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NFL DFS

Week 12 in the NFL concludes with Titans vs. Texans on Monday Night Football. For this game and every other primetime contest, we’ll break down the sports betting lines and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook, BetStars, and FanDuel Sportsbook.

This advice is also relevant for fantasy contests on sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel and can be helpful in seasonal fantasy leagues as well.

Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.

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Week 12 Monday Night Football Betting Odds

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Texans -3.5, 42 total 
888 Sportsbook OddsTexans -3.5, 42 total 
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Texans -4, 42 total 
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Texans -4, 42.5 total 

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This profiles as a low-scoring divisional affair between two excellent defensive teams. The Titans’ offense has completely collapsed whenever Marcus Mariota (neck, elbow) isn’t fully healthy. Mariota suffered a “stinger” before departing a loss last week and is expected to play.

The Texans have won seven straight and are allowing just 16 PPG since prevailing in an OT shootout with the Colts in Week 4.

Finally getting the most out of an extremely talented front seven, Houston leads the league in DVOA rush defense and in pass defense against opposing RBs. That doesn’t bode well for a Titans team that ranks 31st in pass play rate and depends on Dion Lewis (2.4 YPC over his last two appearances) producing in the screen game. Derrick Henry has deservedly lost the lead role to Lewis with an average of just 3.7 YPC this season.

While the Titans beat the Texans 20-17 in Week 2, they needed a 66-yard TD pass from FS Kevin Byard on special teams and were outgained 437-283 by Houston with backup Blaine Gabbert leading a weak passing attack.

If Mariota fights through injury, he won’t find the sledding easy. Houston is allowing a low 80.8 passer rating with a 5:5 TD:INT ratio at home this season and has 25 sacks over eight games since losing to the Titans.

The Texans expect to get stud slot CB Aaron Colvin (ankle) back this week, and Titans slot WR Taywan Taylor (foot) is questionable. Corey Davis is one of the few Titans skill players worth considering in NFL DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel although he’s a risky option given Mariota’s questionable status.

Titans TE Jonnu Smith is worth a look as a low-cost option against a Texans team that’s allowed the 11th-most receptions (53) and fifth-most TDs (5) to his position this season.

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The Titans will look to hang in this game on the strength of their defense, which allows the second-fewest PPG (18.9). That unit has been quite inconsistent lately, shutting down the Patriots before getting lit up by Andrew Luck and the Colts last Sunday.

Malcolm Butler has been routinely torched on the outside, and Tennessee thusly ranks 32nd in DVOA pass defense against opposing top receivers. DeAndre Hopkins has the most upside of any player in this game. He could drop a huge line if he sees double-digit targets.

After a strong start, slot CB Logan Ryan has struggled lately. Accordingly, Keke Coutee could have another solid outing after leading the Texans with nine targets last week. Demaryius Thomas has struggled to adjust on a new team and is a longshot to produce as the third option.

Houston has committed to running the ball far more frequently in an effort to keep Deshaun Watson healthy.

Lamar Miller has seen a whopping 95 touches over his last six appearances, but the Titans rank ninth in DVOA rush defense and are not vulnerable in the passing game to RBs or TEs. Excellent coverage from ILB Wesley Woodyard and Byard has much to do with the Titans’ strong pass defense in the interior.

Tennessee actually leads the NFL in points allowed (4.07) per red-zone trip. Houston is 28th in points produced (4.42) per red-zone trip. Watson is not the most decisive QB in the red zone and outside of Hopkins, the Texans have few means of winning against man coverage.

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The Picks

The Titans are 31st in pace and 29th in plays per game. Houston is up to seventh in neutral situation pace but slows to 15th when leading by 7-plus points.

Houston allows the third-fewest points per drive (1.75) and is second in drive success rate (DSR) allowed. The Texans are 30th in red-zone defense, but Tennessee’s offense is 27th in yards per drive.

All signs point toward a game in the teens or low 20s, which makes the Under (42.5 at BetStars) a strong bet. Slightly over half the money is coming down on that side of line.

The Texans have a history of struggling to cover the spread. Yet they might’ve put that to rest with a 42-23 thrashing of the Dolphins in their last home game.

Still, a bet on Houston (-3.5) to cover would be a bet on Mariota being limited or even leaving this contest.

As long as the dual-threat QB is remotely healthy, he should keep the Titans offense moving enough to match FGs in a potentially low-scoring game. Strong defensive play should allow the Titans (+4) to cover.

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