New England Patriots at Houston Texans Spread Pick
Opening Line: New England -7.5
New England trailed 24-0 at halftime last Sunday before roaring back to win 34-31 in OT against a shocked Denver squad. Houston reached their nadir last week, falling 13-6 at home to Jacksonville. It was their ninth-straight loss after opening the season 2-0.
The Patriots are on a roll offensively (32 ppg last six) and now face a team in disarray. QB Tom Bradyís numbers continue to improve as he now has a full complement of weapons at his disposal. TE Rob Gronkowskiís return has helped as has the emergence of rookie WR Aaron Dobson. The Texans have had trouble with short passes to RBs out of the backfield and look for Brady to capitalize on this weakness. The Texans have also allowed 18 TD passes while picking off only four. DE J.J. Watt isnít having the type of year in 2013 that he did last season (who in Houston is?) but still has nine sacks. He may be too quick and strong for the New England OTs so donít be surprised if he faces a lot of chips and double teams. The Patriots use a RB-by-committee and their top three RBs all average 4.3+ ypc. NE averages 126 ypg on the ground and donít be surprised if they dominate on the ground.
Houston QB Case Keenum got off to a fast start after replacing QB Matt Schaub but has quickly fallen to earth. While he has an 8-2 TD/INT ratio, he is completing only 55% of his passes and has been sacked 13 times. In the past two games, the Raiders and Jaguars blitzed often and greatly affected Keenum in the pocket. NE HC Bill Belichick knows how to draw up a game plan and look for several different blitz packages to be deployed against the young, inexperienced QB. RB Ben Tate took over for Arian Foster (IR) with some success but was held to one yard on seven carries last week. He was benched for RB Dennis Johnson. New Englandís run defense has been vulnerable this year (140 yards allowed per game) but we donít see them having too much trouble with an O-line that is struggling to run block and pass protect.
ATS Game Pick
These teams played twice last season and the Patriots won both, 42-14 in the regular season and 41-28 in the playoffs, and thatís when the Texans were relatively healthy. New England is ascending while Houston is in a deep descent. Itís not standard practice to back a road favorite of more than seven points but this situation warrants it. The Texans are struggling in all facets of the game and the Patriots have shown in the past that they will keep trying to score even when the game is well in hand. We look for a big Patriots win here and have no problem backing them on the road.
Our Crew's Pick: Take the New England Patriots -7.5 at GtBets and get yourself a 100% bonus on your first deposit!