Houston at Tennessee Spread, Betting Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Thursday,December 29, 2016 9:43, EST in

The Houston Texans were able to clinch the AFC South Division for the season year in a row in Week 16 thanks to their win and the Tennessee Titans’ upset loss. So the Texans will host a wild-card game next weekend. Thus there’s little for them to play for on Sunday. Ditto the Titans, who will miss the playoffs yet again but at least have the motivation to finish with a winning record. They are slight home favorites on NFL odds.

Houston at Tennessee Spread, Betting Pick & TV Info

When: Sunday, Jan. 1, 1 PM ET
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville
TV: CBS
Radio: Houston / Tennessee
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Titans -3 (40)

Why Bet on Houston?

Locked into the AFC’s No. 4 seed, ESPN’s FPI gives the Texans a 55 percent chance of hosting the Chiefs for the second straight year in the playoffs, and a 27 percent of hosting the Raiders. The 9-6 Texans have scored the fewest touchdowns (23) by an NFL team this season. The next lowest potential playoff team: Lions with 30.

The Texans beat Cincinnati 12-10 last Saturday in Tom Savage’s first start at quarterback for the demoted Brock Osweiler. Savage threw for 176 yards. A 24-yard touchdown run by Alfred Blue put the Texans back on top with about 9 minutes left, but the extra point was blocked to leave Houston up 12-10. That score was set up by a 21-yard reception by DeAndre Hopkins. Running back Lamar Miller missed his first game this season because of an ankle injury and Blue had 73 yards rushing in his place. The Bengals converted a fourth down play to keep a drive alive late in the fourth quarter, but four plays later, former Texan Randy Bullock’s 43-yard attempt sailed wide right as time expired to secure Houston’s win.

So what will Houston coach Bill O’Brien do with his starters in this one? O’Brien said the team will “play to win” in Week 17 and that Savage remans his starter.

“We’re not even talking about [resting starters],” O’Brien said. “We’re playing to win. We’ve got a chance to win 10 games. I think every game counts. I don’t really care what — you know, I think any time you line up in this league, I think it’s really just out of respect for the National Football League and football in general. You play to win.”

Although Savage hardly tore up the Bengals in last Saturday night’s win, he continued to show a willingness to challenge against man coverage and avoided turnovers. Meanwhile, guys like Hopkins, Will Fuller and most of the offense should play at least the first half against Tennessee, but Miller is a more interesting case with his injury. Miller (ankle) said he is “not sure” if he will play Week 17.

Why Bet on Tennessee?

Had they won in Jacksonville on Christmas Eve, the Titans would be playing for the AFC South title Sunday at Nissan Stadium against the Texans. Now they are playing for a 9-7 record, which would be their first winning mark since 2011.

The Titans will have a different look than the team the Texans faced in Week 4 when Houston won 27-20. The Titans will start quarterback Matt Cassel after Marcus Mariota broke his leg on Saturday against Jacksonville. The Cowboys and Bills were 2-6 in Cassel’s eight starts in 2015. Mariota will need 4-5 months to recover. Mariota will almost certainly miss the Titans' entire offseason program, but he should be ready to go for training camp. Alex Tanney has been promoted from the practice squad to serve as Cassel’s backup for the season finale.

“[Mariota is] a different quarterback than Matt,” O’Brien said. “Marcus is a guy that has tremendous speed. Obviously, he can throw the ball. So we’ll have to really study some of the things that they’ve done with Matt, whether it was Jacksonville or in the preseason or during this season, and see how we want to try and defend that.”

Running back DeMarco Murray has 1,266 yards on 282 carries with nine touchdowns, plus 52 catches for 379 yards and three scores. He’s a tough, aggressive back. He had 25 carries for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the October loss at NRG Stadium. The Titans’ running game is ranked third in the NFL, averaging 138.9 yards per game. The Texans have had success stopping the run, especially later in the season.

“I’d say we’re going status quo, we’re going to go with our workhorse. Based on how we play personnel wise, Derrick, we like it, it’s been good the last few weeks, we’d like to keep it in that same rotation,” said Titans coach Mike Mularkey on expected workloads for Murray and rookie Derrick Henry in Week 17.

Titans RCB Jason McCourty (chest, shoulder) is hoping to practice by the end of the week. His goal is to suit up for Sunday’s season finale against Houston. McCourty hasn’t played or practiced since getting hurt on the first play of Week 15.

Houston at Tennessee Betting Pick: Tennessee Titans

Favorite is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
Under is 7-2 in Titans last 9 vs. a team with a winning record.

Go Titans and under on NFL odds.