Maybe some of you have adjusted to the "new normal" we are in, you've immersed yourself in binge watching The Tiger King or Season 3 of Ozark, and you haven't really noticed that there are literally NO sports being played right now. It's a strange place, and the withdrawals are felt acutely, in particular, by my people — and by "my people," of course, I mean degenerate gamblers.
No sports means virtually no betting, unless you're into betting on the weather. (Coincidentally, I am taking online night courses in meteorology starting today.) From a football handicapping standpoint, this pandemic and the resulting sports cancellations means there is more time to prepare for the 2020 NFL season (assuming there is one, which, if there's not going to be one, kill me right now).
To that end, the good folks at sportsbetting.ag, have given us spreads on all 16 Texans regular season games! Here they are, with my random thoughts on the back end of this post:
Colts at Texans -1
Jaguars at Texans -9
Titans at Texans -1
Ravens at Texans +5.5
Bengals at Texans -6.5
Packers at Texans PK
Vikings at Texans PK
Patriots at Texans -1.5
Texans at Bears -3.5
Texans at Browns -3.5
Texans at Lions -1
Texans at Chiefs -10.5
Texans at Steelers -4.5
Texans at Colts -4.5
Texans at Jaguars +3
Texans at Titans -4.5
Things can and will change as the season draws closer
Obviously, things will change with the Texans' roster, as there are, no doubt, still some free agency signings that will be made, and there is that little matter of the NFL Draft in three weeks. Neither free agency nor the draft should shift things drastically for the Texans, but you never know. The big variable unaccounted for right now is the placement of these games on the schedule. Which games will be played in prime time? When will the Texans' bye week occur? Which of these games will be played in Week 17, when only about half the games involve both teams putting forth their maximum effort and best lineup? The answers to THOSE questions will have a much greater impact on the accuracy of these spreads than any personnel moves.
The Texans' predicted record, according to these spreads, is not good
The Texans are favored in six games, underdogs in eight games, and a coin flip (PICK EM) in the other two, so a predicted record (according to spreads) of 6-8-2. Essentially, Vegas views them as an 8-8 team right, which is in line with the forecasted season win total by the sports books right now. With the NFL likely adding a seventh team to the playoffs in each conference, 8-8 might be good enough to qualify for the postseason. A Texans team qualifying for the playoffs at 8-8 would be the most Bill O'Brien thing ever.
Holy smokes, that Chiefs game!
Hey, remember when the Texans had a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter of the divisional round of the playoffs against eventual Super Bowl champion, the Kansas City Chiefs? Those were good times, right? Admit it, you were making plans for the AFC title game the next weekend, and maybe even the Super Bowl. Well, we all know what happened next — the Chiefs outscored the Texans 51-7 the rest of the way in that game, and apparently the oddsmakers expect that to continue right into the regular season in 2020. One thing to note — Kansas City is likely to host the Thursday night season opener in Week 1, and there really is no more appetizing matchup on the Chiefs' home schedule than Mahomes vs Watson. Just getting on the record right now — the thought of this terrifies me.
It's very weird seeing the Texans favored over the Patriots
Wow, be thankful that Tom Brady decided to take his talents over to the NFC South and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or the Texans would only be favored in FIVE games next season, instead of six. Yes, the Patriots are a small underdog to the Texans in a game that will be played at NRG Stadium, and this is while having no idea who the starting QB will be for New England. The Patriots as an underdog to the Texans is very weird to see.