Houston Has A Problem? Wise Guys Not Bailing Yet

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 18, 2013



By Sean O'Neill
Cold, Hard Football Facts Vegas Insider (@sean_oneill)

Let's play Name That Team!

There's a franchise in the NFL that has outgained the opposition in all six games this season, winning that battle by an average of 445-253 yards per game.  

They also gain more first downs than the hapless opponents every time they take the field, moving the chains an average of 24 times to 15 per game. 

The mystery team also wins the time of possession battle every week by an average of seven minutes and gives up only 4.7 yards per play, third best in the league.

With those numbers, you would think that this team would not only be steaming towards the playoffs, but also cashing tickets at the counter every week. But in reality, this team's starting quarterback just got cheered by his own fans after leaving injured last week, his backup threw a pick-six on his first possession in relief, and the team has lost four games in a row.

Yup, it's the Houston Texans. They started the season as one of the Super Bowl favorites at 12/1. Now they're 60/1 outsiders to hoist Lombardi, 30/1 to win the AFC, +350 to win the division, and the only team that hasn't covered a spread, with an ATS record of 0-6. 

Houston is No. 1 in the NFL in Total Team Yards Differential, which takes into account yards on offense, defensive yards after turnovers and special teams. Using this metric, Houston is 109 and 269 yards ahead of Seattle (before the Thursday Seattle-Arizona game) and Denver, who are ranked second and third, respectively.

The Texans are dominating the territorial battle better than any team in the league, but poor situational football is what has them at 2-4 and 0-6 ATS.

They are No. 32 on the Cold, Hard Football Facts Intelligence Index because of this extremely poor play in situational football.

Along with Houston, the Giants and Steelers are the teams that have been bailing out the books this year. The public jumped on the Texans last year and rode them to an over on the win total and AFC South division wins. 

"And to be honest that faith in them definitely spread into this season too," said Russ Candler, oddsmaker at online book Youwin.com. "The only game I can remember where they were relatively friendless with us was the home game to Seattle a few weeks ago. That being said, they have been the 'bookie's pal' for the entire season -- not only killing all spread action but money line buyers and teaser thieves have had their fingers burnt too."

One of Houston's friends in the game against Seattle was a wise guy. Professional handicapper Ben Burns said in an email that he's "still a little annoyed with them after they blew the cover vs. the Seahawks," after Matt Schaub's boneheaded interception to Seattle's Richard Sherman.

The Texans outgained the Seahawks 476-270 three weeks ago, averaging 5.4 yards per play, but gave up three turnovers. Which stat is more important when handicapping a game?

"While I certainly consider both," Burns said, "for me personally, the yards per play/game and the opponents yards per play/game carries more weight. It's not that turnovers aren't extremely important, I've just always found them to be fairly unpredictable."

The Texans move the ball and turn it ball over as much as in abundance. But with Burns' belief that turnovers are random, this will lead to opportunities when Houston is undervalued by oddsmakers. 

"Turnovers often tend to even out," said Burns. "I believe the Texans will improve in that area. Once they do, there should be some solid opportunities to back them."

The undefeated Chiefs battle the Texans this week at Arrowhead. The game opened as low as 4.5 at the Las Vegas Hotel, and the line has settled at 6.5, with the public expecting Kansas City to go to 7-0 and put Houston further behind the eight ball.

Candler says that the action is pretty quiet at his shop, with money being laid on the Texans money line at +260. And Burns doesn't quite see the doom that Joe Public does.

"While they have a tough matchup against the undefeated Chiefs this week, I expect them to be competitive," said Burns. "If they can pull off the upset there, they're right back in it. Even if they don't they still wouldn't be quite dead yet.

"While it could obviously go either way, given their talent and upcoming schedule, I'd say it's far too early to write them off just yet."

 

Week 7 lines

All records are ATS. The line in bold is the current consensus line at VegasInsider.com. The other line was released by Cantor Gaming in May when it put out lines for every game of the season up to Week 16. The lines are for comparison purposes to see what the books thought of these games in May.

Seattle -6.5, -6 (4-2) at Arizona (4-2)

Tampa Bay (1-4) at Atlanta -7, -6 (1-4)

Cincinnati (3-2-1) at Detroit -3, -1.5 (4-2)

Houston (0-6) at Kansas City -6.5, +2.5 (5-1)

Buffalo (4-2) at Miami -8, -4 (3-2)

New England -4, -4 (3-3) at NY Jets (4-2)

Dallas (5-1) at Philadelphia -3, PICK (3-3)

Chicago (1-4-1) at Washington -1, -1.5 (1-4)

St. Louis (2-4) at Carolina -6, -3.5 (2-3)

San Diego -7.5, -3.5 (4-1-1) at Jacksonville (1-5)

San Francisco -4, -7 (4-2) at Tennessee (4-1-1)

Baltimore (3-3) at Pittsburgh -2, -1.5 (1-4)

Cleveland (3-3) at Green Bay -10, -7.5 (2-3)

Denver -6.5, -3.5 (3-3) at Indianapolis (3-3)

Minnesota (3-2) at NY Giants -3, -3 (1-5)

Byes: New Orleans, Oakland

Current future odds. The number in bold is the current price and the second number is the odds at the start of last week. The rest of the numbers go chronologically back to Week 1. Lines are for comparison purposes to see where the value was. All odds are courtesy of the Las Vegas Hotel. 

 

Super Bowl

Denver: +200, +200, +200, +300, +500, +450, +500

New Orleans: +450, +450, +700, +1000, +1200, +1400, +1800

Seattle: +450, +450, +400, +350, +450, +600, +600

San Francisco: +700, +800, +1000, +1000, +600, +600, +600

New England: +700, +1000, +800, +800, +1000, +800, +1000

Green Bay: +1200, +1200, +1400, +1200, +800, +1000, +900

Cincinnati: +2000, +2000, +2500, +1400, +1800, +2000, +2500

Indianapolis: +2000, +1500, +2500, +3000, +6000, +4000, +3000

Kansas City: +2000, +2000, +2500, +2000, +2500, +4000,+5000

Dallas: +3000, +4000, +3000, +2000, +4000, +2500, +2000

Baltimore: +4000, +3500, +4000, +2500, +3000, +3000, +3000

Chicago: +4000, +4000, +2500, +1200, +2000, +2000, +2500

Detroit: +5000, +6000, +3000, +5000, +5000, +3000, +4000

Houston: +6000, +4000, +2500, +2000, +1000, +1000, +1200

Miami: +6000, +6000, +4000, +2500, +2000, +3000, +4000

Philadelphia: +8000, +8000, +10000, +10000, +5000, +2500, +6000

Carolina: +10000, +10000, +7500, +10000, +10000, +5000, +4000

Pittsburgh: +10000, +20000, +15000, +10000, +7500, +5000, +2000

San Diego: +10000, +10000, +7500, +10000, +6000, +6000, +6000

Atlanta: +20000, +8000, +4000, +3000, +1600, +1800, +1600

Cleveland: +20000, +8000, +10000, +20000, +20000, +10000, +6000

NY Jets: +20000, +10000, +15000, +7500, +10000, +8000, +7000

St. Louis: +20000, +30000, +30000, +20000, +10000, +5000, +5000

Tennessee: +20000, +10000, +5000, +5000, +6000, +10000, +10000

Washington: +20000, +8000, +6000, +10000, +5000, +4000, +3000

Arizona: +30000, +10000, +15000, +20000, +10000, +10000, +10000

Buffalo: +100000, +100000, +15000, +20000, +10000, +20000, +10000

Minnesota: +100000, +20000, +15000, +30000, +20000, +10000, +5000

Oakland: +100000, +50000, +200000, +100000, +20000, +30000, +50000

NY Giants: +100000, +100000, +15000, +10000, +4000, +4000, +2500

Tampa Bay: +200000, +100000, +50000, +30000, +20000, +10000, +6000

Jacksonville: +999900, +999900, +999900, +999900, +200000, +100000, +50000

 

NFC 

New Orleans: +200, +200, +300, +450, +600, +800, +1000

Seattle: +200, +225, +175, +175, +225, +300, +350

San Francisco: +300, +350, +450, +450, +300, +300, +350

Green Bay: +500, +500, +600, +550, +400, +550, +500

Dallas: +1300, +1800, +1000, +2200, +1300, +1100

Chicago: +1800, +1800, +1100, +550, +1100, +1100, +1300

Detroit: +2300, +2500, +1400, +2500, +2700, +1600, +2000

Philadelphia: +3500, +3500, +5000, +5000, +2700, +1300, +3000

Carolina: +4500, +5000, +3700, +5000, +5500, +2800, +2000

Atlanta: +9000, +3500, +1800, +1500, +900, +1000, +900

St. Louis: +9000, +15000, +15000, +10000, +5500, +2800, +2500

Washington: +9000, +3500, +3000, +5000, +2700, +2200, +1500

Arizona: +13000, +5000, +7500, +10000, +5500, +5500, +5000

Minnesota: +45000, +10000, +7500, +15000, +11000, +5500, +3000

NY Giants: +45000, +50000, +7500, +5000, +2000, +2200, +1300

Tampa Bay: +90000, +50000, +25000, +15000, +11000, +5500, +3500

 

AFC

Denver: -150, -150, -140, +130, +200, +160, +180

New England: +300, +450, +350, +450, +400, +300, +350

Cincinnati: +900, +900, +1200, +600, +700, +800, +1100

Indianapolis: +900, +700, +1200, +1300, +2500, +1800, +1300

Kansas City: +900, +900, +1200, +1000, +1100, +1800, +2300

Baltimore: +1800, +1700, +2000, +1000, +1300, +1800, +1300

Houston: +3000, +2000, +1200, +900, +400, +400, +450

Miami: +3000, +3000, +2000, +1000, +800, +1300, +1800

Pittsburgh: +5000, +10000, +7500, +4500, +3000, +2300, +900

San Diego: +5000, +5000, +3700, +4500, +2500, +4000, +2800

Cleveland: +10000, +4000, +5000, +9000, +8000, +4000, +2800

Tennessee: +10000, +5000, +2500, +2300, +2500, +4000, +4500

NY Jets: +10000, +5000, +7500, +3000, +4000, +3000, +3500

Oakland: +50000, +25000, +100000, +45000, +8000, +12000, +12500

Buffalo: +50000, +50000, +7500, +9000, +4000, +8000, +4500

Jacksonville: +500000, +500000, +500000, +450000, +80000, +30000, +12500

 

NFC East

Dallas: -110, EVEN, -130, +160, +220, +200

Philadelphia: -110, +350, +350, +240, +220, +225

Washington: +1000, +250, +450, +350, +275, +425

NY Giants: +5000, +600, +450, +300, +275, +220

 

NFC North

Green Bay: -175, -110, +110, -175, -140, -180

Chicago: +280, +180, +110, +190, +225, +350

Detroit: +300, +300, +450, +700, +400, +450

Minnesota: +8000, +3500, +4000, +2000, +1500, +900

 

NFC South

New Orleans: -2000, -600, -200, -140, +100, +180

Carolina: +600, +600, +600, +800, +600, +450

Atlanta: +1500, +600, +225, +150, +125, +120

Tampa Bay: +20000, +10000, +3000, +1500, +800, +550

 

NFC West

Seattle: -250, -400, -400, -150, +100, +110

San Francisco: +150, +225, +250, +125, +100, +100

Arizona: +5000, +3000, +5000, +2000, +3500, +2500

St. Louis: +5000, +6000, +2000, +1500, +700, +700

 

AFC East

New England: -1000, -600, -300, -300, -400, -350

Miami: +450, +350, +240, +240, +300, +325

NY Jets: +2000, +3000, +1200, +2000, +1400, +1400

Buffalo: +5000, +2000, +3000, +1500, +2500, +1500

 

 

AFC North

Cincinnati: -200, -110, -150, -125, +120, +160

Baltimore: +225, +150, +150, +180, +225, +250

Cleveland: +700, +450, +1200, +1500, +800, +1000

Pittsburgh: +1800, +1800, +1200, +450, +250, +160

 

AFC South

Indianapolis: -250, +110, +225, +400, +250, +225

Houston: +350, +110, -160, -300, -250, -250

Tennessee: +350, +400, +325, +400, +600, +1000

Jacksonville: +200000, +100000, +50000, +30000, +10000, +3000

 

AFC West

Denver: -700, -800, -700, -600, -700, -425

Kansas City: +300, +350, +325, +350, +375, +400

San Diego: +3000, +2000, +2500, +1500, +2000, +900

Oakland: +30000, +30000, +15000, +5000, +5000, +3000


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