Our Thursday Night NFL Pick
Let's get straight to the action, because that's what you came here for:
Philadelphia at Houston
Line: Eagles-14 (-105)
Moneyline: Eagles -750 / Texans +550
This is a heavy amount of chalk for an NFL road team to lay on a short week. Could the Eagles possibly choke on it?
Both teams come in with just 4 days of prep time (both played last Sunday). Thursday games have split between home and visitor this season, each team winning 4 games apiece -- so, there's not been an identifiable advantage to the home team. The bigger question I see is -- could undefeated Philadelphia take Houston lightly? What would possibly motivate the high-flying 7-0 Eagles to put in any extra time and effort to prepare for one of the NFL's worst teams? I mean, you look at the Texans, and it's like a hungry man staring at a $2.59 Banquet TV dinner (remember when all the food items used to run together and the meatloaf tasted like applesauce? Man, I hated that.). You look down in shame and say, holy gawd, I'm supposed to digest this?
Just how bloody awful are the Texans? Well, Houston is ranked near the bottom of every conceivable statistical category (the team-not the city). The Texans are #30th in passing, #30th in rushing, #30th in scoring (no, this recording isn't stuck on autoplay), and have scored just 11 total touchdowns the entire season, which is a league low. The Texans aren't any better defensively, either, ranking (take a guess)....#30th overall in the NFL. Only ATL and DET are worse. Bragging that your defense is better than the Falcons and Lions is like putting Uvalde Police Department on your employment resume. Might just leave that line blank.
Handicapping big mismatches like this game is a challenge. Sure, Philadelphia will have little difficulty beating the outmatched Texans....but like wow....-14 is a big ass number.
The much wiser wager looks to be the UNDER 45. Reasons for this start with Houston's offense, which will be hard-pressed to score many points. It's doubtful that the Texans will pass effectively, which does open up their running game. Even if Houston enjoys some success on the ground, and rookie RB Dameon Pierce looks to be a budding superstar on a very bad team, that's going to grind the hell out of the clock -- exactly what we want when we bet the UNDER.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia isn't going to run up any scores here. The Eagles will be thrilled to get out of Houston with a win and stay healthy, then take ten days off before hosting division rival Washington in mid-Nov. Even if Philadelphia runs up the score early, they likely take the foot off the gas. An interesting stat that supports this: In their last 6 games, Philadelphia has scored 123 points in the 1st half, but only 35 points in 2nd half. So, be careful about laying points with this team at halftime.
The Eagles average 28 PPG season-long, which is impressive, but also nothing to indicate explosiveness. The Eagles are 5-1 to the UNDER in the last six games. A big reason -- Eagles' defense allows just 16 PPG.
One intangible that "hurts" us, perhaps: Eagles' MVP candidate QB Jalen Hurts is from Houston, so he could be a little extra motivated to show off and toss some touchdowns to please Grandma.
The Pick: Philadelphia/Houston UNDER 45
More to come -- Writeups pending
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