The New England Patriots have opened as 16-point home favorites for Saturday’s Divisional Round matchup (8:15 PM ET, CBS) with the Houston Texans. That’s the biggest postseason spread since January 1999, when Randall Cunningham and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Arizona Cardinals 41-21 in Divisional play.
Bettors of all shapes and sizes are still flocking to New England (14-2 SU, 13-3 ATS) at this inflated price with New England receiving close to 70 percent of the early wagers.
The Patriots were the top dogs in the NFL during the regular season, and they’ll be facing the Texans (9-7 SU, 6-9-1 ATS), one of the worst teams ever to make the playoffs. New England will enter the Divisional Playoff well rested after enjoying a first round bye, but they’ll be without tight end Rob Gronkowski for this contest. It might not matter though as quarterback Tom Brady has plenty of other targets to aim for, such as Julian Edelman who has racked up a team-leading 1106 receiving yards this season. Brady has been outstanding since returning from a suspension, accumulating 3554 passing yards with a 28:2 TD to INT ratio in 12 games played.
Houston took advantage of quarterback injuries to beat the Oakland Raiders 27-14 in last week’s Wild Card game, cashing in as 4-point home favorites after opening at –3. Quarterback Tom Savage has cleared concussion protocol after getting hurt in Week 17, but Brock Osweiler will start at quarterback for the Texans. Osweiler did not have a great game by any stretch of the imagination against the Raiders but threw for 168 yards with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown, and did not throw any interceptions.
Houston need to get its running game going here to stand a chance, and the Texans were able to rush for 123 yards last week with Lamar Miller leading the way with 73 yards on 23 carries. The Texans have a great pass defense, conceding only 201 passing yards per game, ranking them second in the NFL, but can they slow down Brady?
The Patriots shut out Houston in a 27-0 win in Week 3.
Home team is 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 meetings.
Favorite is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.
Texans are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Texans are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings in New England.