Thursday Night Football – Week 3 – Houston Texans at New England Patriots – Preview and Betting Prediction
Bettors and fans alike have an excellent one to watch this Thursday as two undefeated teams will face off at Gillette Stadium. These two teams played each other last season on Dec. 13, 2015, a game New England won 27-6. However, both rosters today are quite different than the matchup a year ago.
The odds opened with Houston as a -2 favorite, but currently, the odds at BetOnline is a pk with the Texans at pk (-115) and New England pk (-105). Betting action has been split for the most part, but more wagers are coming in on Houston as we get closer to game time.
The total opened at 41 points. About 55 percent of bets have come in on the over. At BetOnline, the current odds are Over 41 (-107) and Under 41 (-113). Every online sportsbook has the total at 40.5 or 41 points.
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With Tom Brady suspended until Week 5, New England already knew they were going to use their backup quarterback for the first few weeks. Jimmy Garoppolo has been better most thought but suffered sprained AC joint after a hard hit from Dolphins linebacker, Kiko Alonso.
“Jimmy G” was on fire before his injury, throwing a touchdown pass in the Patriots’ first three drives of the game. However, despite a 24-3 halftime lead, this game came down to the final drive of the game. After an interception to end a comeback attempt from Miami, the Patriots prevailed 31-24.
Early reports almost confirmed that Garoppolo would miss Thursday’s contest, but it appears that isn’t necessarily the case. The Patriots listed at as limited in practice this week, but that may be a ruse, as earlier reports stated he couldn’t lift his right arm.
The Boston Herald has reported that New England wants Jimmy Garoppolo to be available. They’re apparently “putting pressure” on him to play, citing Tom Brady playing through similar injuries. He’s definitely in pain, but he can do no further damage to his arm by suiting up.
Jacoby Brissett will start in his place if he’s unable to go, which seems likely, but this one may come down to pregame warmups. If Garoppolo can’t go, wide receiver Julian Edelman will serve as the backup quarterback.
Brissett was 6 for 9 for 92 yards in relief last week, but he was facing a weak Dolphins pass defense and did have a significant lead when he entered the game. He’s got a strong arm and is physical specimen at 6’4 and 235 pounds. However, he’s still rare, and it’s clear to most that the Patriots don’t trust him under center.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has been limited in every practice since the start of the year and has yet to play in a game. That may change this week, as he finally has the put on pads on Tuesday and local beat writers have suggested that he could be out there Thursday. They could certainly use a weapon like Gronk against a tough Texans defense.
Houston’s start to the season has been fantastic. They hosted the Chiefs last week and won a gritty game 19-12. It helped avenge a playoff loss last season, where the Texans were beaten severely in a wild-card playoff against Kansas City 30-0.
Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler was inefficient and erratic, throwing two interceptions, but the Chiefs turned the ball over multiple times, including losing three fumbles in the first half. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins led the way with 113 receiving yards and the Texans only touchdown. Kicker Nick Novak nailed four field goals as well.
The Texans defense has been one of the best to start the year. Both Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt are healthy have been making plays. The only notable injury they have coming into this game is rookie slot receiver Braxton Miller, who has a hamstring injury and didn’t practice Tuesday.
A lot is still up in the air with this game. If Garoppolo can suit up, the odds will likely change, and the same can be said for Gronkowski. However, no matter which quarterback is under center, it’s going to be tough sledding against a dominant Texans’ front seven.
I believe in Belichick. He’s easily the best coach in the NFL, even if you look at him in a different light under due to all the Patriots’ scandals over the years – no one creates better game plans.
With that said, I’m not sure his wizardry can save Brissett in this one. The Texans are just too powerful up front, and they will wreak havoc inside. Even if Tom Brady was quarterbacking the Patriots this week, there are reasons to worry about their success in this matchup.
On the flip side, New England’s defense is usually pretty solid, despite giving up a ton of points late to Miami last week. Osweiler continues to make dubious decisions throwing downfield, but I have the feeling that Houston can control field position and put him in spots to succeed.
This isn’t one of my favorite plays of the week, but it will be interesting to see what the line is closer to game time. My favorite bet right now is the under 41, but I do lean towards the Texans as well.
Pick: Under 41 (-113)