NFL Monday Night Football Betting Preview: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
Monday, October 24, 2016, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Sports Authority Field at Mile High – Denver, Colorado
Opening Line: Denver -6
Current Line: Denver -9
Opening Total: 41 1/2
Current Total: 40 1/2
Opening Money Line: Broncos -335 / Texans +270
Current Money Line: Broncos -365 / Texans +305

The Broncos are 9 point favorites against the Texans Monday night.
The Broncos are 9 point favorites against the Texans Monday night.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler began last season as the back-up for the Denver Broncos behind Peyton Manning. However, Manning suffered a neck injury midway through the season and Osweiler took over. Neither quarterback was that great to be honest. Manning would return for the playoffs and the Broncos would go on to win the Super Bowl upsetting the Carolina Panthers, mainly on the strength of an all-time great defense. Manning retired and it was expected Osweiler would sign a new contract and become the starting quarterback. However, he spurned a contract offer from the Broncos and signed with the Houston Texans.

Houston travels to Denver Monday night. Besides all off the Osweiler returning to Denver drama, this is a battle between two teams that entered week seven at least tied for the the lead in their respective divisions. Houston leads the AFC South at 4-2 and every other team in the division has four losses. Denver is also 4-2 in the AFC West, but the Oakland Raiders are 5-2 and the Kansas City Chiefs are 4-2. Both the Raiders and Chiefs won yesterday.

Denver leads the series 3-2 against Houston. The Broncos won the last meeting 37-13 in Houston in 2013.

Houston is coached by Bill O’Brien. The Texans have home wins over the Chicago Bears 23-14, Kansas City Chiefs 19-12, Tennessee Titans 27-20 and Indianapolis Colts 26-23 in overtime last week. Houston has road losses at the New England Patriots 27-0 and Minnesota Vikings 31-13. Indianapolis led 23-9 with just over three minutes left but Houston scored twice to force overtime. Houston kicked the game winning field goal to complete the improbable comeback. The Texans  were 3 point favorites and the total was 47.5. Players who had the Colts and under were not very happy obviously. Houston is 3-2-1 ATS and the total is 3-3 this season.

Denver is coached by Gary Kubiak, who used to coach the Texans from 2006-13 before being fired. Denver has lost two games in a row after beginning the season 4-0. The Broncos lost at home to the Atlanta Falcons 23-16 and last Thursday at the San Diego Chargers 21-13. The Chargers led that game 19-3 going into the fourth, but the Broncos had a chance to potentially tie the game on a Hail Mary on the last play of the game. Denver was a 3 point favorite against San Diego and the total was 44. The Broncos have home wins over the Carolina Panthers 21-20 and Indianapolis Colts 34-20. Denver won on the road at the Cincinnati Bengals 29-17 and at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-7. Denver is 4-2 ATS and the total is 3-3 this season.

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Houston is being outscored 21-18 this season. Houston is #29 in scoring. The Texans average 328 yards per game on offense including 217 passing and 111 rushing. The Texans are #25 in total offense and #29 in passing. Houston allows 316 yards per game on defense including 189 passing and 126 rushing yards. The Texans are #2 in total defense and are second in pass defense. The rush defense is #28 though.  Houston is 34/92 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 30/84. The Texans have forced 16 sacks and allowed 12 this season. Houston is -4 in turnovers.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler has completed 59% of his passes for 1,402 yards with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 10 carries for 34 yards.He has been way too inconsistent and there are some calls from Houston fans and media to bench him in favor of back-up Tom Savage. Osweiler did not look good against the Colts until the last three minutes. He is probable with a foot injury.

Running back Lamar Miller has 125 carries for 520 yards and a touchdown, along with 17 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Alfred Blue has 19 carries for 98 yards.

Receiver DeAndre Hopkins has 31 catches for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a hamstring injury. Will Fuller has 20 catches for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a hamstring injury.  Tight end Ryan Griffin has 19 catches for 167 yards. Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz has 16 catches for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jaelen Strong has 12 catches for 121 yards.  Thirteen defensive players are listed on the injury report. Defensive end J.J. Watt is on injured reserve after undergoing back surgery.

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Denver is outscoring teams 23-18 this season. The Broncos are #7 in points allowed. Denver averages 323 yards per game on offense including 225 passing and 99 rushing yards. Denver is #28 in total offense and #26 in passing. On defense, Denver allows 295 total yards including 182 passing and 113 rushing yards per game. The Broncos are in the top four in total and pass defense but #20 against the rush. Denver is 34/83 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 34/89. The Broncos have forced 21 sacks and allowed 17 this season. Denver is +3 in turnovers, and the Broncos have two defensive touchdowns.

Second year quarterback Trevor Siemian has been a pleasant surprise this season. He has completed 64.9% of his passes for 1,054 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and has 10 carries for 33 yards. He suffered  a shoulder injury against the Buccaneers and missed the game against the Falcons. He returned against the Chargers. Rookie Paxton Lynch came in relief for Siemien and started against Atlanta. He has completed 62.7% of his passes for 393 yards with 2 touchdowns and a touchdown, plus 9 carries for 14 yards.

Running back C.J. Anderson has 94 carries for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 16 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. DeVontae Booker has 34 carries for 161 yards and also has 8 catches for 65 yards.

Receiver DeMaryius Thomas has 31 catches for 416 yards and 3 touchdowns. Emmanuel Sanders has 36 catches for 413 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a hip injury. Jordan Norwood has 12 catches for 112 yards. Tight end Virgil Green has 10 catches for 95 yards. Three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report, along with three defensive players.

Houston is 3-0-1 ATS on grass, 6-1 after allowing more than 150 rushing yards, 4-1-1 after a failing to cover, 18-6-2 after gaining 350 yards or more, 10-4 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 5-2-1 against AFC teams, 2-5 after passing for 250 yards or more, 1-3-1 against teams with winning home records, 1-4 against teams with winning records, 1-7 in Monday games, and 1-7-1 and after rushing for more than 150 yards. The under is 3-1-1 in this series all time.

Denver is 4-1-1 ATS at home, 6-2-1 overall, 3-1-1 against AFC teams, 5-2-1 against teams with winning records and on grass, 12-5 after a straight up loss, 9-4-1 after failing to cover, 2-6 after rushing for less than 90 yards and 1-6-1 in Monday games.

The total on this game is 40 1/2 but these teams might be lucky to score 20 points. Both teams have dominant defenses and mediocre offenses. Last night, the Seahawks and Cardinals played to a thrilling 6-6 tie. I could see a battle of all field goals in this game too. I like the Broncos to win a close game.

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