Texans vs. Broncos

Sportsbook Advisor
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by - 12/25/2010 8:05 AM Share

Sports betting players should still check out Sunday's matchup between the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos, even though neither team has a chance at making the playoffs as you could miss an exciting game with two awful defenses. Houston gets the edge because the Broncos are going with a rookie under center, and even he can make their defense look good.

•What: NFL betting
•When: Sunday, December 26th, 4:05 PM ET
•Where: Invesco Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
•Pick: Houston Texans -3
What's On The Line
The Texans (5-9) saw their season go up in smoke with a 31-17 loss at the Tennessee Titans, their seventh loss in eight games, while the Broncos (3-11) dropped their fifth in a row in a 39-23 loss at the Oakland Raiders. Coach Gary Kubiak is probably fighting for his job right now as the Texans failed to make the playoffs again, while Eric Studesville is looking to take the interim tag off his name in Denver, and Tim Tebow gets another start for the Broncos.

Offensive Matchups: Texans Broncos Betting
Matt Schaub passed for 325 yards, two touchdowns and a pick against the Titans, but the Texans failed to get Arian Foster going, which threw them off. The Texans were down 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, which means they had to air it out to get back into the game, but Houston's fifth-ranked offense is much more dangerous when there is balance. We all know Schaub can throw it to Andre Johnson, but they became too one-dimensional last week due to the circumstances.

Tebow's first start went as well as could be expected: he completed 50% of his passes for 138 yards and a score, and he ran for 78 yards, including a 40-yard jaunt for a touchdown. But the Broncos converted just two of their 12 first-down opportunities, and their quarterback is obviously a work in progress. They can't open up the whole playbook for Tebow yet, and the running game is 29th in the league. Tebow can't be a 10 or 15-carry guy in the NFL like he was in college, and Denver needs to get the ground game going.

Betting Edge: Texans

Defensive Matchups: Texans Broncos Betting
Houston's pass defense showed why they are the worst in the league, allowing two touchdown passes in the first quarter, which put them in a hole. Then they allowed 147 yards on the ground, including 130 to Chris Johnson, and finally, linebacker Brian Cushing got in a scuffle with end Antonio Smith, knocking his helmet off to earn a penalty, one of two first downs the Texans gave Tennessee because of flags. Simply put, the Texans imploded and they have a lot of work to do before Sunday, even facing a rookie quarterback.

No team unit in the NFL misses a player more than the Denver defense misses Elvis Dumervil, who was lost for the season before they even started. They failed to get a sack against the Raiders and are last in the league in that category, and that's just one of the reasons Denver is 31st in the league on this side of the ball. They did manage to force three turnovers against the Raiders, but they gave up 502 yards, including 264 on the ground.

Betting Edge: Draw

Notable Injuries: Texans Broncos Betting
Foster (hip/ankle) probably won't practice this week, and will have to be watched closely by the Texans.

An ailing Kyle Orton (ribs) is the reason the Tebow experiment begun, and the Broncos will continue to sit him. Receiver Demaryius Thomas (ankle) hasn't played for four weeks now, safety Brian Dawkins (knee) has been out for three weeks, and running back Knowshon Moreno (ribs) is questionable for the Broncos.

Betting Edge: Texans

Outlook and Pick: Texans Broncos Betting
NFL betting odds have the Texans as a 3-point favorite on the road in Denver, where they are 0-1 SU and ATS after a 31-13 loss in 2004. Kubiak played in Denver for eight years, then was the offensive coordinator for 10 years before taking the job in Houston in 2005, so this is a homecoming of sorts. Neither team has anything to lose, so they could be unmotivated, or they could play relaxed, and we're betting on the latter. We're going to take the Texans because of Tebow's inexperience at quarterback, and while he was decent last week, that was one game and it's a hard road for rookies in the NFL. Go with Houston to cover the online betting spread.

Stan's Pick: Houston Texans

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