Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans (-1)
Sat., 1/5, 4:35 p.m. ET
Three things to know before betting on Colts-Texans:
1. The NFL playoffs kick off on Saturday afternoon with the lone intra-divisional game of the Wild Card Round as the Colts take on the Texans in Houston. Each of the regular-season matchups between the teams resulted in the road team prevailing by three points. Houston ended a season-opening three-game losing streak with a 37-34 overtime victory as a one-point favorite in Week 4. That would turn out to be the first of nine consecutive wins for Houston, which didn’t lose its fourth game of the season until a 24-21 defeat as a four-point favorite against Indianapolis in Week 14. While the Colts narrowly edged the Texans in the yards-per-play department (5.8 to 5.5) in the teams’ September meeting, Indianapolis averaged 6.6 yards per play while holding Houston to 4.6 YPP in the more recent meeting.
2. Since these teams met in Week 14, the Colts have won all three of their games with a 28-27 home victory as a double-digit favorite against the Giants sandwiched between convincing double-digit wins at home against playoff-bound Dallas and on the road to clinch a playoff berth over Tennessee. Houston ended its season with victories against a pair of last-place teams (Jets and Jaguars) sandwiched around a loss at Philadelphia. Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles racked up a franchise-record 471 passing yards, marking the third time in a four-game stretch that Houston allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for more than 395 yards. One of those QBs was the Colts’ Andrew Luck, whose 399 yards was his second-highest output of the season, trailing only the career-high 464 yards for which he threw in his first 2018 meeting with the Texans.
3. The most drastic difference between these teams lies in their abilities to protect their respective quarterbacks. The Colts were the only NFL team to allow fewer than 20 sacks during the regular season, and their opposing sack rate of 2.72% was the league’s best mark. Houston, meanwhile, was the only NFL team to allow more than 60 sacks, and the Texans’ opposing sack rate of 10.92% ranked last in the league. Houston’s pass protection has been even worse in recent weeks, as the Texans have allowed an average of 5.3 sacks per game with an opposing sack rate of 13.45% over the team’s past three games. Indianapolis sacked Houston’s Deshaun Watson 12 times in the teams’ two meetings this season.
Pick: Colts +1
Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)