Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders Betting Odds and Pick to Cover the Point Spread

Houston Texans (2-1 SU,2-1 ATS) vs.Oakland Raiders(1-2 SU,1-2 ATS), Week4 NFL Football, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, (Natural Grass)Oakland California, Sunday,October 3rd, 2010,4:05 PM Eastern
By Jeff Hochman of JHSportsline.com

Betting Odds: Hou -3/Oak +3
Over/Under Total:43.5

The Houston Texans travel to Oakland for a week four matchup against the Silver and Black Raiders. Both teams are coming off week three losses under far different circumstances.

The Texans ran into a very focused Dallas Cowboys team that neededto win and played liked it. They lost 27-13 as 3-point home chalk, and the game wasn’t really that close. Matt Schaub was 23-for-32 for 241 yards, but gave the Cowboys their first two interceptions of the young season. Houston committed a season-high three turnoversto zero for Dallas.

Oakland still can’t believe they are notcoming into this game 2-1 instead of 1-2, as they lost 24-23 as 4-point roaddogsin a heart-breaker. Sebastian Janikowski had not missed a field goal this short in four years.He had made 19 in a row from 30 to 39 yards, so when he lined up for a 32-yarder to win the game, the outcome seemed a foregone conclusion. Oakland would knock off theArizona Cardinals in their home opener and go 2-1 for the first time since 2004. You knowwhat happened next and it was not good if you’re a Raiders’ fan. I was not the only one in shock!

“It’s very shocking,” Oakland running back Darren McFadden said. “I call him Automatic Seabass, so it’s just one of those things. If he kicked that ball 100 times, he’s going to make 99 of them. It just so happened that he missed that one.”

New Raiders starting quarterback Bruce Gradkowskiwas 17 of 34 for 255 yards and a touchdown with one interception. The offense seems to play with more pep in their step when he’s behind center. Bruce does not have the strongest arm or the most agile, but he is very smart and makes great reads. The Cardinals are 6-1 against the AFC and 20-8 at home overall since Whisenhunt took over in 2008.

This game will feature the precise passing attackof the HoustonTexans, going up against one of the best passdefenses in the Oakland Raiders. Something has to give in this one. Houston is averaging 261 passing yards so far, but Oakland is surrendering just 128 yards through the air. You can make a case thatthe Raiders have not faced a so called “elite”quarterback yet as they have faced Vince Young, Sam Bradford (looks real good), and Derek Anderson so far this season.

Houstonshould try to run the ball with rising star Arian Foster. He has doubled his rushing yards from last season. Fosterhad a grand total of 257 rushing yards and three touchdowns in 2009. Already, after Week 3 he has doubled his rushing yards with a total of 406 and has matched his three touchdowns from last year.Arian Fosterhas great vision, good size, and is quick on his feet. Three excellent traits that you look for in a running back. The Raiders run defense has not been good for about 10 years now. This year, they are allowing 128 yards per game on the ground. They should get a slight boost in production behind a sold-out crowd. How they respond to that win-that-wasn’t, will be a big factor in this game.

The Texans have been torched through the air this season giving up season-high passing yards to every team that have played so far. Theyhave enough offensive talent to contend for the postseason and push for an AFC South title. But at the same time, the Texans have shown in the first three weeks of the season that they vulnerable to effective passing games. They must improve on this facet of their defense and how the secondary responds will have a major impact on the rest of the season. Oakland’s passing game won’t scare anyone, butmight be effective in this contest.

Houston has dominated this series going4-1 SU and 4-1 ATS. The Texans defeated Oakland 29-6, as 9-point home favorites last season. Houston out-gained the Raiders 329-165, as they got revenge from their only loss ever to Oakland two years ago.

Oakland is 8-17 ATS in its last 25 games at home. Will they be focused coming off that disappointing last second loss at Arizona last week? I am just not willing to take any chances with either team. Check the status of WR Andre Johnson who re-injured his ankle in last week’s loss to the Cowboys.

Jeff’s Pickto Cover the Point Spread: Texans vs. Raiders Under 43.5

I think both defenses will buckle down after losing last week. TheRaiders will run the ball a lot and try to keep the Texans’ offense off the field. On the flip side, Nnamdi Asomughashould be able to contain a “nicked” upAndre Johnson. Asomugha is the best coverage cornerbacks that is currently playing. Teams have only thrown his way a grand total ofsix times in three games. When two teams are facing each other off a loss, the next game is usually very tight. The total has goneUnder in6 of Houston’s last 8 games on the road. Light play on the Under!