The Houston Texans have been dismal on the road but look to remain perfect at home when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night in an early-season showdown for first place in the AFC South. Houston has won all three contests at home to hold a one-game edge atop the division, but it has lost six of the last seven matchups against the Colts.
The Texans will attempt to rebound from a 31-13 drubbing at Minnesota in which they were limited to 214 total yards and failed to score a touchdown until the final four minutes. Houston snapped a six-game losing streak in the series with a 16-10 home win on Dec. 20, but that was without quarterback Andrew Luck in Indianapolis’ lineup.
Luck threw a 35-yard touchdown pass with just over 3 1/2 minutes to play in a 29-23 win over Chicago last week to prevent the Colts from dropping to 1-4. “We needed to get that taste out of our mouth. We needed a win,” Luck said. Winning cures all in this league.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE: Houston opened as 3.5-point favorites and had that half point hook trimmed from the line with money on the Colts. The total opened at 46 points and is now at 48.5.
INJURIES: Colts – WR Q. Bray (questionable), NT Z. Kerr (questionable), LB J. McNary (questionable), T D. Good (questionable), G J. Reitz (questionable), CB P. Robinson (questionable), CB D. Butler (out) / Texans – TE C. Fiedorowicz (questionable), T D. Newton (questionable), WR B. Miller (questionable), CB K. Jackson (questionable), G O. Aboushi (questionable), S Q. Demps (questionable), G J. Allen (questionable), LB B. Peters (questionable), TE R. Griffin (questionable), TE S. Anderson (out)
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “The Texans have played two ?step-up-in-class? games on the road, and they?’ve been non-competitive both times, with Brock Osweiler looking lost when playing from behind. The Colts defense allowed an anemic Bears offense with a backup QB to gain 522 yards against them last week, but Andrew Luck saved their season with an impressive fourth quarter.” – Covers Experts’ Teddy Covers.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We took a sharp bet on the Colts within a
half hour of opening, which prompted the drop to -3. Haven’t moved the
spread since and haven’t seen any other wiseguys on either side.
Currently, we have almost 60 percent of the money handle on the Colts.
It might not move again, but I could see the spread dropping more, if
anything. The total moved to as high as 49 with both some sharps and a
lot of squares on the over.” – Scott Cooley, Bookmaker.eu.
ABOUT THE COLTS (2-3, 2-3 ATS): Luck has thrown for 10 touchdowns against only three interceptions while tying for fourth in the league with 1,469 yards passing, but he also has been sacked an NFL-high 20 times behind Indianapolis’ shaky offensive line. “You don’t want your quarterback hit. Period,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “We’re trying to do everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen and limit that. He knows that and everybody knows that.” T.Y. Hilton has a touchdown pass in each of the last three games, hauling in 25 of his 35 receptions during that span, including 10 for 171 yards last week. Indianapolis ranks 30th overall (410.6 yards) in total defense an allows 29.6 points per game.
ABOUT THE TEXANS (3-2, 3-2 ATS): Houston invested heavily in a pair of free agents in quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Lamar Miller, but it has yet to reap the dividends. Osweiler, who replaced an injured Peyton Manning with Denver last season, has more interceptions (seven) than touchdown passes (six) while completing only 58 percent of his passes and posting a quarterback rating of 70.6. Miller has provided more bang for the bucks, rushing for at least 80 yards in each of the first four games, but he was held to 20 yards last week and has yet to find the end zone. Despite the lost of star lineman J.J. Watt, the Texans ranked fifth overall in total defense and are No. 1 against the pass (181.0 yards per game).
* Road team is 3-0-1 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Colts are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.
* Over is 9-2 in the last 11 meetings in Houston.
* Under is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings.
COVERS CONSENESUS: 52 percent of bets are on Houston while 53 percent of totals wagers are on the Over.