Houston Texans coach and, I guess, acting GM Bill O’Brien is either a mad scientist or evil genius. Houston was a busy team this offseason and questions remain if they are actually better than the 11-win AFC South champion club from a season ago. The retirement of Andrew Luck opened the door for Houston to claim a second straight division title and fourth in the last five seasons. The Texans open the season on ESPN’s Monday Night Football with a tilt against NFC power New Orleans Saints. After two straight gut-wrenching playoff losses, the Saints are looking for a happier outcome in 2019. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7:10 p.m. ET from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu
Houston Texans +7
New Orleans Saints -7
Houston at New Orleans Odds Analysis
The Saints opened -7.5 when look-ahead lines hit the board in April. There hasn’t been much movement since with the current number of -7 backed by over 60 percent of the public. New Orleans is a favorite to win the NFC and is a strong public play. The total of 52.5 is currently the highest on the Week 1 board, though it has dipped since opening at 54.
Take the first three games of last season out of the equation and the Texans were one of the best in the NFL going 11-2 straight up and 7-5-1 against the line in their final 13 contests. They still managed to have a decent campaign winning 11 times, the most in O’Brien’s tenure. Houston will have a new look in 2019. The offense improved with the additions of Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills in a deal with Miami. The loss of Jadeveon Clowney will likely impact the defense. Still, the Texans have emerged as the favorite to win the AFC South now that the Colts no longer have their franchise quarterback.
New Orleans Odds
Sean Payton has to think his Saints are jinxed after what happened in the playoffs the last two seasons. New Orleans put together the best two-year stretch in franchise history by matching the Rams with the best record in the NFL last season at 13-3. Over that span the Saints are 24-8, but were victims of the Minnesota Miracle two years ago and were denied a chance to beat the Rams in the NFC Championship last season on a missed call. The Saints ended last season going 0-5 ATS when they were favored by at least a field goal in each game.
It’s probably not a big deal. At least the Saints are hoping it isn’t. But we saw Drew Brees struggle down the stretch last season in a rather alarming trend. During a four-game stretch near the end of the year Brees threw for less than 205 yards in each and twice failed to reach the 200-yard mark while throwing a pick in each game. He had just one interception in his first 10 games. We can’t expect him to be Superman every game and there have been some duds over the course of his lengthy career, but four straight with sub-par numbers raised some eyebrows. Brees returned in his final game with 326 yards, but he again tossed an interception in each of the two playoff encounters, and he wasn’t sharp against the Rams in the NFC Championship.
The cities are only about 320 miles apart, but the Saints and Texans have played on the gridiron just four times in their history, the last was in the 2015 season with Houston taking a 24-6 decision. The teams have split the games with each winning twice at home. Over their successful two-year stretch the Saints have been a tough out in the Superdome going 13-3 SU during the regular season. They’ve also posted a pair of playoff wins in three games. However, the Saints haven’t been a lock against the line. They are just 8-8 ATS and have failed to cover in each of their last four home games.
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