AFC Wild Card Betting Preview: Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts – Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019
Matchup at a Glance
When: Saturday, January 5, 2019, at 4:35 PM
Where: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Point Spread: Houston Texans -1 ½
Betting Total: 48 ½
This game is being played on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas with the kickoff scheduled to take place at 4:35 PM on ESPN/ABC.
MyBookie has set the point spread for this game at Houston Texans -1 ½ and set the total for over/under plays at 48 ½ points.
This will be the 3rd time this year that the Colts and the Texans have played each other. In the first 2 games, the road team got the win and the cover, with Houston winning on 9/30/2018 by the score of 37-34 in overtime and the Colts winning on 12/9/2018 by the score of 24-21.
Both games were decided by a field goal and were very close games throughout. In the first game, we saw both teams combine for 954 yards of total offense with Houston getting the win 37-34. In the second game, we again saw a ton of offense in the game with 751 yards of total offense between the two teams, and the Colts leaving Houston with the win 24-21.
Who will take the tiebreaker on the season and who will advance onto the next round of the AFC postseason? Only time will tell…..so let’s take a look deeper into each team and see who has the advantage here in the AFC Wild Card Weekend!
The Houston Texans are a very unique team. They started out with three straight losses against two out three teams that did not make the postseason. With starting out 0-3, many felt that they were on their way to another rough season.
The Texans went 4-12 in 2017 and ended up in the last place but just because they started 0-3, would not mean that their season in 2018 was over! The Texans proceeded to win 11 of their next 13 games to end their season with an 11-5 SU and 7-8-1 ATS record.
They ended up winning the AFC South by 1 game over their opponents, the Indianapolis Colts. The Texans were tied with the New England Patriots for having the 3rd best record in the AFC however due to the early season loss to the Patriots and Tom Brady, the Texans fell to the 4 seed, while the Patriots ended up the 3 seed.
Looking deeper into the Texans, we find that their 5 losses this season came by a total combined 20 points. That basically means that they lost by only an average of 4 points per game. Every one of their losses this year were one-score games with the largest deficit being in week 1 against the Patriots, where they lost by 7 points.
The Texans winning recipe this year has been a little bit of QB DeShaun Watson and a little bit of their premier defense! Watson has thrown for 4,165 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Watson also ran the ball 99 times this year for 551 yards and another 5 touchdowns. He managed to stay healthy this year and started all 16 games for the Texans.
On the other side of the ball, its all about tough defense! The Texans are ranked 3rd against the run this year, allowing just 82.7 yards per game. They are anchored by DE JJ Watt, who has recorded a team-high 16 sacks on the season.
Watt is second in the NFL behind LA Rams Defensive End Aaron Donald for the NFL’s sack leader this year. Potentially what he is even stronger at is forcing fumbles, where he leads the entire NFL. Watt has a tendency to strip the ball and in the postseason, if you can create turnovers, you will win football games.
The Indianapolis Colts didn’t really know what to expect out of this year when the season started. They had a new Head Coach in former QB Frank Reich and were hoping to get their franchise quarterback back on the field after two years or what seemed like an eternity, on the sideline.
Reich made some very questionable calls that made some people raise their eyebrows early in the season but those decisions basically showed that he wanted to win football games and wouldn’t settle for anything less.
As far as their franchise QB, well he is back! Andrew Luck started all 16 games this year and looks to be back to his old self again. He passed for 4,593 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.
With most quarterbacks, 15 interceptions would make you raise your eyebrow and scratch your head but for Luck, its par for the course. With his aggressive style of play and his ability to take chances, he is always going to have a high number of interceptions mainly for the risk factor and due to his constant risk-taking.
The Colts ended up going 10-6 SU and 8-7-1 ATS on the season. They were 6-2 at home this year but just 4-4 on the road. They split their games right down the middle, playing 8 games over and 8 games under the posted total.
The one thing that really stands out for the Colts this year is their offensive line and their ability to give Luck the time he needs to throw the ball downfield. The Colts O-Line has only allowed only 18 sacks this year, which is very strong for the NFL average. That will dramatically help them knowing they will be going up against JJ Watt and the Houston Texans defense that likes to constantly put pressure on the quarterbacks.
One of the surprising stats this year for the Colts is how impressive their defense has been. The Colts defense is ranked 11th overall and they have done a wonderful job at turning the ball over. The Colts have the 8th ranked rushing defense and their passing defense is ranked 13th. In the two previous games against the Texans, the Colts had 1 interception and 12 sacks.
They constantly got through to Deshaun Watson and kept him running all game long. If they are able to do that again in the third game of the series, the Texans could be in for a long game!
Colts Wins And Advances In AFC Wild Card Game
The key to success for the Colts when facing Houston this year has been getting pressure to the QB and creating sacks. They had 12 sacks in those 2 games and overall, the Texans offensive line has really struggled on the season giving up 61 sacks this year.
The numbers aren’t getting better for the Texans, they are getting worse! If you look closely at their last 3 games of the regular season, you notice right off the bat that they are allowing teams to constantly put pressure on the quarterback and they really have no answer or means to stop them.
In their week 17 game against the Jaguars, they allowed 6 sacks in the game. In their week 16 game against the Eagles, they allowed 4 sacks in the game. In their week 15 game against the Jets, they allowed 6 sacks in the game.
One thing that you can not do in the postseason is allow defenses to tee off with blitz packages on your quarterback and you must give him time to get rid of the ball. That isn’t the case here with the Texans and it is going to be their downfall.
I look for the Colts to put constant pressure on that O-Line and force Watson to use his legs to get outside the pocket. I think that will turn into poor choices and several turnovers on the Texans. I also expect a big game from Andrew Luck. Luck is really looking like he is having fun out there and happy to be back playing football. Look for a big game from him as he leads the Colts past the Texans in the AFC Wild Card game.
Now, one thing you want to be very careful about is this spread. Currently, the line is Houston -1.5. As I said many times this year, you don’t want to be that guy/gal sitting there with less than a minute in the game and Houston with the ball with the game tied. If that happens, they are going to drive down the field, burn the clock and kick a field goal. If that happens, you lose. If you buy the half point, you don’t lose! Consider insurance in case this game is closer than I think and since both previous games were decided by 3 points each.