NFL Thursday Night Football Preview & Free Pick- Week 5
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Total Line: OFF
The Indianapolis Colts opened the season as prohibitive favorites to win another AFC South Division title and while they are currently on top in the standings, their first four games have been anything but impressive. This Thursday night they will go on the road against another division foe with a trip to NRG Stadium to face the Houston Texans in a prime time matchup on CBS and the NFL Network.
The big question mark surrounding this game is the availability of Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck. He missed the first start of his four-year NFL career last week against Jacksonville due to a shoulder injury and he had to sit and watch his team grind-out a 16-13 win in overtime as a four-point favorite at home. Indianapolis is now 2-2 straight-up on the year with a costly 0-4 record against the spread. The total has stayed UNDER in three of the four games.
Even with Luck in the lineup this offense has struggled with consistency as well as with taking care of the ball. Matt Hasselbeck got the start for Luck this past Sunday and things basically ground to a halt. Defensively, the Colts did a good job at keeping the Jaguars under wraps its last time out, but on the year this unit is ranked 26th in the NFL in total yards allowed.
Houston was run off the field against Atlanta in Week 4 in a 48-21 loss as a four-point road underdog. The Texans fell behind 42-0 at the end of three quarters in a game that was over almost as soon as it began. The loss dropped their record to 1-3 both SU and ATS and the total went well OVER the 47.5-point line after staying UNDER in two of their first three games.
The Texans come into Thursday night’s division tilt with an offense that is ranked seventh in the NFL in total yards per game behind a passing offense that is averaging 284.5 yards a game. When it comes to scoring, they fall all the way to 24th with an average of 19.2 points a game. Ryan Mallet took over at quarterback for an ineffective Brian Hoyer earlier in the season, but he got the hook for Hoyer against Atlanta after things got out of hand. It probably does not matter which player gets the start on Thursday night given the state of this entire team.
The Colts have built a 4-0-1 edge ATS over their last five games against the Texans, but they have failed to cover in six of their last nine road games against their AFC South rivals. The total has gone OVER in eight of the last 10 games played between these two in Houston. The playing status of Luck will dictate the final betting odds for this game, but whether he sits or starts I am still going with the UNDER has my top pick as long as the total line is not higher than 43 in what should be another low-scoring grinder between two struggling offenses.
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