Denver Broncos vs. Houston Texans Pick 12/8/19

by | Dec 3, 2019 | nfl

Denver Broncos (4-8 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 1PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

Point Spread: DEN +9.5/HOU -9.5 (Intertops)
Over/Under Total: 41.5

The Denver Broncos take on the Houston Texans in AFC action from NRG Stadium on Sunday. Both teams took care of business on Sunday. Denver looked good in Drew Lock’s first start at home, beating the Chargers for the second time this season with a 23-20 win. Houston shined even brighter, moving to 8-4 and taking control of the AFC South with a 28-22 win over conference kingpins New England. Who is in a better spot to cover this week in Houston?

Don’t Sleep on Denver

It’s probably fair to say that the bulk of NFL fans and bettors underrate the Broncos. An 0-4 start and a season devoid of many highlights, coupled with a low-profile vibe, have taken them off most people’s radar screens. After an 0-4 start, they are 4-4 in their last eight games and have covered six of their previous 8 spreads. Drew Lock did well and got a win in his first start and with a good run-game led by Phillip Lindsay, and after hitting Courtland Sutton for two scores, he seemed to have a good handle of the offense.

On defense is where Denver shines and where they could make life hard on Houston this week. Getting Von Miller (questionable) back would be great, but there are still a lot of things they do well. Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson could exploit Their run-defense but look for the pass-rush to trouble Watson, as his front doesn’t always do the best job in repelling the rush. A playmaking stout secondary could trouble Watson and curb their top edge, which is a vital passing-game with DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and others.

At the end of the day, you have a Broncos team that might be headed nowhere, but is still covering at a better rate than Houston is. With a lack of stars on the team, they’re readily easy to overlook. They’re not on TV a lot, and you don’t hear a lot of people talking about them outside Colorado. In contrast, you have a high-profile Houston team coming off a highly-discussed spotlight win on Sunday night over the defending Super Bowl champions. Who would tend to be getting better value in this situation?

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Houston Hitting Their Stride

Still, after taking command of the division with a big push, Houston is looking pretty good. Beating New England in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score suggested was their fourth win in five games. Since losing in week one, they have won two games and then lost once in sequence three times. After two straight wins, will that pattern continue this week? A good team, they have put forth enough clunkers to make them something less than completely bankable.

This could be a spot where Houston’s defense shines, something it hasn’t always done this season. We’ve seen some swelling point totals in recent weeks, though they were good against New England and Indy the last two weeks. We should see something similar this week against a Denver offense without a lot of firepower. Still, Lock should be able to make things happen against a Houston secondary that remains an Achilles heel on this team, in addition to a depleted front seven that isn’t always stout or playmaking. This remains an issue for Houston, and whereas their offense usually extracts the most of what it has, the defense hasn’t achieved the results that their individual pieces would suggest.

Denver as an Away Entity

Other than beating a sideways Chargers team, the Broncos have not been the same team away from Mile High. And that’s not earthshattering news, as most teams have a home/away form change and with Mile High being such a challenging place to play, they relinquish a significant edge when taking to the road. At home, we’ve seen them score nice wins over teams like the Titans, Browns, and the Chargers, but on the road, the point-totals drop, the overall flatness increases, and the results aren’t as good overall. A flat Denver manifesting this week would be easy pickings for the Texans.

A look at Value

A definite contender, Houston is a division-leading team in good form, while Denver is heading nowhere. But the gulf between the two sides might not be as vast as the point spread attests. Houston, first of all, isn’t the ideal team to lay a big number on, as the vast majority of their games are one-score affairs. Only against two teams that were playing poorly at the time in Atlanta and Jacksonville were they able to win by scores that exceeded what the point spread is this week. A look at Denver’s results also shows a lot of close games, and while they were lit up at Lambeau and lost badly at Buffalo, they are usually in games. Even a Houston backer would have to grant that the value on the Texans this week isn’t that great with the spread approaching double-digits.

Take the Road Dog

I think there is upside this week on a scrappy Broncos’ bunch. I believe they are a little overlooked and underrated, not as far from big things as some may feel. Houston is flying high after beating the Pats, but it may have created a view on the Texans that is a little overstated. A flawed team that is still more than capable of underperforming, there would seem to be better spots to lay a significant number like this on them. I think Denver has just enough juice on defense to keep a lid on the Texans, allowing them to eke out a cover on the road this week. I’ll take Denver.

Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Denver Broncos plus 9.5 points.