Jaguars vs. Texans Week 5 Spread & Total Pick
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (0-4 SU, 0-4 ATS)
When: Sunday, October 11, 1 p.m.
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston
Point Spread: JAX +6.5/HOU -6.5 (BetNow - Weekend Special! Deposit up to $500 and receive a dollar for dollar matching 100% bonus!)
Total: O/U 54
The Bill O’Brien era in Houston is over, and if the Texans don’t get a win here against Jacksonville, Houston’s playoff hopes for 2020 will be over as well. The Texans played a ridiculously difficult schedule to open the year and now have an opportunity to bounce back, as the schedule gets a lot softer from here on out.
But does Houston still have the mindset to remain competitive in the AFC South after taking four straight losses? Only one team has ever made the playoffs after an 0-4 start (the 1992 San Diego Chargers), and that occurred because the Chargers opened the year with three playoff teams and then played 11 teams who were 9-7 or worse over the final three months of the season. Houston’s schedule gets softer, but not to that extent. Still, with seven teams qualifying from the AFC this year, there’s hope.
Jacksonville started the year with some hope after a shock win over Indianapolis and a competitive loss to Tennessee, but things seem to quickly be spiraling out of control in Duval County. The Jaguars lost at home to Miami in a game where they were never competitive and followed that up by giving Joe Burrow his first win as an NFL quarterback. At 1-3, Jacksonville is on the precipice of deciding whether they’re going to remain competitive this season or fall back to the pack and be the team everyone expected them to be in 2020. Can the Jaguars get off the canvas and keep the Texans from doing the same?
How the Public is Betting the Jacksonville/Houston Game
The public agrees with Vegas on where the numbers are here, as neither the line nor the total has moved since the game went on the board.
Tight end Tyler Eifert (concussion), defensive end Josh Allen (knee), defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale (ankle), kicker Stephen Hauschka (knee), corner C.J. Henderson (shoulder), linebacker Myles Jack (ankle), offensive lineman Brandon Linder (knee), offensive lineman Will Richardson Jr. (illness), offensive lineman Cam Robinson (knee), linebacker Quincy Williams (abdominal) and safety Jarrod Wilson (hamstring) are all questionable. Running back Ryquell Armstead (illness), cornerback D.J. Hayden (hamstring), linebacker Leon Jacobs (ACL), kicker Josh Lambo (hip), defensive end Josh Mauro (suspended), tight end Josh Oliver (foot), running back Devine Ozigbo (hamstring) and defensive lineman Dontavius Russell (hip) are all out, while defensive end Lerentee McCray, corner Rashaan Melvin and defensive tackle Al Woods opted out of the season. Wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) is probable.
Tight end Jordan Akins and wide receiver DeAndre Carter are questionable after suffering concussions. Corner Gareon Conley (ankle), linebacker Duke Ejiofor (ACL), safety A.J. Moor Jr. (hamstring), and tight end Kahale Warring (undisclosed) are all out. Wide receiver Isaiah Coulter (neck), fullback Cullen Gillaspia (hamstring), and linebacker Peter Kalambayi (hamstring) are all questionable, while defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes opted out of the season.
When Jacksonville Has the Ball
One week in, Gardner Minshew looked like he had picked up where he left off. Three weeks later, the bloom is off the rose for Minshew Mania, and reality has set in. Minshew hasn’t performed poorly by any means, but the reality is that he’s a second-year quarterback, and he’s going to have some growing pains as he keeps growing as an NFL quarterback. Oddly, Jacksonville is 0-3 when Minshew throws for more than 200 yards and 1-0 when he doesn’t hit that number.
That says that Jacksonville has to come in with a better plan than having Minshew throw it 40 times a game, and this is the perfect game for the Jaguars to do precisely that. Houston comes in with the worst run defense in the NFL, which means that the conditions are right for James Robinson to take over the game. The Texans are giving up nearly 200 yards a game on the ground, and Robinson’s averaging close to five yards per carry. If Doug Marrone is smart, he’ll make it a point to give the ball to Robinson at least 20 times and let the rookie back carry the Jags to victory. The Jaguars are at their best when they can keep the game close and try to win it in the fourth quarter, and Robinson should have plenty of opportunities to pound it through Houston’s weak front seven. If Minshew throws 30 to 40 times, Jacksonville’s going to lose.
When Houston Has the Ball
Maybe it’s something about those teal and black uniforms that brings out the worst in Deshaun Watson, but for whatever reason, he has not had a lot of success against Jacksonville. In his eyes, he’s doing just fine against the Jags because the Texans have won the past four matchups against their rivals from Florida. But Watson hasn’t exactly been a factor in that success because the Clemson product has yet to throw for even 250 yards against the Jaguars in five starts against them. When the Texans have had success against Jacksonville in the Watson era, they’ve done it by running the football.
However, that’s really not been a strength of this year’s Houston team. The Texans have struggled to get things going on the ground, as David Johnson hasn’t yet broken 80 yards on the ground this season. To be completely fair to the Texans’ ground game, Pittsburgh boasts the top run defense in the NFL, and Baltimore has a top 10 run defense, but Johnson also had problems with Kansas City and Minnesota, both of whom rank in the bottom 10 in run defense. Jacksonville’s defense is no better on the ground than Minnesota, but the Jaguars are also missing two of their best three corners, which could open the floodgates for Watson to have his best performance against the Jaguars. The bodies on the field suggest that Houston should open up the passing attack, but Watson’s going to have to overcome his history in order to make that happen.
The Jaguars love playing in Houston, and it shows. Jacksonville has never felt uncomfortable in southeastern Texas, and it’s clear from the fact that the Jaguars have covered in six of their past nine trips to Houston with a push. Plus, the numbers in this series heavily favor the underdog. Over the past four years, the underdog has covered in six of the past eight meetings, and success for the road team goes back even further, as the home team has covered just four times in the past 18 meetings.
Because these teams know each other so well and they’re struggling to get things done on offense, the under also appears to be a wise play. In the past five meetings in Houston, the number has cashed four times. But it goes beyond that. In the past six meetings, one team has been held to 12 points or less each time, with five of those games seeing one team held to seven points or less. I don’t expect either team to end up with 12 points again, but this number seems a little high for a game between division rivals who have a tendency to slow each other down.
With temperatures in the 90s in Houston, expect the NFL to order the roof closed, taking weather completely out of the equation.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Is Houston ready to bounce back after firing Bill O’Brien, or will that prove to backfire on the Texans in this game? Honestly, I lean toward the latter. I think Houston panicked after the 0-4 start, and a move like that often appears to do more harm than good. Plus, Romeo Crennel hasn’t really had enough time to put his own stamp on this team and turn things around.
Jacksonville is the more stable team and tends to play very well in Houston, and the Jaguars have the game plan they need to punch holes in the Houston defense if they’re willing to use it. I think Jacksonville will take the smart strategy and keep the ball in Robinson’s hands instead of Minshew’s, and if they do, I think the Jaguars will be on the front foot. Give me Jacksonville to cover, and I’ll pair it with the under. Note: 5Dimes has left the offshore sportsbook market. You can still bet games at -105 though! Find the same great odds, betting platform and wagering options at BetAnySports!