2021 Betting Preview: Houston Texans

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2021 Betting Preview: Houston Texans

The Texans had a season from hell in 2020 and it all started when Bill O’Brien traded away DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for 10 cents on the dollar. They then opened the season 0-4 against one of the toughest opening schedules in the league, which earned B.O.B. his pink slip (+1100 first coach fired). Houston’s best passing-game weapon, Will Fuller, and their best passing-game defender, Bradley Roby, were also suspended for the final five games for PED use just when this team started to find a bit of a footing. The Texans ended with a dreadful 4-12 record (6-10 ATS) and they missed the playoffs (-200) for the first time since 2017. Deshaun Watson, whose immediate future is in doubt, was one of the few bright spots as he finished with a league-best 4823 passing yards (+2200).

The Texans allowed the sixth-most points per game (29.0) while scoring the 14th-fewest points per game (24.0), and they finished with an 8-8 totals record. Houston ended with an ugly 2-8 mark in one-score contests and an 0-2 record in games decided by three scores or more, which resulted in the league’s seventh-worst point differential (-80).

Houston’s 2021 win total (4) plummeted by four and a half victories after its disastrous 2020 campaign and an even more disastrous off-season. The Texans fell 4.5 wins shy of their 2020 win total and they locked in their under with their eighth loss of the season to the Colts in Week 13. Entering this season, I have the Texans power rated as the worst team in the NFL (+20000 to win Super Bowl LVI), in the AFC (+10000 to win the conference), and in the AFC South (+2200).

2021 Schedule

Spreads are first-look lines from the SuperBook, which were released in early June.

WeekOpponentSpreadTime
1Jacksonville Jaguars+31
2@Cleveland Browns+13.51
3Carolina Panthers+48:20 (Thurs)
4@Buffalo Bills+141
5New England Patriots+61
6@Indianapolis Colts+11.51
7@Arizona Cardinals+10.54:25
8Los Angeles Rams+8.51
9@Miami Dolphins+7.51
10Bye
11@Tennessee Titans+8.51
12New York Jets+11
13Indianapolis Colts+71
14Seattle Seahawks+71
15@Jacksonville Jaguars+41
16Los Angeles Chargers+4.51
17@San Francisco 49ers+13.54:05
18Tennessee Titans+61

The Good

The Texans don’t have many easy spots on their schedule outside of a pair of matchups against the Jaguars and a home showdown with the Jets in Week 12. The NFL spared the Texans any extra humiliation this season by scheduling them the minimum of one primetime game against the Panthers on TNF in Week 3. The Texans will also have three home games in a row in Weeks 12-14 against the Jets, Colts, and Seahawks.

The Bad

The Texans will face the third-toughest schedule this season based on 2021 win totals (per Sharp Football), which isn’t totally surprising since every team they’ll face this season is better than them. They have a particularly difficult stretch in Weeks 2-6 with matchups against the Browns, Bills, Patriots, and Colts surrounding a TNF contest with the Panthers in Week 3.

Key Off-season Moves

AdditionsDraftDepartures
Tyrod Taylor (QB)Davis Mills (QB)Duke Johnson (RB)
Mark Ingram (RB)Nico Collins (WR)Will Fuller (WR, Mia)
Chris Conley (WR)Brevin Jordan (TE)Darren Fells (TE, Det)
Phillip Lindsay (RB)Zach Fulton (OG, NYG)
Andre Roberts (KR/PR)Nick Martin (C, LV)
Ryan Izzo (TE)Carlos Watkins (DE, Dal)
Marcus Cannon (OT)J.J. Watt (DE, Ari)
Justin McCray (OG)Tyrell Adams (LB, Buf)
Justin Britt (C)Benardrick McKinney (LB, Mia)
Shaq Lawson (DE)A.J. McCarron (QB, Atl)
Maliek Collins (DT)
Kamu Grugier-Hill (LB)
Jordan Jenkins (LB)
Christian Kirksey (LB)
Terrance Mitchell (CB)
Desmond King (CB)
Lane Taylor (OG)
DeMarcus Walker (DE)

2021 Season Odds

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Team FuturesOdds
Season Win Total (O/U)4 (-105/-115)
AFC South+2200
Playoffs (Y/N)+800/-2000
AFC Championship+10000
Super Bowl+20000

Season Prop Movement

  • Win Total: 4.5 (-110) in late March to 4 (+105)

  • Super Bowl: +10000 in early February to +20000

Reasons to Bet Over the Season Win Total

No one is rushing to the window to bet the over on the Texans even with their win total set at a lowly four wins in the NFL’s first 17-game schedule. Houston is +1600 to finish with an 0-17 record and they’re the favorites to finish with the league’s worst regular season record at +200 odds. It’s tough to come up with many reasons to bet on this team other than it’s really difficult for any team to win three or fewer games. This total will also be a little low if Deshaun Watson were to somehow suit up at any point this season, which I would bet against happening but there’s still a remote possibility he plays as the league continues their investigation into his sexual misconduct.

This roster is far from star-studded and they failed to get much better in the draft since they didn’t have a pick until the third round, which they used on quarterback prospect Davis Mills. The Texans did however load up on veteran players on one-year deals this off-season. While none of the signings moved the needle much, they did land some capable players who will help to keep this roster somewhat competitive. One of the players they signed this off-season was QB Tyrod Taylor, who will likely make the most starts for the Texans this season. Taylor isn’t the type of quarterback who can elevate the weapons around him, but he’s a good game manager who can make enough plays to keep the Texans’ offense competitive each week. Taylor owns a 24-21-1 record in 46 career starts for the Bills, Browns, and Chargers and he’ll have Texans’ under bettors sweating early if he’s able to pull out a victory or two early in the season with beatable matchups against the Jaguars and Panthers in the first three weeks of the season.

Reasons to Bet Under the Season Win Total

The Texans raised eyebrows across the league when they used their first pick in the NFL Draft on Stanford QB Mills at No. 67. The selection was yet another signal that Watson likely has played his final snap for the Texans. Houston brought in four quarterbacks this off-season in Mills, Tyrod Taylor, Jeff Driskel, and Ryan Finley, whom they later released. Watson’s legal issues aren’t going away any time soon, which has also made him virtually impossible to trade at this point. Watson’s alleged incidents of sexual misconduct could keep him off the field for some or all of 2021, although the NFL has yet to indicate if he’ll be suspended or placed on the Exempt List. Watson did show up for training camp to avoid being fined by the organization, but his future in Houston is all but non-existent barring a major turn of events. The Texans finished with four wins last season even with Watson playing out of his mind for most of the campaign.

I don’t need to go too in-depth here since everyone already knows that the Texans have the worst roster in the league entering 2021. The Texans had one of the league’s worst defenses in 2020 and they’ll now have an offense that’s nearly its equal in terribleness in 2021. Houston is looking to the future with their current roster and they’re the favorites to Rot for Rattler in next year’s draft. The Texans stuck with mostly one-year deals in free agency with a few two-year deals sprinkled in to keep the books clean for upcoming seasons when their roster is in much better shape to contend. They also hired a 65-year-old, first-time head coach in David Culley to direct the sinking ship for the next couple of years before they’re able to field a competent roster again.

Notable Player Props

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Brandin Cooks: receiving yards (895.5), receiving TDs (4.5)

Fantasy Points Projection: receiving yards (845), receiving TDs (4.5)

  • Best-Case Scenario: Cooks thrives as the team’s clear #1 passing-game option and he sees lots of garbage-time targets with the Texans playing from way behind almost every week.

  • Worst-Case-Scenario: Opposing defenses key on taking Cooks away each week, and he can’t overcome sub-optimal quarterback play from the likes of Tyrod Taylor and rookie Davis Mills.

Brolley’s Bets

Best Bets

No wagers.

Leans

Houston Texans under four wins (+120, FanDuel) — This year’s Texans team is giving me some 2017 Jets’ vibes. New York had a god-awful roster with veteran QB Josh McCown leading the way and they cruised past their absurdly low 3.5 win total with five victories. Tyrod Taylor will play the role of veteran starting quarterback for the 2021 Texans and, while he’s proven to be a below-average option, he’s competent enough to give Houston some chances to pull out victories. The longer he stays in the lineup the better chance the Texans have to go over their win total. The key difference between the 2017 Jets and the 2021 Texans is that Houston has a young quarterback on its roster that it wants to evaluate this season in third-round pick Davis Mills — the Jets already knew Bryce Petty stunk heading into 2017. Taylor will open the season as the starter but Mills will likely be getting game reps by the second half of the season, and I’m not confident a rookie project like Mills can elevate this bottom-of-the-barrel roster. The Texans will be playing in potentially the worst division in football, which will give them more chances to win games, and two of their easiest games come early in the season against the Jags (Week 1) and Panthers (Week 3). This team is still on a mission to be as bad as possible to improve their draft standing in 2022 so I can only look at the Texans to go under their win total.

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.

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