Online Sportsbooks: Texans -6 vs Titans
Tennessee Titans (5-5 SU, 6-4 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (7-3 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Date/Time: Monday, November 26, 7:15 PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
By Keith Allen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ten +6 / Hou -6
Over/Under Total: 41½
The Tennessee Titans travel to take on their division rival in Houston on Monday Night Football. Sportsbooks have Houston as a 6 point favorite, but the play here is to play the road dogs and take the 6 points. Here is the handicap. Online sportsbooks will likely have a better line as we get closer to game time however monitor your books to avoid getting stuck with 5.5.
Houston is Winning by the Skin of Their Teeth
Don’t look now, but the Houston Texans have won 7 in a row, and are now 7-3 with a 2 game lead in the AFC South. Despite the winning streak, Houston is not getting any of the recognition that teams like the Saints, Rams and Chiefs are getting for similar streaks. 4 of the 7 wins have come by less than one score, and bettors investing in a Texan ticket have only cashed half of their last 6 games. Deshaun Watson has been a solid quarterback, completing 65% of his passes for 260 yards per game and 18 touchdowns, but he has also thrown 9 picks and hasn’t had the highlight reel plays that we saw so often in his rookie year. At the same time, the Texan D has picked up the pace from last year. They rank 6th in total defense and top 10 in all major defensive categories. J.J. Watt is returning to his role as one of the premier defensive players in the league and Jadeveon Clowney is proving to be Watt’s equal. The two have a combined 16½ sacks.
The Texans have become a team that plays solid defense, controls the clock and wins close games. The loss of wide receiver Will Fuller has impacted the Texans ability to stretch the field, and their offensive line can’t protect long enough to give Watson time to throw deep. Lamar Miller is averaging 61 rushing yards per game, and has proven capable to close out games on the ground when the Texans want to run out the clock. Although the Texans did record double digit wins against the Brock Osweiler led Dolphins and the Jaguars, they are not the offensive juggernaut that we were expecting when we came into the season. Houston’s ATS record is only 2-5 as a favorite this year, and they are 1-2 in games they were a favorite by 6 points or more. The role of favorite is one that can be profitable betting against.
Tennessee Thrives as the Underdog
The Titans on the other hand are flourishing in the role of underdog. They have only been the favorite in 2 games and have not covered in either one but their bettors are 6-2 cashing tickets when the Titans are dogs. The Titans have been underdogs of 6 points or more 3 times this year and they have covered all 3 games, and won outright in two of those games.
The Titans came into the season with high expectations for their offense, with Matt LaFleur coming from the Rams to elevate Marcus Mariota’s game to the next level. The season got off to a rocky start when Mariota injured a nerve in week 1. Blain Gabbert filled in but suffered his own injury in week 3. Mariota stepped back in even though he was not 100% and the offense looked shaky. All things started to click in week 7 against the Chargers when Mariota was fully healthy, then they put up 28 and 34 against the Cowboys and Patriots in successive weeks. The running game has also straightened itself out with Dion Lewis establishing himself as the clear first option and Derrick Henry working in short yardage and the goal line. The defense has has played solid all year and now rank number 2 in the league in points allowed. The whole team fell flat last week in Indianapolis, but overall things were trending up for the Titans. Mariota re-injured his elbow, but the expectation is that he will play on Monday night.
Mike Vrabel Will be the Difference
When these teams met in week 2 the Titans were 3½ point home underdogs with Blain Gabbert starting at quarterback. Coach Mike Vrabel was in his second game as head coach since coming over from being Houston’s defensive coordinator in 2017. Vrabel knows the Texan team as well he knows his own team, and in week 2 put in a game plan to take down his old team even with his backup QB. Houston outgained Tennessee by 154 yards, had 6 more first downs, but Tennessee scored a touchdown on a fake punt, and then the Titans scored the final 6 points on 2 4th quarter field goals to win the game in the final minute.
Vrabel has had a very successful season in his inaugural campaign leading the Titans. He has been willing to roll the dice as he showed when he went for the 2 point conversion to beat the Chargers. The try failed, but the team responded with wins in the following weeks against Dallas and Vrabel’s old team New England. Vrabel didn’t have the team ready to face Indy last week after the big Patriot win, but the team plays hard for Vrabel. Look for Tennessee to be back on their game and have some new wrinkles ready for Houston.
The Titans are Live Dogs
The Titans are definitely Live Dogs on Monday night. Take the 6 points and play the Titans.