NFL Betting Preview: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana

Sunday, December 14, 2014, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Indianapolis -6 1/2
Current Line: Indianapolis -7
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 49
Opening Money Line: Colts -280 / Texans +230
Current Money Line: Colts -290 / Texans +240

The Colts look to clinch the AFC South title with a win Sunday against the Texans.
The Colts look to clinch the AFC South title with a win Sunday against the Texans.

The 9-4 Indianapolis Colts lead the AFC South by 2 games over the 7-6 Houston Texans. The Colts host the Texans Sunday and Indianapolis will clinch the division title with a win. The Colts are currently the #3 seed in the AFC playoffs behind the 10-3 New England Patriots and Denver Broncos and ahead of the 8-4-1 Cincinnati Bengals. The Texans are part of a 5 team group of 7-6 teams behind 3 teams at 8-5.

Since Houston came into the league in 2002, the Colts have dominated the series 21-4 against the Texans. Indianapolis has won 4 straight games in the series including 33-28 in Houston October 9 of this season.

Houston is coached by Bill O’Brien. The Texans have road losses at the New York Giants 30-17, Dallas Cowboys 20-17 in overtime, Pittsburgh Steelers 30-23, plus home losses to the Indianapolis Colts 33-2, Philadelphia Eagles 31-21 and Bengals 22-13. Houston has home wins over the Washington Redskins 17-6, Buffalo Bills 23-17 and Tennessee Titans 45-21, along with road wins at the Oakland Raiders 30-14,  Titans 30-16, Cleveland Browns 23-7 and last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-13. The Texans are 8-5 ATS and the total is 7-6 this season. Houston was a 6.5 point favorite on the NFL Bet Lines at Jacksonville and the total was 42.

Indianapolis is coached by Chuck Pagano. The Colts have road losses at the Denver Broncos 31-24 and Steelers 51-34, along with home losses to the Eagles 30-27 and the New England Patriots 42-20. Indianapolis has  road wins at the Jaguars 44-17, Texans 33-28, and Giants 40-24 and Browns 25-24 last week , along with home wins over the Titans 41-17, Baltimore Ravens 20-13, Cincinnati Bengals 27-0, Jaguars 23-3 and Redskins 49-27. Indianapolis has won three straight games. The Colts are 9-4 ATS and the total is 9-4 this season. Indianapolis was a 3 point favorite against Cleveland and the total was 50.

Houston is outscoring teams 24-20 this season. The Texans are #7 in points allowed and #12 in scoring. Houston is averaging 350 yards per game on offense including 214 passing and 137 rushing yards. The Texans are #4 in rushing and #24 in passing. On defense, Houston is allowing 373 yards per game including 264 passing and 109 rushing yards. Houston is #25 in total defense and #28 in pass defense. The Texans are 79/194 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 73/193. Houston has forced 29 sacks and allowed 22 this season. Houston has 5 defensive touchdowns this season and has allowed one. The Texans are +12 in turnovers.

The Texans benched quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in favor of Ryan Mallett. Unfortunately, in his second game starting, Mallett tore a pectoral muscle and is out for the season. Fitzpatrick became the starter again. Fitzpatrick has completed 63.4% of his passes for 2,463 yards with 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 47 carries for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mallett threw for 400 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Running back Arian Foster has 204 carries for 1,028 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 33 catches for 276 yards and 4 touchdowns. Alfred Blue has 136 carries for 457 yards and a touchdown, along with 9 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins has 64 catches for 1,090 yards and 6 touchdowns. Andre Johnson has 69 catches for 737 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a concussion. Damaris Johnson has 22 catches for 250 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Garrett Graham has 18 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown. He is out with an ankle injury. Seven defensive players are on the injury report for the Texans along with four offensive linemen.

Indianapolis is outscoring teams 31-24 this season. The Colts are #2 in scoring and #19 in points allowed. Indianapolis is averaging 432 yards per game on offense including 322 passing 111 rushing yards. The Colts are #1 in total offense and passing. On defense, Indianapolis is allowing 356 yards per game including 248 passing and 108 rushing yards. The Colts are 82/187 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 56/170. Indianapolis has forced 35 sacks and allowed 24 this season. The Colts are -4 in turnovers. Indianapolis has 2 defensive touchdowns and has allowed 4 this season.

Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck has completed 61.9% of his passes for 4,305 yards with 36 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, along with 55 carries for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Trent Richardson has 142 carries for 475 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 22 catches for 203 yards. Ahmad Bradshaw has 90  carries for 425 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 38 catches for 300 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is out for the season with an ankle injury.  Daniel Herron has 50 carries for 253 yards and a touchdown, along with 13 catches for 93 yards.

Receiver T.Y. Hilton has 78 catches for 1,295 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Reggie Wayne has 55 catches for 641 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a tricep injury. Tight end Coby Fleener has 40 catches for 650 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tight end Dwayne Allen has  27 catches for 379 yards and 7 touchdowns. Donte Moncrief and Hakeem Nicks each have three touchdown catches. Twenty one Colts players are listed on the injury report including 6 offensive linemen and 12 defensive players.

When betting on NFL games it is important to know Houston is 4-1 ATS  in road games, against AFC teams and against AFC South teams, 2-5 after allowing less than 15 points, 3-9 after a straight up win, 1-3-1 after passing for less than 150 yards, 1-4 in week 15, 3-12 after a cover, 1-8 on fieldturf, and 0-4 after rushing for more than 150 yards. The under is 6-2 in the last 8 games in this series, and 5-0 in Indianapolis between the teams.

Indianapolis is 5-0 ATS against teams with winning road records, 15-2 after a cover, 6-1 on fieldturf, and after allowing less than 150 passing yards, 4-1 in week 15 and after gaining more than 350 total yards, 17-5 after allowing less than 250 total yards, 20-6 at home, 16-5 against AFC South teams, 15-5 against AFC teams, 20-7 in December, and after passing for 250 yards or more, and 8-3 overall. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in this series recently. The home team is 7-2 ATS in the series. The Colts have covered the last four times against the Texans both overall and at home.

Indianapolis has a two game cushion, while the Texans are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. While the Texan’s defense isn’t great they do have J.J. Watt who should merit some serious consideration for league MVP because of his dominant play. He has accounted for 5 touchdowns this season including 3 touchdown catches. I think the Texans pull off the upset on the road to stay alive for the division title.

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