Week 10 NFL Betting Preview: Tampa Bay Bucs host Houston Texans on Sunday

Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, 11/13/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Houston -2.5
Current Betting Line:  Houston -3
Opening Total:  45.5
Current Total:  45.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Texans vs. Buccaneers NFL Betting Preview
Texans RB Arian Foster leads the NFL's second-best rushing attack into Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The Houston Texans came into the season as the favorites to win the AFC South because of their strong passing game.  But the Texans (6-3) have used the NFL’s second-best ground game to win three straight games, and they will try to make it four in a row when they visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) on Sunday.

Only the Philadelphia Eagles rush for more yards per game than Houston does behind running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate.  The duo averages more than 142 yards per game between them, and each player is on pace to top 1,100 yards.

The Texans (-3, O/U 45.5) are 6-0 this season when they rush 30 times or more in a game and 29-3 under head coach Gary Kubiak all-time in that scenario.  Foster (124) and Tate (115) both topped the century mark in a 30-12 rout of Cleveland last Sunday as the team set a franchise record with 261 rushing yards total.

One of the main reasons Houston has chosen to run the ball more lately is that All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson is suffering from a hamstring injury that has caused him to miss the last five games.  Johnson has been practicing this week though and could return against the Buccaneers.  In the last four games without Johnson, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has averaged just 215 passing yards with four touchdowns.

Tampa Bay knows what it’s like to miss a key cog in its offense, as the team’s top rusher LeGarrette Blount missed two games with a sprained knee before returning last week.  Blount carried the ball 13 times for 72 yards in a 27-16 loss at New Orleans after sitting for three weeks, including the bye.

The Bucs have dropped two games in a row and three of four following a 3-1 start.  They have won their last three true home games, with a road trip to London to face Chicago also considered one of their “home” games.  Tampa lost to the Bears 24-18 and looked out of sorts against the Saints following the bye in Week 8.  New Orleans jumped out to a 17-3 halftime lead and was up 24-6 heading into the fourth quarter of a game that was never really close.

Houston has split two all-time meetings with the Buccaneers, with the last one taking place in 2007 and resulting in a 28-14 victory.  The Texans are 2-0-1 against the spread during their winning streak while Tampa Bay is 1-4 ATS in its past five overall and 7-19 ATS in its last 26 at home.

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