Chicago vs Houston Week 1 Expert Picks & Odds
The Brock Osweiler Era gets underway in Week 1 for the Houston Texans as the former Denver Broncos quarterback will make his Texans debut — unless, of course, he gets hurt or something in training camp. The opponent is the Chicago Bears. Houston is a 5.5-point favorite on NFL lines.
How To Bet on the Bears at Texans Week 1 Expert Picks & Odds & TV Info
When: Sunday, Sept. 11, 1 PM ET
Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston
Radio: Chicago / Houston
Opening NFL Lines: Texans -5.5 (44)
Why Bet on Chicago?
Could Jay Cutler be due a big season for the Bears even though the team lost highly respected offensive coordinator Adam Gase this offseason? He’s the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins. But in every year Cutler has been a starter in the NFL, his second year under a new coordinator or scheme has also been statistically better than the previous. His first year as a starter in the NFL came in 2007 under Mike Shanahan’s Broncos. That year, Cutler went 7-9 as a starter and threw for 3,497 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The next year he improved all his totals: An 8-8 record, 4,526 yards, 25 touchdowns, 18 interceptions and one Pro Bowl nomination. At the beginning of the Marc Trestman era in Chicago, Cutler put up 19 touchdowns in 11 games. In 2014 he threw 28 touchdowns in 15 games.
But coming off one of his best seasons in Chicago, there is a lot of speculation on just how effective Cutler can be without Gase. With Gase making the calls in 2015, Cutler completed 311 passes on 483 attempts, racking up 3,659 yards through the air in the process. His receivers found the end zone 21 times and Cutler only threw 11 interceptions. He also was able to run up a QB rating of 92.3, the best he has had while playing in the Windy City.
The Bears allowed productive skill players Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett to exit this offseason. Forte is the second-most productive tailback in Bears’ franchise history. And Bennett is only one season removed from catching a career-high 90 balls.
Why Bet on Houston?
Osweiler surprised many by leaving Denver, where he had been groomed as Peyton Manning’s replacement, for Houston. Coach Bill O’Brien put Osweiler at the top of his list of possible free agents. He and GM Rick Smith agreed on Osweiler’s potential to become the team’s franchise quarterback. Osweiler was 5-2 as a starter last season, so Smith and O’Brien had a lot of tape to watch, including preseason games and practices against the Broncos in 2014. To get Osweiler would cost a lot of money. Ultimately, it took $72 million over four years, including $37 million guaranteed.
The Texans also added a very good running back in former Dolphin Lamar Miller. Less than a week after releasing veteran Arian Foster, the Texans found their workhorse in Miller who piled up 1,971 yards at a healthy 4.8 yards per clip over the past two seasons. Entering his fifth year, Miller has plenty left on the tires after being underused for much of his time in Miami.
“(Miller) tore us up,” Texans owner Bob McNair said. “He’s got the tremendous speed we were looking for. He’s a good receiver, too.”
Now Houston has a potentially strong trio of Osweiler, Miller and top receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins had 11 receiving touchdowns, a franchise record, and did it with four different starting quarterbacks last year.
My Expert Pick
The Texans are simply better across the board not to mention home. Take them and under.