Welcome to the Saturday Week 16 Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of one of the upcoming Saturday Week 16 games 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.
We’re left contemplating what could have been with this late-season interconference matchups between two squads that would be rolling out four explosive receivers if the Buccaneers were at full health. Alas, Mike Evans is already on injured reserve for Tampa due to a hamstring injury. Chris Godwin could well be headed for the same fate after suffering his own hamstring injury in Week 15 against the Lions during a 38-17 victory. The Texans notched a big win last Sunday themselves. Their 24-21 toppling of the Titans puts Houston in control of the AFC South with two games remaining.
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians’ high-powered offense will be forced to make some relatively heavy adjustments in Week 16 if Godwin misses the contest as expected. Breshad Perriman was quite the surprise as the “lead” receiver against Detroit’s highly porous and apparently disinterested secondary last Sunday. He took half his six catches for touchdowns. The Texans’ secondary is actually not much better than the Lions’ unit on paper. They’ve allowed the fifth-most passing yards per road game (288.3), 30 passing touchdowns overall and the second-most yards after catch (2,017) in the league. Yet Perriman has never been a top receiving option. He may find life more difficult in Week 16 with a team having a week to gameplan against him. The remaining healthy wideouts — Justin Watson and Ishmael Hyman among them — have potential but are also unproven.
Arians could therefore lean heavily on his talented tight end duo of Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. Houston naturally knows that and figures to be prepared accordingly. The Texans have been a bit worse than league average against the position while allowing a 67-787-5 line on 99 targets this season. As far as the ground attack, Houston has allowed 118.4 rushing yards per away contest. But, the Buccaneers’ running back tandem of Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber have spearheaded one of the least efficient/productive ground games in the league. Tampa is averaging just 91.4 rushing yards per contest at 3.5 yards per carry.
On the other side, the Texans will almost certainly turn to the air early and often. Partly because the Bucs have been so effective stopping the run (NFL-low 73.3 rushing yards per game allowed), teams have bombarded them with the pass. Tampa is allowing the third-most passing yards per game (276.8). They’re yielding a slightly more respectable 254.8 per home contest specifically. Houston’s Will Fuller seemed to have made it through last week’s win over Tennessee without any aggravation of his problematic hamstring injury. He and DeAndre Hopkins would figure to get plenty of volume in this favorable matchup.
The Buccaneers are just 2-4 at home (including one London game as a “home team”, where they took a 37-26 loss to the Panthers) and played all of those contests with a healthy Evans and Godwin.
The Texans are 7-7 against the spread this season, including 4-2 (66.7 percent) as an away team. Houston is also 2-1 (66.7 percent) versus the number in non-conference games.
The Buccaneers are 5-8-1 (38.5 percent) against the spread this season, including 0-4-1 as a home team. Tampa Bay is also 1-1-1 versus the number in non-conference games.
Even with both of their top receivers healthy, two of the three Buccaneers’ losses at Raymond James Stadium have come by double digits. With reduced weaponry and a middling running game that hasn’t really given any indications it would be capable of picking up the slack, I don’t see the Bucs being able to hang close enough for all four quarters to overcome the three-point spread.
The Lean: Texans -3 (-120) at FanDuel Sportsbook
If both these teams were at full health, this total would naturally be in the 50s and still likely a good bet to be exceeded. However, as discussed, we have to lower our expectations of how much the Buccaneers may be able to pitch in here on offense. A less effective Tampa offense would also very likely lead to Houston not having to keep its foot on the gas for all four quarters.
The Over is 6-8 (42.9 percent) in the Texans’ games this season, including 3-3 in their away games and 2-1 (66.7 percent) in non-conference games. Then, the Over is 11-3 (NFL-high 78.6 percent) in the Buccaneers’ games this season, including 4-1 (80.0 percent) in their home games and 2-1 (66.7 percent) in non-conference games.
Even with the Buccaneers’ personnel shortcomings, I still see a solid amount of points being scored. However, the Buccaneers have been unable to get a ground game going even with Evans and Godwin around to keep defenses honest. I see it much more difficult here, leading to the Under hitting in this spot.
Best Prop Bet
Texans moneyline and Under 49.5 points (+200 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
In accordance with my belief the Texans emerge victorious in this game and the Under hits, I like this game parlay wager at an appealing price. Houston has a winning road record (4-3). Only three of those games have finished with a total lower than Saturday’s projected figure. Yet as we’ve touched on multiple times already, the extenuating circumstances here for the Buccaneers make the Under a likelier proposition than it otherwise would be.