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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 15: Texans Vs Colts

Houston Texans Vs. Indianapolis Colts: HOU +7 (-117) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

There's not a lot of change in this point spread from last week's look-ahead line at Westgate. It was -7 before, and it reopened at -6.5.  The "consensus" line is still -6.5, but you can get +7's out there if you shop around pay a bit of extra juice.  At mid-week, 60% of the bets are on the Colts.

Bottom Line

When it comes to handicapping the NFL, I think only the Patriots are more difficult to get a read on than the Colts.  We might be able to throw teams like Denver and Seattle in there too, but the Colts are a team that have consistently outpeformed their stats since Luck has entered the league.

Based on the numbers, many think they are being inflated each week. Yet, they seem to cover the spread more times than not, and this season has been no exception.

So what do we make of their Week 15 matchup with the Texans?

By overall DVOA, the point spread is right where it should be. Indy rank 11th overall, while the Texans are 22nd - not to mention the Colts play at home.

But when we take a closer look, the Texans should matchup better than that. The Colts are 13th in offense, and 14th on defense. Houston is 15th and 17th respectively.  In the "make-or-break" moments, the Texans D is top 5 in both the red zone and on 3rd/4th down.  Indy is surprisingly poor once Luck gets them inside the 20 (26th TD conversion rate).  When Houston has the ball, they match up evenly in these categories with Indy's defense.

On top of those numbers, Houston should be able to maintain the ball with their ground game, going up against a fairly weak run defense. There will also be more than enough motivation given the fact that this is a division rival. The Texans playoff chances are slim, but they should fight hard knowing that a win here would make it a bit interesting.

In the end, I'll obviously be holding my breath since we are talking about Fitzpatrick vs Luck, but everything else adds up to value on the dog.  I think there is a good chance that this game stays close throughout, with the possibility of a straight up upset.

NFL pick: HOU +7.

Read more: Week 15 picks.
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