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After winning their first game under interim coach Romeo Crennel, the Houston Texans got back to their losing ways last week, falling victim to the Tennessee Titans in overtime. Houston was well-positioned to win the game, leading 36-29 in the final two minutes, only to allow a late touchdown and another touchdown in overtime. At 1-5, the season is all but over for the Texans, especially with two teams in the AFC South looking like playoff contenders. Houston would more or less have to win out to make a playoff push, which seems unlikely with half of their 10 remaining games against teams with a winning record. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Texans (+1100) should have a tough time making the playoffs and they're long shots to win the AFC South (+5000).
The silver lining of the last two weeks was that Deshaun Watson and the Houston offense seem to have found a groove. Watson has been sacked just three times in the last two games after taking 16 sacks in Houston’s first four games of the season. That has made all the difference for a team with a top-flight quarterback and plenty of talented skill players. Even with all of the sacks, the Texans are among the top-five teams in the NFL in passing yards and look capable of scoring 30-plus points virtually every week. They just have to continue to protect Watson.
Of course, the Houston defense hasn’t shown any signs of improvement this season. Giving up 14 points to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Week 5 win appears to be an aberration more so than a sign of things to come. The Texans have conceded at least 28 points in every other game this season. Last week, the Houston defense was shredded on the ground by Derrick Henry in what has become a common theme this year. The Texans have been dreadful against the run all season. Until that improves, Houston’s only chance will be to out-score teams in shootouts.
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The Green Bay Packers visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week and were served a big slice of humble pie. The previously undefeated Packers took a quick 10-0 lead only to watch things fall apart in a 38-10 loss. The good news is that it was Green Bay’s first setback of the season. However, it dropped the Packers 0.5-games behind the Chicago Bears in the NFC North. It’s clear that Green Bay isn’t going to be able to coast to a division title, making it important that they get back on track quickly, even as they hit the road for a second-straight week. Green Bay (-220) is favored to win the division with Chicago (+210) trailing, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
Until last week, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense had looked close to unstoppable. The Packers looked unprepared for the Buccaneers' pass rush and received little from Aaron Jones, who had been having a career year. Of course, one bad game isn’t a reason for the Green Bay offense to panic. Rodgers has only taken seven sacks in five games and isn’t going to have many two-interception games like he had last week. As long as they can get Jones going, the Green Bay offense should be back on track soon. Rodgers (+650) ranks third in MVP chances behind Patrick Mahomes (+400) and Russell Wilson (-125), per FanDuel Sportsbook.
Meanwhile, there's less confidence in the Green Bay defense, especially after giving up 158 rushing yards to Ronald Jones and Tampa last week. Despite being 4-1, the Packers have conceded at least 21 points in all but one game this season. They’ve only forced three turnovers in five games and don’t have much of a pass rush outside of Za’Darius Smith. The Green Bay defense has struggled against the run at times and if Smith isn’t getting to the quarterback, the secondary can also be vulnerable, which has required the Packers to score a lot of points to win games. Regardless, the Packers (+500) have the second-best chances of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl and have the fourth-best chances of winning the Super Bowl (+1100), per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Fans should get ready for a lot of points to be scored between the Packers and Texans this week. As 3.5-point road favorites, the expectation is that Green Bay will find a way to finish with more points. However, if the Packers' pass rush can’t take advantage of a leaky Texans' offensive line, Watson is more than capable of matching Rodgers in a shootout, especially since Houston has better receiving threats.
Green Bay (-190) is favored by 3.5 point over Houston (+160) with the over/under set at 56 total points.