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Monday, October 20, 2014

NFL Betting Preview 2014 Week 7: Texans Vs. Steelers

Houston Texans Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Market Watch

This line was -4 in the Westgate look-ahead line and reopened at the same number after the Week 6 games. It was bet down to -3.5, and it stayed here until Friday. We've since seen it bet down to the key number of -3.  What should we make of this? The fact that the hook was available for most of the week should tell you something. There was some value on the Texans, but sharp money wasn't exactly keen to get on it earlier in the week. Overall, betting is appropriately split down the middle as 51% of the tickets are on the Texans.

Bottom Line

When we look at this matchup on paper, only a couple things jump off the page. Both teams have offenses that rank between average and bad in most of the critical categories, but the Steelers OL ranks 27th in adjusted sack rate. That's not good news when your opponent happens to have JJ Watt. Another problem for Pittsburgh is their red zone efficiency ranks dead last in the entire league. The Houston defense? They are 4th best at keeping teams out of their end zone.

On the flip side, the Steelers defense doesn't have a lot to hang their hat on either, but there are signs that they could be a bend-but-don't-break unit. They rank 22nd against the pass, 19th against the run, and 25th in sacks, but they are 5th best at getting off the field on third down and 11th inside their own 20.

Is the Houston offense good enough to take advantage? There isn't much to suggest they can. They are below average in every category on that side of the ball.

All in all I think the only side to consider here is the Texans, but the best numbers are already long gone. You could say that there is still value at +3 and I wouldn't put up much of an argument. The true line should probably be -2.5 since the Texans appear to be the slightly better team. On top of that, the Steelers are 0-2 ATS at home so far and haven't instilled much confidence in anyone backing them this year.

That said, I wouldn't feel comfortable with +3 knowing that I could have had the hook just a few days ago. Ultimately, I'm taking a pass.

Read more: Week 8 picks.
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