Houston at Denver Odds & Expert Pick
The Monday Night Football games this season have had very little drama and largely been a bore. That should change this Monday as AFC South-leading Houston visits AFC West co-leader Denver. The big story here is the return of Texans QB Brock Osweiler to the Mile High City after leaving in free agency this past offseason. He will be booed heavily. The Broncos are looking to end a two-game losing streak and are favored to on NFL lines.
How to Bet on the Houston at Denver Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info
Why Bet on Houston?
The Texans (4-2) had no right beating the visiting Colts last week but did, 26-23 in overtime. Nick Novak made a 33-yard field goal in overtime as Houston became the first NFL team to rally from a 14-point deficit in the final 3 minutes since the Tim Tebow-led Broncos did it in 2011 against the Dolphins. Osweiler threw a 36-yard pass to Jaelen Strong to get Houston to the 12 and Novak’s field goal came two plays later.
Osweiler shook off a tough start to throw two touchdown passes in less than 2 minutes in the fourth quarter as Houston tied it at 23 with 54 seconds left. Houston running back Lamar Miller had 178 scrimmage yards (149 rushing, 29 receiving) and scored two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving).
The Texans played without good-looking rookie receiver Will Fuller but he’s expected back this week. A first-round draft pick from Notre Dame, Fuller has provided an immediate deep threat with his 4.28 speed in the 40-yard dash and shifty moves after the catch. He’s caught 20 passes for 327 yards and two touchdowns and also returned a punt for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans.
But the Texans have lost 2015 first-round pick and cornerback Kevin Johnson for the season after he was hurt vs. Indy. It’s a big loss. Johnson is a tall, athletic corner with excellent coverage and tackling skills. He was capable of lining up at several positions and played arguably his best game of the season against the Indianapolis Colts during an overtime win in which he had 10 tackles, including nine solos.
As noted, the story of this game is Osweiler. He was being groomed to replace the retired Peyton Manning but rumors are Osweiler was unhappy at being benched in Week 17 last year for Manning and that played a role in Osweiler leaving for Houston. The Texans offered more money, but Denver could have matched.
“I don’t think anybody in this locker room cares that he left,’’ said Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall. “At the same time, it’s competition and we want to shut him down. Just because it’s Brock. We know Brock. He came from here and we just want to kill him. That’s what we want to do.’’
Why Bet on Denver?
The Broncos (4-2) lost last Thursday 21-13 in San Diego, their lowest-scoring game of the season. The five-time defending AFC West champions were mostly sluggish behind Trevor Siemian, who was back at quarterback after rookie Paxton Lynch struggled in a loss to Atlanta the previous week. They lost their second straight game and had their NFL-record 15 straight divisional road victories snapped.
The Chargers opened the game with a 12-play touchdown drive. They followed that with an 18-play field goal drive that took a league-first 10 minutes. Five of the Broncos’ six opponents this season have now scored on their first drive of the game.
Siemian was 30 of 50 for 230 yards, with a 5-yard scoring pass to Bennie Fowler midway through the fourth quarter. The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos were coached by special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis after Gary Kubiak was ordered by doctors to sit a week because of a migraine condition that mimics strokes. Kubiak is back and he’s the offensive play-caller.
Kubiak said he wants to get rookie running Devontae Booker more involved. Booker was well behind C.J. Anderson last Thursday night, but he out-gained him 46-to- 37 on the ground despite seeing half the carries.
Siemian has won four of his first five career starts, including a perfect 2-0 mark at home. Broncos linebacker Von Miller ranks second in the NFL with 7.5 sacks and has recorded 12.5 sacks in his past eight games played (including the postseason). Miller has at least a half-sack in all eight of those games.
My Expert Pick
Broncos are 6-2- 1 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
Texans are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Texans are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 Monday games.
Take the Broncos and the under as Houston has been terrible on the road this year.