Sunday, November 8, 2020, TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida, 1 p.m. ET
Texans at Jaguars Betting Preview: Texans (-7/+106), Jaguars (+7/-130)
A team with star power like this shouldn’t be 1-6 and playing out the string after its bye week, but barring a 9-0 finish and some spectacular fade patterns by Tennessee and Indianapolis, that’s Houston’s fate over the final nine games.
For the Texans, this game is as much a referendum of their pride as it is their ability. Their one win this year is against the Jaguars, a 30-14 decision in Week 5 days after Romeo Crennel took the reins from fired coach Bill O’Brien.
Houston should score at will if it executes decently. No team in the league sacks the quarterback less than Jacksonville, which means Deshaun Watson should have plenty of time to find open receivers. And a punchless running game actually created traction against the Jaguars, so David Johnson could enjoy a good day if the Texans commit to running the ball.
The more this team plays, the more it becomes clear their Week 1 upset of Indianapolis might become the most unlikely win of the NFL season. Jacksonville has lost six in a row, allowing more than 30 points in each game.
And it’s becoming more likely that the Jaguars will be without starting quarterback Gardner Minshew (thumb) for this one. Minshew didn’t practice on Wednesday, with rookie Jake Luton taking most of the snaps in his stead. A sixth-round pick out of Oregon State, Luton’s strength is said to be a big arm that should allow the offense to take more shots down the field.
Luton will get chances to show off that arm. With the league’s 30th-ranked rushing attack and a defense allowing 31.4 points per game, it’s hard to forecast a scenario under which Jacksonville will lead in the second half, even against a fellow 1-6 team.
Texans at Jaguars Betting Pick for Week 9
While weird things happen when teams venture on the field to play games, logic suggests this should be the Texans’ second double-figure win this year against the Jaguars. Watson is going to enjoy a big game against a weak secondary that gets no help from the pass rush.
Luton could make some plays, too, against a defense allowing 31 points per game. But Houston at least can crank up a big-league pass rush, and the likes of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus figure to find Luton a couple of times.
Texans at Jaguars Betting Pick:
Texans 28, Jaguars 17.
Texans at Jaguars Best Bet for Week 9
Sage gamblers usually hammer the over when it doubt. Plunging under the line might be your best play in this one. Jacksonville’s lost five consecutive games to Houston, and all of them ended under the over-under number.
With the Jaguars giving a rookie his first NFL start at quarterback, it might use a conservative game plan on offense, which would only drive scoring down a bit more.
Texans at Jaguars Best Bet: UNDER 50.5 total points for the game (-105)