Both Houston and Indianapolis have clinched playoff spots, however, the outcome of this game will likely determine which AFC teams get a first round bye in the playoffs. This is assuming the Patriots beat the Dolphins (Pats by 10 points) and the Broncos beat the Chiefs (Broncos by 15.5 points). If that is the case, then if the Colts win this game the Texans get bumped down to the 3rd seed and Denver and New England get the bye. If the Texans win then they get the bye and home field advantage for the playoffs, Denver gets the second bye and New England gets the 3rd seed.
Houston is favored to win this game by 7 points and the over/under is not set at time of writing possibly because Houston’s RB Adrian Foster had to leave last Sunday’s game with an irregular heartbeat. Reports are that tests have cleared him and he will play on Sunday. Also, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano will return to the team this week after an absence for leukemia treatments since October 1st. Some have wondered how much the Colt’s starters will play this weekend because they have clinched a wild card spot and a loss will not change that. However, Pagano has announced that he will not rest his starters this weekend against the Texans.
Two weeks ago the Texans beat the Colts 29-17 in Houston. The Texans blanked the Colts in that game beating them in passing and rushing yards while also keeping the Colts scoreless in the 1st and 4th quarters. In that game Houston was favored by 10 points and the over/under was 47.5 points.
On the road the Texans are 6-1 and at home the Colts are 6-1. On the road the Texans score an average of 23.7 points a game; they allow an average of 19.7 points. At home the Colts score an average of 22.4 points; they allow an average of 19.7 points. Those numbers suggest a close game and Indianapolis has beat some top teams at home this season such as Green Bay and Minnesota (Houston has lost to both these teams. On the season, Houston averages 26.2 points score and 20.2 points allowed. On the season Indianapolis averages 21.9 points scored and 24.7 points allowed.
Probably the averages on the road/at home are more accurate than the season averages. Indianapolis will struggle to contain the Houston run game if RB Foster is at 100% as Indianapolis has been significantly weaker against the run this season and Houston has a better run game to begin with. Running games are slightly easier to get going when on the road because they are less reliant on hearing QB audibles therefore Houston still has the edge.
Probably picking Houston is the best decision in this game. However, picking a game total will be slightly less certain but we can comfortably say the game should stay between 45 and 50 points. At home the Colts have tended towards lower total scores on average so lean towards the 45 point mark. As for the point spread that is the trickiest bet in this game. Last time the spread was 10 points and Houston covered at home but this time at 7 points on the road might be the upper limit of the spread. Season averages predict a slightly closer game than 7 points in Indianapolis.
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