Houston Texans (4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date/Time: Monday, October 24, 2016, 8:30 PM EST
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Co.
TV: ESPN, DirecTV 206
by Badger, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU +7.5/DEN -7.5
Over/Under Total: 40.5
The Houston Texans and their big offseason acquisition QB Brock Osweiler will meet familiar foes in primetime this week when they travel to Denver to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Broncos on ESPNís Monday Night Football.
Osweiler was of course the starting quarterback for the Broncos for much of the season last year, filling in for Peyton Manning while he was injured. But the Broncos let him walk away this winter and the Texans gave him millions of reasons why he should change his address to the Houston area.
Osweiler and the Texans havenít played as well as their 4-2 record would indicate though. The did outlast the Colts last Sunday night in an overtime win, 26-23, but Osweiler has yet to make a believer out of many in Texas as its actually been the Texans other offseason pickup, RB Lamar Miller, who has carried the load on offense thus far this year.
The Broncos raced out to a 4-0 start behind their new signal caller, Trevor Siemian, but have since fallen on hard times with a two-game losing streak including last weekís loss to AFC West rival San Diego, 21-13. Siemian did miss one of the losses with an injury, but the Broncos dominate defense has once again carried the load and they will hope to do it again on Monday when they greet their old teammate back into Mile High Stadium.
Despite their identical records, oddsmakers still set the opening point spread for the Monday Night Football game with the Broncos as rather large 7.5-point favorites. The number has shot up during the week to its current spot with Denver as large as 9-point favorites at many sportsbooks on the Internet.
The over/under total opened at 40.5 and has yet to really move in either direction, but there are lots of books that will let you drop the hook in either direction to 40 or 41 if youíre willing to spend a little extra on the juice.
Defense will be the feature in the game on Monday. The Broncos are ranked No. 1 versus the pass (182 ypg), the Texans are No. 2 (189 ypg). The Broncos are 4th in total yards allowed (295 ypg), the Texans are 7th (315 ypg). Denverís defense is 7th in points allowed at 18 per game, the Texans are 12th allowing 21.2 points per game. Long story short, both Siemian and Osweiler are going to have a huge task in front of them on Monday Night if they are going to put points up on the scoreboard.
These two teams have met five times over the years, and the Broncos have won three of the five including the last time they met in 2013, 37-13. However, the Texans did play their best game in the series the last time they visited Mile High, winning 31-25 in 2012 back before Matt Schaub was run out of town.
The top betting trend for the Monday Night game could be the under, even though it is a rather low 40.5 total. Over the years the total is 3-1-1, but keep in mind the total has never closed lower than 43.5 in their previous five meetings. Going off the scores of the previous five games, all five of them would have ended over the current total of 40.5.
Badger's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Even as good as these defenses are, I still think these offenses are good enough to get over the total. Iíd also side with the Texans as large 9-point underdogs, but until Osweiler plays better football Iím a little afraid to take that risk. Iím taking the over of 40.5.
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