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Matchups Week 2: Texans vs. Broncos

Texans vs. Broncos -- Davis Mills

Houston Texans (0-0-1) vs. Denver Broncos (0-1)

Spread: Broncos -10.

Game Total: 43.5

Team Totals: Broncos (26.75), Texans (16.75)

Weather: Outdoors, no significant concerns outside of 90-degree temperatures.

The Line Report

  •         This line opened as Broncos -10, with some Broncos -10.5 options available.
  •         This line has moved down to Broncos -10 with a few Broncos -9.5 options available, as our Chris Farley anticipated.
  •         DraftKings Pick’Em has the Broncos -9.5.
  •         Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Broncos -10.
  •         This total opened at 43.5-points.
  •         This total moved up to 45.5 early in the week, and that’s where it’s currently settled.

Notable Injuries

Broncos: S Justin Simmons (IR), RG Quinn Meinerz (Doubtful), WR KJ Hamler (Questionable), DL DeShawn Williams (Questionable), Edge Randy Gregory (Questionable), LB Josey Jewell (Questionable).

Texans: TE Brevin Jordan (Questionable), DT Maliek Collins (Questionable).

The Broncos Offense vs. the Texans Defense

The Broncos’ biggest weakness on offense is their average, at best, offensive line. Houston does not have a front four that gives them a notable advantage in the trenches.

Notes and Observations

  • The Broncos are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Broncos are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Russell Wilson was 17th in play-action percentage on opening day.
  • Among opening day starters, Wilson was 22nd in air yards per attempt.
  • Keep in mind that Denver running backs saw 15 targets in Seattle, significantly skewing Wilson’s air yards figures (and thus, how aggressive Denver was on offense in the opener).
  • The Texans allowed the fourth most rushing yards and the sixth most receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • Houston allowed the second most receiving yards and the third most receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • The Texans gave up the seventh most PPR points to perimeter receivers and the ninth most PPR points to slot receivers on opening day.
  • Houston allowed the 15th most yards and the tenth most receptions to tight ends last week.
  • Keep in mind that the Texans played through an entire overtime period against the Colts in Week 1. Indianapolis played most of that contest in a negative game script.  

The Texans Offense vs. Broncos Defense

The Broncos have a fringe top-ten front four, led by Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory. The foundation of the Texans’ offensive line is premium left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil allows Houston to help former No. 23 overall pick Tytus Howard as needed. Ultimately, there is no significant trench advantage for either side in this matchup.

The loss of Broncos’ safety Justin Simmons is significant, making the Broncos more of an average secondary than one with top-ten potential. The loss of Simmons doesn’t entirely create an edge for Houston, but it absolutely warrants mentioning.

Notes and Observations

  • The Texans are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Texans are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Davis Mills was 19th in play-action percentage on opening day.
  • Mills was 20th in air yards per attempt in Week 1.
  • The Broncos allowed the eighth fewest rushing yards and the second-fewest receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • Denver gave up the second-fewest receiving yards on the 16th most receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • The Broncos allowed the third most receiving yards to tight ends on the second most receptions on opening day.

Denver is a good defense, but remember that they faced a limited offense in Seattle on opening day.

This is What You’re Betting On in Texans vs. Broncos

A bet on the Broncos is a bet on a talented roster with a new coach and a new quarterback. Russell Wilson lost his homecoming in Seattle last Monday night. While Wilson played well, Denver only scored 16-points against a mediocre Seahawks defense. Nathaniel Hackett has taken some heat for Denver’s time management and late-game decision-making in his first game as an NFL head coach. There is some bounce-back potential for Denver against Houston, but the truth is we don’t yet know who the Russell Wilson-led Broncos really are. If you’re betting on Denver in any fashion, your stance is built on Denver having a better roster and quarterback than Houston. Denver’s high altitude also gives them a unique home-field advantage.

A bet on the Texans is a bet on a Houston roster that has made a habit of overachieving over the last 12 months. Texans quarterback Davis Mills was better than expected as a rookie last season, and his Texans tied the heavily favored Colts on opening day. That brings me to my first concern in betting on Houston in Denver: they played a full overtime game last week. Houston also played “up” on opening day, which means a bet on the Texans here is a bet on them exceeding expectations two weeks in a row after playing a whole overtime period last week.

Texans vs. Broncos Pool Picks

Winner/ Confidence Pool: Denver will be a near-universal pick in standard winner pools. In confidence pools, five two-score home favorites are on this week’s slate. Right now, I’d have Denver in the third or fourth spot in confidence pools.

Spread Pool: I’m going to avoid this game in tournaments, but in ATS pools where you have to pick every game, I lean towards taking the Texans with the points if I can get them at +10 or better.

Survivor: Denver is a reasonable survivor option this week, but I want to see more of the Russell Wilson Broncos before using them in this format. If you’re interested in potential insertion points for Denver in survivor pools, here you go.