargent/Getty Images. Pictured: James Conner, Ben Roethlisberger

Texans vs. Steelers Odds

Texans Odds
+3.5  [BET NOW]
Steelers Odds
-3.5  [BET NOW]
Over/Under
46  [BET NOW]
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET on Sunday
TV
CBS

Odds as of Sunday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


If there’s a silver lining for the Houston Texans’ disappointing start to their 2020 campaign, it’s that they’re battle tested.

Schedule makers didn’t do the them any favors as they opened the season on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs then followed that up against a Baltimore Ravens squad that went 14-2 last season. The road doesn’t get any easier for the Texans as they head into Heinz Field to play a vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers defense that has played lights out so far this season.

With the oddsmakers installing the Steelers as 4-point favorites, will they start 3-0 for the first time since their Super Bowl season in 2010, or can the Texans get off the snide with their first win of the season?

Let me explain why I’m behind Pittsburgh.

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Houston Texans

The Texans have faced a difficult schedule to start the season, but they’ve done themselves no favors with their offseason trade of DeAndre Hopkins. Although the Texans have solid array of weapons in Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills and Keke Coutee, none of them have quite replaced the production of Hopkins thus far.

At a time when scoring has reached historical levels in the NFL, the Texans are still 28th in points per game (18), 24th in total yards per game (332) and 18th in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA despite having a top tier quarterback in Deshaun Watson.

Keeping Watson upright against this Steelers defense will be challenge, as the Texans’ offensive line continues to plague them. They were 27th in adjusted sack rate in 2019, giving up 49 sacks, and they’ve done nothing to improve it since — the Texans are currently dead last in adjusted sack rate and have allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL (8).

Houston’s defense hasn’t done much better, either. The Texans are giving up the third-most rushing yards in the league (198 per game) at 5.6 yards per attempt. They’re also 29th in passing success rate (57%).

It’s clear that Houston will need its offense to get going to avoid going 0-3.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have quite possibly the best defense in the league as they’re second in defensive DVOA, second in run success rate and sixth in pass success rate.

Against a running quarterback like Watson, generating pressure and keeping him inside of the pocket will be key. That shouldn’t be an issue as Pittsburgh has a clear matchup advantage with its front seven against a struggling Houston offensive line. The Steelers are first in pressure rate (42.6%) and second in sacks with 10, so the Texans should have their hands full on Sunday.

James Connor should be able to make life easier for Ben Roethlisberger this week. Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram, Lamar Jackson and J.K. Dobbins combined for 230 rushing yards on 37 attempts against the Texans in Week 2 while Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 138 yards on 25 attempts against the Texans in Week 1.

The Steelers are 12th in passing yards (254.5), but they haven’t been particularly explosive. Roethlisberger hasn’t thrown much down the field and is 30th in intended air yards (6.2). With Houston’s run defense, this is a game in which Pittsburgh can play it safe and control the tempo provided the Steelers don’t turn the ball over.

The Steelers had some injury concerns with Pro Bowl wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and All-Pro guard David DeCastro missing practice, but Friday’s reports show they have a clean injury report and should have all hands on deck for Sunday.

Texans-Steelers Pick

According to our Bet Labs data, teams that fail to win and cover Weeks 1 and 2 are 56-36 (60.9%) against the spread in week 3. In an ideal world, that’s a trend I’d look to capitalize on in this spot given the Steelers’ performance against the Giants and Broncos.

This line opened up at Steelers -6 and was immediately bet down to -3.5, movement that I initially agreed with as I thought this would be a good buy low spot for the Texans, but I’m just not seeing it.

The Steelers have a huge mismatch with their front seven vs. the Texans’ offensive line. One philosophy is to avoid bad offensive lines in road games. Although there’s no crowd noise to provide added pressure, the Steelers still have a significant mismatch in this area.

Houston’s defense hasn’t faired much better, particularly against the run. Pittsburgh should be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and I expect the the Steelers to run quite often and play it safe in a game in which their defense should dominate.

PICKS: Steelers -4; Under 46

[Bet now at Parx and get a $75 if the Steelers score a touchdown]


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