Handicap: Houston (-7.5) – 20/21
Miami are still without Ryan Tannehill and while you can easily make a case that his replacement Brock Osweiler has performed above expectations (what expectations?), he’s not good at his job.
This Houston defence is finally beginning to turn up the heat and when you factor in that Miami are coming off the back of a beating and having to travel to Texas on short-rest, they’ll be tired and off-pace to deal with this pass rush.
Conversely, ‘Nuke’ Hopkins is starting to roll and Deshaun Watson’s rookie season that had Mahomes-like uproar is slowly beginning to rear its head again.
Lamar Miller just needs to be serviceable enough to allow play-action on the back-end and Miami’s linebackers are overly keen in pursuit. Expect this Texans offence to have a big day against a defence will resemble a jetlagged, under-prepared mess.
#WHATODDSPADDY: Kenyan Drake & Will Fuller to both score TDs – 6/1
Will Fuller and Deshaun Watson have a connection. Their form suggests that, when they play together, they score together. This trend will continue as Minkah Fitzpatrick will be forced to take a step towards the side of the field that’s occupied by Hopkins.
If Fuller lines up in the slot, Houston are clever enough to manipulate space in the middle of the field to open up big play opportunities. They also run a lot of stunts with him in the redzone, eliminating some risk associated with backing receivers to score touchdowns.
Kenyan Drake may actually be the only playmaker left on this Miami team right now, too. Kenny Stills is out and Miami’s only hope of points that doesn’t involve a kick is by getting Drake the ball.
He’s not perfect, but he’s a lot better than the alternatives. Given that he’s explosive in the pass game and Miami would like to limit Brock from throwing any further than ten yards downfield, you’d have to figure Drake is the bellcow in so many scenarios.
Don’t start talking about Danny Amendola.
First Touchdown Scorer: Houston D/ST – 14/1
Bear with me. So, we’ve established that Brock won’t be throwing anything deep downfield and his scripted plays to start the game will ease him into the flow of the huddle rather than actively trying to score in one strike.
If you offered Miami half-decent field position in which to punt should they have possession first, they’d probably be happy enough with it.
And if Houston elect to receive, they’ve got electric returners to bring it back the other way. Miami has one of the poorer special teams coverage units in the NFL and that’s probably going to get overlooked on a short week, given how important other issues are.
The most likely source of this bet winning is down to edge pressure though. These Texans know how to knock the ball out and they’ve as much as speed on defence as anyone else in the league.
Both Houston and Brock Osweiler will do their best to land this 14/1 shot for you.