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Texans Jaguars Betting – Houston Wins Ground Battle, Wins First In Post-Schaub Era

Posted by Stan Simmons on 11/22/2011 5:27:55 PM
texans jaguars betting

No team’s online betting odds suffered more this week as Houston found out their starting quarterback is likely gone for the season. They’ll head to Jacksonville on Sunday, and the rest of the team will pick up their game while their backup gets used to being a starter again.

What: NFL Betting
When: Sunday, November 27th, 1:00 PM ET
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Pick: Houston Texans -3.5

Why Bet On Houston Texans (7-3 SU, 7-3 ATS)

The Texans emerge from their bye week with a two-game lead in the AFC South was all set for the taken as Houston looks to reach the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history. But then quarterback Matt Schaub went down with a foot injury and the reins for the No.7 offense in the league will be handed to former first-round pick Matt Leinart, who hasn’t attempted a pass since 2009. Leinart has a ton of weapons at his disposal as receiver Andre Johnson should be back from a hamstring injury, and he has the second-ranked running game in the league behind him, led by Arian Foster and Ben Tate. But you also can’t forget that the Texans have the No.1 defense in the NFL, and free safety Danieal Manning could return to the lineup for the first time since Week 7. Leinart doesn’t have to be a world-beater stepping in for Schaub, who was ranked fifth in passer rating, and he has hopefully realized that his USC says are over. He is a game-manager now and all he needs to do is avoid mistakes.

But Leinart’s career numbers aren’t encouraging: 70.8 passer rating, 14 TDs, 20 picks, and the Jaguars have a solid pass defense. They’ll have to get the running game going with Foster and Tate in order to keep the pass rush off Leinart, giving him the ability to make throws. It’s tough to put all of this on Leinart, but is really about the former Arizona Cardinal staying within himself; he has an excellent team behind him and a golden opportunity.

Why Bet On Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7 SU, 4-6 ATS)

Jacksonville continued to struggle on the road, dropping to 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS after a 14-10 loss in Cleveland, but there were a few positives. Blaine Gabbert went 22-of-41 for 210 yards as they’re starting to open it up a little more for the rookie; the problem is, the Jaguars don’t have any big-play receivers. Tight end Marcedes Lewis caught seven passes for 64 yards, but there is no threat of a deep play to stretch the field. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 87 yards and a score on 21 carries as he continues to go up against eight-man fronts, but the Jaguars have to work on finding someone to stretch the field as Gabbert becomes more comfortable with the offense. The defense did what they had to, although they gave up 148 yards on the ground and gave the Browns four first downs because of penalties in what was a chippy game between two sub-.500 teams. The Jaguars are going to get better offensively, but they’re bringing along Gabbert slowly, which is to be expected by NFL betting players.

 

But the Jaguars will have their hands full against the league’s No.1 defense, and a defense that knows they have to step up their play to make up for quarterback issues. The Jaguars are ranked third in the league and have been doing it all season, so they know what they’re up against. Gabbert struggled in the first meeting, a 24-14 Week 8 win for the Texans in Houston, as he went 10-of-30 for 97 yards, a touchdown and two picks. Jones-Drew ran for only 63 yards, although he had a score, and the Jaguars will have to improve on that on Sunday.

How It Will Play Out

Jacksonville is a 3.5-point NFL betting favorite at home against the Texans, who are 3-2 SU and ATS in their last five road games against the Jaguars. All five games have gone over the posted total, but this could be a little lower, given the quarterback situations on both teams.

This will be a battle of who can establish the run first, and which quarterback can make the least mistakes, and we’re taking the Texans in a slight upset. They have more depth in their running game, a better run defense and Leinart won’t be as bad as you think he’s going to be. Houston on the road is the sports betting play to make on Sunday.

Texans Jaguars Betting Pick: Houston Texa

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