Vikings vs. Texans Betting Guide: Odds & A Spread Pick For This Battle of 0-3 Teams
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Deshaun Watson
- The Houston Texans host the Minnesota Vikings in a battle of 0-3 teams on Sunday.
- With Deshaun Watson & Co. listed as 3.5-point home favorites, who has the edge to cover this spread?
- Our NFL betting analyst Raheem Palmer takes a closer look at the odds and matchup before making his pick.
Vikings vs. Texans Odds
|Vikings Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Texans Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||53.5 [BET NOW]|
|Kickoff||1 p.m. ET on Sunday|
Someone’s perfect record must go.
The Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans enter Week 4 winless, leading to incredibly disappointing starts for teams that advanced to the Divisional Round in their respective playoffs last season.
Needless to say, both franchises hope to get off the snide Sunday in a game that oddsmakers have installed Houston as a 3.5-point favorite.
In the battle between two winless teams, let’s see where the betting value lies.
Minnesota’s season couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start.
After a heartbreaking 31-30 loss to the Titans that dropped the Vikings to 0-3 on the season, it was announced that there was a COVID-19 outbreak within the Tennessee organization.
Although the Titans’ game against the Steelers this week was postponed, the Vikings game will go on as scheduled. With players quarantined early in the week, they weren’t able to practice until Friday. And while there’s no way to specifically quantify what that time lost as a team is worth in regard to the point spread, it should provide Houston a distinct advantage.
The Vikings’ defense has been historically bad and is off to its worst three-game start in franchise history. The Mike Zimmer-led unit is second in points allowed (34 points per game), fifth in yards allowed (440), second in passing yards per play (8.0) and 19th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA.
Along with the defensive free-agent losses, the Vikings have also been hit by the injury bug, with Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter and linebacker Anthony Barr both on injured reserve.
Zimmer’s teams are known strong defense and establishing the run. And while they haven’t been overly successful at stopping teams, Dalvin Cook had a big game in Week 3 against the Titans, rushing for 181 yards on 22 carries.
The Vikings face a Texans defense that’s giving up 5.2 yards per carry and ranks 24th in Football Outsiders’ rush defense. Still, with a defense that’s as bad as the Vikings’ unit, they could find themselves in a negative game script situation in which they won’t be able to rely on the run and instead need to depend on the turnover-prone Kirk Cousins to generate opportunities.
After starting the season against the likes of Kansas City, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, Houston finally catches a break in its schedule.
The Texans’ inability to protect Deshaun Watson has plagued them all season, which has led the quarterback to be sacked a league-leading 13 times. Coming off games against three AFC powers that are much better at rushing the quarterback, Sunday should feel like a breath of fresh air.
The Vikings have the fifth-fewest sacks (4) in the league and yielded the third-most passing yards in the league (292.3).
Watson and the passing game should be in for the best game of the season against a young and beat up Vikings secondary. Per Sharp Football Stats, the Vikings are last in explosive pass plays, allowing 13% of pass plays to result in 20 or more yards. As you would probably guess, opposing receivers have put up astounding numbers against the Vikings.
How good have those numbers been? Take a look:
- Packers WR Davante Adams: 14 rec; 152 yards; 2 TDs; longest reception: 40 yards
- Colts TE Mo Alie-Cox: 5 rec; 111 yards; longest reception: 33 yards
- Titans WR Kalif Raymond: 3 rec; 118 yards; longest reception: 61 yards
Against a running quarterback like Watson, who has an array of weapons at his disposal in Randall Cobb, Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Jordan Akins, the Vikings should have their hands full.
The Texans are in a great spot to pick up their first victory. They face a Vikings team that didn’t get to practice most of the week, allows the most explosive plays in the NFL and can’t capitalize on their biggest weakness in their inability to protect the quarterback.
After opening the season against a Murderers’ Row of sorts when it comes to opponents, the Texans finally catch a break and have a good shot at saving their season. Meanwhile, the Vikings insert themselves into the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes in what should be another tough outing.
Pick: Texans -3.5