Houston Texans 2018 NFL Team Preview
2017 Record: 4-12
2017 ATS: 7-9
2017 Over/Under: 7-9
2018 Regular Season Wins Total: 8.5
If it could go wrong, it did for the 2017 Houston Texans. Injuries sabotaged any kind of success with Deshaun Watson, JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus all lost to season-ending injuries. The much-publicized lack of depth within the organization was exposed in a big way. The Texans limped to a 4-12 record and were 2-7 ATS down the stretch without Watson. With Watson under center, the Texans trended over the total (5-1 O/U) and under the total (3-6 O/U) without his services. Defensively, Houston wasn’t a bad as its NFL-worst 27.3 ppg allowed, but it was yet another deficiency in what ended up being a throwaway season.
The outlook is positive in 2018 with Watson and Watt reportedly healthy. Watson is an intriguing quarterback prospect with an amazing knack for making plays. The numbers speak for themselves: 19 touchdowns and 8.3 yards per pass as a rookie. Hoping to avoid a Dak Prescott-like sophomore slump, head coach Bill O’Brien has vowed to stay ahead of the curve with many new facets to the offense. Running back Lamar Miller reported to camp the lightest of his career in hopes of regaining his explosiveness; his longest run in 2017 was only 21 yards. Receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller fit perfectly with Wilson’s ability to keep plays alive and throw the deep ball. What could really hold back this potentially explosive offense is the offensive line. The Texas allowed 54 sacks in 2017 and while changes were made during the offseason, none project as significant upgrades. Keep in mind that Watson is only 23 year olds and like a lot of young quarterbacks, has a habit of committing turnovers and taking sacks when under pressure.
All eyes are on the health of Watt after playing just eight games the last two years. Following the loss of Mercilus and Watt, the defense surrendered 29 ppg the rest of the way. Jadeveon Clowney is in a contract year and Ty Mathieu was an excellent addition. If the stop unit can stay healthy and develop chemistry, there’s a chance we see a return to the 20 ppg allowed days of 2014-16.
I originally had Houston pegged as a potential bet over its season over/under win total. A healthier roster and one of the easiest schedules in the league was a sound starting point. However, the market is well-adjusted with a current number of 8.5 with juice to the over. Last season was a prime example of the risks of a top-heavy, depth shy organization. Even many of the projected starters are lacking talent. In the end, the Texans are once again another injury or two away from falling flat. As mentioned, bettors should keep an eye on the offensive line. It’s easily the weakest unit on the team heading into the season. If the new faces manage to pan out and they perform at a league-average level, there’s real potential for this squad to reach the postseason.
Professional sports bettor Erin Rynning has a proven long term track record of 57% winners in the NFL dating back to 2012. Subscribe to get access to ER’s plays and premium content.