The AFC South is set for a showdown on Thursday Night Football with the Indianapolis Colts visiting the Houston Texans in Week 12.
Sportsbook ratings have the Texans set as 3.5-point home favorites for this primetime matchup. If you’re betting on Indianapolis at Houston, here are some edges and angles to factor into your handicapping of the NFL odds.
Running on empty
The Colts offense is geared around the ground game, handing the football off on 47% of their snaps. However, that playbook will be without top running option Marlon Mack Thursday night. The running back suffered a broken hand in Week 11, after rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown in a 33-13 victory over Jacksonville.
That could put more emphasis on passing against a Texans defense ranked 29th in defending the pass this season. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett had a career day in his last matchup with Houston, passing for 326 yards and four touchdown in a 30-23 victory in Week 7.
Brissett is hoping his top target, receiver T.Y. Hilton is back in action Thursday. Hilton, who has 360 yards receiving and five touchdowns despite missing the past three games, is nursing a calf injury. He hasn’t practices heading into this short-week contest but hasn’t been officially ruled out versus the Texans.
Picking up the pieces
Houston had a chance to pull away in the AFC South standings and make a claim for a top spot in the AFC in Week 11 but was rolled by the Baltimore Ravens, who bullied the Texans to a 41-7 win. Quarterback Deshaun Watson struggled to move the chains, passing for just 169 yards and an interception, and converted just 20% of the team’s third-down attempts.
Houston’s offense is looking for a bounce-back performance Thursday night. The Texans rank seventh in average yards per game and score just under 25 points per outing but haven’t had much success when coming off a loss, failing to cover in 10 of their last 14 matchups off a defeat.
As for matching up with the Colts, the Texans are just 1-5 ATS in their last six head-to-head meetings, including that Week 7 loss in Indianapolis.
The Over/Under for Thursday’s game in Houston opened at 46.5 and has dropped a point and a half to 45.
Houston is 4-6 O/U on the season but 1-3 O/U inside NRG Field. Indianapolis, on the other hand, is 6-4 O/U so far in 2019, with a 2-2 O/U mark as a visitor. The Texans and Colts played Over the total of 46.5 points in Week 7 but have stayed below the total in five of their last seven installments of this AFC South rivalry.