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Week 8: Dolphins at Texans, Thursday Night Football

The Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans have taken completely different paths towards this Thursday Night Football clash in Texas but each of these teams still feels they have a shot at making something out of the season. Houston holds an obvious edge, sitting atop the AFC South with two wins during a current hot streak coming against division rivals. But the Texans’ injury report is getting increasingly longer and this short week off Jacksonville could be just what the Dolphins need to try and get back on track.

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS AT HOUSTON TEXANS (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS)

Line: Texans -7.5 and O/U 44.5

Odds for this game opened at Houston -7 and 45.5, with one source reporting 56-percent action on the home side to cover. Thursday home faves off a win are a natural draw for bettors and their straight up record since 2011 is 27-12 straight up, but only 17 of those 39 teams have covered. Faves laying -7 or more were almost unbeatable during these mid-week tangles before 2011 but since then, they have cooled off to 9-9-1 ATS.

 

Regardless of the trends, it’s unlikely that these betting patterns towards Houston will turn given the way Miami has played following their 3-0 start. The Dolphins have allowed 27-plus points in each of the past four weeks after playing shutdown football to start the season. Critics will cite Miami’s weak slate during their win streak and certainly, the Titans (3-4), Jets (3-4) and Raiders (1-5) do little to invoke fear, but where do the Texans stand in this crowd?

 

Three of Houston’s four wins were by small margins and they haven’t scored more than 20 points since Week 4. Chalky conference faves with a punchless offense can boast just one winning season since 1999, going 21-32-1 ATS overall (.396). The Texans defense has clamped down hard in three consecutive weeks, allowing 16 to Dallas, 13 to the Bills and then just seven to the Jags, but right now that series of wins isn’t worth much more than Miami’s first three.

 

Texans QB Deshaun Watson was 12 for 24 against the Jaguars, finishing under 200 passing yards for the second consecutive week. Looking back, we can see that home teams off back-to-back passing performances like that are normally only favored by around 1-point, increasing to -3.5 points if they won both games. But on short rest, anything more than that and the home team’s record is only 2-6-1 ATS.

 

RB Lamar Miller (chest) and the team’s two leading WRs DeAndre Hopkins (707 yards, 4 TD) and Will Fuller (379 yards, 3 TD) are good to go but one of Watson’s favorite targets during this win streak, Keke Coutee, is out with a hamstring. Miller will be looking for a big game against his former team but the elephant in the room is Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler, who started 14 games for Houston in 2016. Osweiler’s career road record as the QB of record is 3-8-2 ATS with 5 overs and 8 unders. His passing average is just 190 yards so between he and Watson, let’s not expect a shootout of epic proportions.

 

PRIMETIME PREDICTION

The Texans rank 31st in red zone inefficiency and their O-Line is a major weak link. Miami only has 11 sacks on the season but they’ll be pinning their ears back to try and get Watson off his game. This is too many points for the Texans to be laying but we can’t confidently back Osweiler in any situation, let alone on the road. Bet on a defensive game between these two as they fight to stay relevant.

Week 8 TNF Pick: Take the Dolphins and Texans UNDER

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