Patriots vs. Texans betting lines and primer: Early money, trends on opposite sides of total

Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins, Patriots LB Elandon Roberts, Sept. 9, 2018
Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins, Patriots LB Elandon Roberts (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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The point spread for the NFL’s Week 13 Sunday night game between the Patriots and Texans opened New England -3.5, a number that has interested underdog bettors who moved the line down to -3 (-120) on most oddsboards. Las Vegas’ South Point sportsbook, which never gets off the standard -110 juice, was still dealing -3.5 as of this Friday post.

The total has been bet up to 45.5 from a 44.5 opener at the Westgate SuperBook.

Patriots (-3/-120, 45.5) at Texans

The Pats (10-1 straight up, 7-4 against the spread, 3-8 OVER/UNDER) have sustained just one straight-up setback this season, losing 37-20 at Baltimore in Week 9, and have slugged through low-scoring victories over Philadelphia and Dallas since. While concerns permeate around the New England offense, the Ravens are the only team to have scored more than 14 points against Bill Belichick’s defense all season. The unit ranks first in the league by a large margin in points allowed (10.6 per game), second in yards allowed (256.4 per game) and No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

While plenty has been said about New England’s relatively easy schedule — and this week’s visit to a formidable Houston side provides a stern test – the home underdog role has not been a profitable one for the Texans. They are on a 3-11 SU and 4-10 ATS run when catching points at home dating back to September 29, 2013. As a dog of fewer than 5 points, they are 2-7 ATS during this span.

Houston (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS, 4-7 O/U) has been its usual solid-but-unspectacular self this season, good enough to maintain a slim lead in the competitive AFC South. Based on FO’s advanced metrics, however, the Texans are a middle-of-the-pack team, ranking 15th on offense, 26th in defense and 18th overall in DVOA.

Also read: Ravens leap to top of Super Bowl 54 oddsboard

Series history: While the Texans have the benefit of home field and extra rest – having beaten the Colts 20-17 last Thursday night but failing to cash as 3.5-point chalk – series history suggests a play on the Pats on Sunday night. New England has won eight in a row against Houston, covering the spread in all but two of those games – as a 13.5-point favorite in 2017 (a 36-33 win) and laying -7 in 2013 (a 34-31 win).

Trends point to UNDER: Despite the early betting sentiment on the OVER, several trends lean the other way for this battle of AFC contenders.

With its lights-out defense and now-pedestrian offense, New England has been a dead-UNDER team this season, as the low side has cashed in eight of 11 Pats games. The Texans, too, have been trending UNDER, the bet cashing in four straight.

Also, the Texans are 7-1-1 to the UNDER at home since last December, and UNDER is 17-4-1 since October 29, 2018 in games in which New England is favored and 27-10-1 since December 07, 2014 when the Pats lay points on the road.

Trends compiled via SportsDatabase.

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