2022 Houston Texans betting preview

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While the division-rival Jaguars have had the first pick in the last two drafts, this is the second year in a row where the Texans come in with the worst rating in the NFL before Week 1. Their bottom win total suggests a power rating of 26/100, making them worse than the first team we discussed in our offseason analysis of all 32.

Houston's on its fourth head coach since the pandemic started, with the most recent variant being Lovie Smith. David Culley somehow managed four wins in 2021 with the worst roster in the league, but instead of that being good enough for a second season, the Texans decided it was a good idea to pull Smith off the heap of recycled NFL coaches.

The market certainly doesn't care for Smith, perhaps because he's 36 games under .500 in his last two head-coaching stops - the Buccaneers and Illinois.

2022 season odds

Market  Odds
Win total 4.5 (-110/-110)
Division +2500
Conference +8000
Super Bowl +17500

The Texans' odds for the conference - and Super Bowl - might as well have a few more zeros added to the end because they don't matter. It's not happening. Even an uninspiring AFC South isn't enough to make the Texans much shorter than 25-1 to win their division. The only market worth considering for a bet is the win total.

Schedule outlook

Week Opponent Lookahead line
1 IND +8
2 @DEN +10.5
3 @CHI +3
4 LAC +8
5 @JAX +3.5
7 @LV +8
8 TEN +5.5
9 PHI +5.5
10 @NYG +3
11 WSH +3
12 @MIA +7
13 CLE N/A
14 @DAL +8
15 KC +10
16 @TEN +8
17 JAX PK
18 @IND +10

While there's no lookahead line for a Week 13 matchup with the Browns, I would have to be taking the snaps under center for Cleveland in that game for it not to be favored. Otherwise, the closest the Texans will get to being favorites is a January matchup at home against the Jags.

SWOT analysis

Strengths

Admittedly, when dealing with the Texans - particularly their roster - you have to think theoretically. In theory, the Texans' offensive line should be above-average. Last year, Laremy Tunsil was lost for the season in October after thumb surgery. Given how much capital they spent on securing a top-end left tackle, no team would be able to survive a loss like that.

The Texans have fourth-year starter and former first-round pick Tytus Howard slotted on the right side after playing well at both guard and tackle spots last year. Justin Britt is a veteran center, and the Texans prudently used a first-round pick on guard Kenyon Green.

Weaknesses

If there's a story of hope for the offensive line, there's little elsewhere on the Texans' roster. The offensive skill positions peak at Brandin Cooks, above a series of journeymen pass-catchers and tailbacks.

Their top pick, Derek Stingley, might be so good no opponent ever throws at him. Unfortunately, that means quarterbacks will just throw toward other matchups - almost any of which would be bad for Houston.

Opportunities

From a betting standpoint, there'll be chances to bet on the Texans. Since they're rated as the worst team in the league, it will be challenging for them to disappoint and much easier for them to pleasantly surprise on a game-to-game basis. They will sometimes get more points than they should - particularly across key numbers.

Specifically, the opportunity for success stems from Davis Mills getting more time to throw behind a healthy offensive line - which didn't exist for him last year. The formerly high-touted, prep-school star got an early chance to play last season and showed flashes of the quarterback many thought he could be when he signed with Stanford as a top recruit. In the five games he started after replacing Tyrod Taylor late, he threw nine touchdowns to just two interceptions and was sacked less than twice per game.

Threats

Injuries, general coaching incompetence, and the perils of a roster devoid of high-end talent could threaten the Texans' season. When expectations are so low, the threats are obvious and redundant to identify.

How to bet the Texans

The best bet during Texans games last year might be the same play to make this season. Davis Mills overs (attempts, completions, yards) allowed bettors to take advantage of short totals set on low expectations. Depending on what number you got in Week 14, Mills finished either 6-3 or 7-2 to the over on his passing yard totals.

He'll be throwing deep into games, keeping the Texans in touch as a point-spread bet - particularly in the division. However, asking Houston to win more games than last year after such a lame head-coaching hire isn't appealing, even with such a low total.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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2022 Houston Texans betting preview
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