As we’ve made our way through the AFC win totals, it’s been obvious the books have been conservative, even on the best teams. You can throw all that out the window when it comes to the Houston Texans.
BetDSI Sportsbook has the party hat on, is tossing confetti and blowing a black and red kazoo because they are feeling the Texans in Deshaun Watson’s second season and here are the odds to prove it.
Houston Texans 2018-19 Regular Season Win Total
Over 9 (-115)
Under 9 (-115)
This is a team that finished 4-12 last season and getting +/-9 wins should be a license to print money, but such is the excitement that Watson brought to the field in his short stint as its starter.
Watson went just 3-3 before he got hurt, but completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,699 yards, 19 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He rushed for 269 yards and a couple of touchdowns too. When he was under center, the offense was all but unstoppable.
Still, there are plenty of good offensive players on teams that the books aren’t giving nine wins. What makes Houston worth the risk?
Deshaun Watson didn't even play a full season, and still led the NFL in touchdown passes off play action! pic.twitter.com/DGcEJPb0LN
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 8, 2018
Well, barring any unforseen developments, the Texans should have their full defense on the field for the first time in two seasons. J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus are both returning from season-ending injuries. Romeo Crennel has taken back over as defensive coordinator. Two years ago Crennel ran the top-ranked defense in the league and that was without Watt.
Houston didn’t really add anyone that’s slated to play significant time in the draft because this team was already loaded with talent. Which just shows what a piss poor job Bill O’Brien has been doing as its head coach for the last few years.
On offense, Watson has plenty of weapons around him. The Texans have a deep backfield with Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman both capable of starting in the NFL. DeAndre Hopkins has established himself as one of the league’s best wideouts and Will Fuller is a terrific deep threat. They don’t have a lot of NFL bodies behind those guys, though, and their tight end corps is a Who’s Who of Who’s That.
QB Deshaun Watson and DE J.J. Watt are "right on schedule" in their rehab from injury.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) May 15, 2018
As always, when looking at the totals, the most important factor involved is the schedule. Houston has a rough one to open the season, literally playing the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots on opening weekend. After that the play the Tennessee Titans, before hosting the New York Giants, then traveling to Indianapolis to face a healthy Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Writing about these AFC South teams, Luck’s health and presence is just lurking out there in the dark like Jaws. If he’s 100 percent, everything changes and that ominous yellow barrel turns into a shark downing Quint like a throat lozenge. I can’t see the Texans starting the season any better than 2-2. Let’s say they split with every AFC South team, something that’s entirely possible. That means they’ll need seven other wins to meet the over here.
I could see them coming into their Dec. 23 game against the Philadelphia Eagles at 8-6 or 9-5. Can they pick up that last win (or wins) against Philly or the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17? This is why it’s called a wager.
Houston has never finished better than 9-7 under O’Brien and, frankly, that’s what it looks like this year too. If I really wanted to roll the dice, I’d bet the under.
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