Welcome to the Thursday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming Thursday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick”. A lean is a wager that we have a certain degree of certainty in. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries; past track record of each team in those bet types and under the specific conditions that apply; and recent performances of each team leading up to the game.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup – including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to TNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Thursday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
These two AFC South rivals come into Thursday’s game coming off disparately different Week 11 outcomes. The Texans have to be dealing with a certain amount of self-doubt after getting manhandled by a fellow AFC squad that stands between them and the conference crown they undoubtedly covet. The Ravens eviscerated Houston by a 41-7 score in a game that could well have been a shutout. Not only did Deshaun Watson come up small with his third sub-200-yard effort of the campaign, he also was taken down six times and threw an interception.
The Colts scored an impressive but costly 33-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday. They notably managed that big win without T.Y. Hilton (calf), who missed a third straight game. In the process, they lost starting running back Marlon Mack for an indefinite period with a broken hand. That leaves Indy with a makeshift backfield of Jonathan Williams, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins going into their battle against the Texans.
Watson will need to be ready to significantly rebound for the Texans to have a shot Thursday. The good news is he did eclipse the 300-yard mark against Indy the last time they played. The Colts will also face him with a depleted secondary that could be down up to three players (detailed further in our Prop Bet section). That could be a good thing for Houston in more ways than one. After all, Indy is getting increasingly harder to run on as the season goes on. The recent return of sideline-to-sideline speed demon Darius Leonard from a three-game absence has certainly helped. Tellingly, Indy is allowing the second-fewest rushing yards per game (63.0) in the NFL over the last three contests.
Brissett will also be set up for success against the Texans’ suspect secondary. Yet there are a couple of caveats. For starters, he could be without Hilton again, even though the latter is fighting to get back in time for Thursday. Another is the possible return of Texans cornerback Bradley Roby. He was allowing just half of the pass attempts thrown against him in primary coverage to be completed earlier in the season. He then suffered a hamstring injury that’s already cost him four games. Roby will reportedly be a game-time call. If he returns, he’ll be in line to greatly assist a defense allowing 272.4 passing yards per game.
Where the Texans’ biggest matchup may lie is defending the Colts’ injury-hampered ground attack. Wilkins and Hines are likely to struggle going between the tackles. Then, Houston is allowing just 86.8 rushing yards per game on its home field. That ranks as the sixth-lowest figure in the NFL for any home squad.
Given the Colts’ injury situation, I see a very close game that will ultimately go to the home squad by a field goal or less.
TNF Point Spread
The Texans opened as 4.5-point favorites late last week before seeing that number bet down a full point on both FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. Houston came up woefully short against another quality team in Week 11 as alluded to earlier, while the Colts impressed against the Jaguars. Therefore, the shrinking number is of little surprise.
The Colts are 5-4-1 (55.6 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-1-1 (66.7 percent) as an away team.
The Texans are 5-5 (50.0 percent) against the spread this season, including 1-3 (25.0 percent) as a home team.
Indy is a quality team on both sides of the ball that could have Hilton back in action Thursday. They’ve also won in more hostile environments (Arrowhead Stadium) and have a considerably better track record versus the number on the road than the Texans do at home. I’m banking on Indy keeping it close enough to slide under the number.
The Pick: Colts +3.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook
TNF Over/Under Total
We have a middle-of-the road projected total that more or less falls in line with the average numbers both of these teams put up and give up in the respective home/road splits that apply Thursday. The figure also accounts for a possible Hilton and a definite Mack absence on the Colts’ side.
The Over is 6-4 (60.0 percent) in the Colts’ games this season, including 2-2 in their away games. Then, the Over is 4-6 (40.0 percent) in the Texans’ games this season, including 1-3 (25.0 percent) in their home games.
The two squads combined for 53 points when they met earlier this season. However, this is a short-week game, and Indy is missing some of its firepower. I therefore would lean toward the game finishing slightly Under the total.
Best TNF Prop Bet
Any Time Touchdown Scorer: DeAndre Hopkins (+100 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Hopkins put up a 9-106-1 line when these two teams faced off in Week 7. This time around, he’s facing a Colts secondary that could be missing cornerbacks Pierre Desir (hamstring) and Rock Ya-Sin (ankle), and that definitely will be without safety Khari Willis (concussion). Hopkins has already crossed the 100-target threshold yet again. He also has 10 red-zone touches through 10 games. That includes five inside the 10-yard line and three inside the five-yard line. He’s due for a potential scoring surge, too — two of his four receiving touchdowns on the season came way back in Week 1.