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Bucs Texans Betting – Will Josh Johnson Be Able To Outpace Houston’s Defense?

Posted by Tony Bryant on 9/1/2010 3:36:00 PM

Don’t expect very many points to be scored on Thursday night in Houston. Don’t expect the home team to whip an opponent who will be bad in the regular season.

NFL Betting: Tampa Bay Bucs @ Houston Texans

Online Betting Odds: Texans -3

Why To Bet On The Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't done much to earn any confidence... no, not just in the upcoming regular season, but in the preseason. Coach Raheem Morris has an offense that continues to struggle, regardless of the weekly opponent. Tampa Bay couldn't get untracked in a 19-13 loss to Jacksonville last weekend, and when one considers the extent to which the Houston Texans defended their own goal line in their most recent exhibition contest against the Dallas Cowboys, it makes even less sense to trust Tampa Bay on an immediate linear level.

Then again, this is the final preseason game, when the normal rules of sports betting in general – and football in particular – don't apply. Just which team is more likely to win on Thursday night, before the regular season is finally upon us?

Tampa Bay's best chance of winning seems to be to hope for injuries to Houston. Save that, perhaps some analysts think the Bucs might have to profit from some special-teams wildness on a blocked kick or a punt return. However, it might not get to that point at all on Thursday at Reliant Stadium. While Houston's starting quarterback, Matt Schaub, was very solid in last Saturday's 23-7 win over Dallas – throwing 29 passes without an interception and reliably running coach Gary Kubiak's offense – backup Dan Orlovsky threw only four passes in that same game. Orlovsky will now become the main field general for the Texans' offense, and that's why this game can't be seen through a normal or traditional lens. Tampa Bay would be a pronounced underdog to Houston in the regular season, but with Orlovsky in at quarterback for the Texans, it's very possible – if not probable – that Houston will spin its wheels on offense in this game. Baiting Orlovsky into making poor decisions – and committing a boatload of turnovers as a result – gives Tampa a route to success in the Lone Star State.

Why To Bet On The Texans

For Houston, the key is to turn the tables on the Buccaneers. Houston's defense did allow Dallas quarterback Tony Tomo to complete 13 of 18 passes last weekend, and the Texans allowed Stephen McGee (Romo's backup) to hit 8 of 10 passes as well. Yet, neither one of those Cowboy signal callers were able to penetrate Houston's goal line. Not until Dallas third-stringer Jon Kitna threw a meaningless fourth-quarter touchdown pass did the Cowboys finally reach the end zone. Houston - though playing fewer starters - still needs to make this a defense-heavy game and make life miserable for Tampa quarterback Josh Johnson, who is getting reps while Josh Freeman prepares for the start of the regular season. Johnson went 9-of-14 for 122 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions last week against Jacksonville. If Houston can disrupt Johnson, it will be very hard for Tampa Bay to score. That way, even a poor game from quarterback Dan Orlovsky won't get in the way of a Texan triumph.

How The Game Will Play Out

Because Josh Johnson got a lot more reps and threw 10 more passes than Dan Orlovsky did last weekend, the Bucs have more rhythm at their backup quarterback spot. Orlovsky might be comparatively rested, but he could well be rusty. This would never be said during the season, but in exhibition game number four, it can be: Tampa Bay should win.

Bucs Texans Betting Pick: Bucs


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