Houston Texans (4-9) at Indianapolis Colts (9-4)
The Texans nearly beat the Colts two weeks ago, losing by 6 after a botched goal line snap at the end of the game when the Texans had a chance to score a game winning touchdown. That loss effectively ended the Texans’ season and they played like it last week, showing minimal effort in a 36-7 loss to a middling at best Bears team. Now playing the Colts again, I would expect a much better effort from the Texans this week.
The Colts, meanwhile, could easily be flat, having already beaten the Texans, with a much tougher game against the Steelers on deck, while the Texans only have the lowly Bengals on deck. Favorites cover at just a 43.4% rate against opponents with a 35% winning percentage or worse when they next play an opponent with a winning percentage higher than 70% and when their opponent next plays an opponent with a winning percentage or 35% or less. On top of that, favorites cover at a 42.9% rate when their next opponent has a winning percentage 50%+ higher than their current opponent.
Unfortunately, we’re not getting the line value we need with the Texans for them to be worth betting. The Texans were somewhat capable earlier in the year, but the injuries are starting to pile up, most notably two of their top-3 pass catchers (Will Fuller and Randall Cobb) and their top-2 defensive backs (Bradley Roby and Justin Reid). My calculated line is Indianapolis -8, although that would change if gametime decision DeForest Buckner is ruled out, as he’s one of the Colts most important players. If that happens, I may consider betting on the Texans, but if he plays, there isn’t nearly enough here.
Update: Buckner is playing. The line has shifted to 7.5, but I still have no desire to bet on the Texans, as my calculated line is Indianapolis -9.5 with Buckner in the lineup.
Indianapolis Colts 27 Houston Texans 20
Pick against the spread: Houston +7.5