Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans: Colts +4.5 – 20/23
The Texans now have nine wins in a row, the best streak in the league, and have put up back-to-back wins by double-digits that will likely have convinced many that they are for real.
But not us.
Put simply, the Texans are shipping shedloads of good fortune in their winning run, and against a string of average-to-outright awful teams to boot, so we’re going to oppose them for the foreseeable because this run cannot last.
They’ve a strong defence that’ll give them a chance against most teams, and in Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, they’ve two real playmakers, but beyond that it’s difficult to get excited about a team doing just about enough and getting the breaks to knock over a middling schedule.
Some might think it’s worth sticking with them this week because the visitors on Sunday were shut out last week by the Jags.
But the Colts will want to put that right, and have shown themselves capable of putting up scores earlier in the season – I’d rather trust that form than one game against Jacksonville’s defence, who were buzzing after finally seeing Blake Bortles take his rightful place on the bench.
The Colts should play this close, and can even win here, but just take them on the handicap +4.5.
Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs: Under 51 Total Points – 20/21
The Chiefs have been a sensation this season, but defeat in that epic Monday night tussle at LA, coupled with Kareem Hunt’s release and a subsequent less-than-fluent game against Oakland off a bye just sets doubts creeping in about another Andy Reid team.
Spencer Ware now gets the primary backfield work, but he did not look great last week. They’ve blown the league away with their passing offence, but it’s important that their backs carry a threat too or it can take away a lot of attacking options.
By contrast, running the ball isn’t something the Ravens have had to worry about recently.
They’re rolling back the clock with their rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, using him as a rusher primarily because his passing play is not up to scratch yet.
Baltimore’s receiving options aren’t great in any case, so filling in for Joe Flacco, they were always going to have to try to mix things up to generate offence.
The 51 total points line here is based on the Chiefs piling up points, which they could still do, but with Baltimore leaning so heavily on the run, and unlikely to change that strategy any time soon having won three of three with Jackson starting, they’ll keep the clock ticking over, whatever the score. That makes the line look too high for me, so I’d take the under.