Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 10/16/11, 4:05 PM EST, TV: CBS
Opening Point Spread: Baltimore -5.5
Current Betting Line: Baltimore -6.5
Opening Total: 45
Current Total: 45
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Houston is set to travel to Baltimore without the services of arguably its two most talented players, as wide receiver Andre Johnson is still out with a hamstring injury, while defensive end Mario Williams is out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle. “You’re never going to replace a guy like Mario,” commented Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. “At the same time, it’s the ‘next guy up’ attitude.” Williams already tallied five sacks this season and has accounted for 48.5 of the team’s 131 sacks since the start of the 2007 campaign, which is the highest share of any player for a squad in the NFL. Houston is 3-2 ATS on the season and the ‘under’ is 4-1 in those contests.
The Texans are truly up against it and have never beaten the Ravens in four meetings, including a 34-28 overtime loss as three-point home underdogs last year. Houston actually out-gained Baltimore by a 489-253 margin in that contest. It’s also important to note that Houston averaged 60 more yards without Johnson in three games last year, while also generating 473 in last week’s loss to Oakland.
Baltimore comes in off a bye week and will be looking to jump on Houston early, outscoring opponents by a 52-7 margin in the first quarter. The team may be able to strike against a wounded defense, but also must respect the Texans jumping on opponents by a 47-6 score in the opening 15 minutes. “They’ve jumped out to big leads in the first quarter, big leads in the first half,” commented Ravens coach John Harbaugh this week. “We’ve done pretty well in the first quarter, too, something has to give.” Baltimore is 2-0 ATS after a bye week and the ‘under’ has cashed in both of those contests.
The Ravens and Texans may stall inside the 20-yard line this afternoon, both ranking 27th in the NFL in red zone efficiency. It’s important to note that Baltimore was a perfect 3-for-3 against Houston last year. Quarterback Joe Flacco will need to play well after the time off, completing less than 50 percent of his passes in two contests this year, but the team has still managed to score 34 points or more in three of its first four games. On the other side of the ball, Baltimore’s defense continues to play well, allowing just 14.3 points a game.
Bettors will likely back the Ravens due to their 8-2 ATS mark following a bye week, while the Texans are 0-4 ATS as an underdog.
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