Tom Brady is still the man, but his tenure is coming to a close. Who’s next in line? How about Deshaun Watson. The Houston Texans No. 1 pick from a year ago was having a standout rookie season until a knee injury prematurely ended it. With him went any chance the Texans had of reaching the postseason. Instead, Houston limped to a 4-12 record playing primarily with backups after injuries depleted the roster. Houston has a healthy lineup entering the season and will look to put that miserable 2017 campaign behind them when they take on the defending AFC champion New England Patriots in Week 1.
This contest in Week 1 of the regular season will go down Sunday, September 9, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
Houston Texans +6
New England Patriots -6
The Pats finished last regular season on a heater winning nine of their last 10 against the spread. The early part of the year was much different. New England was 4-2 SU in their first six games, but only 2-4 ATS and they failed to cover the line in a Week 3 matchup with the Texans. The spread has New England -6 for this one with the total the highest on the board for Week 1 matchups at 51.
Julian Edelman – With the departure of Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks, the Pats are looking for a few players to fill their shoes. They also need someone to take over as Brady’s go-to pass-catcher after Edelman was slapped with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.
Edelman missed last season recovering from knee surgery, but he averaged 89 catches over the previous four campaigns. We typically don’t see a Pats position group so fluid a week before the opener so expect some changes during the week. Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson were the only receivers kept on the 53-man roster following cutdowns.
Player to Watch
The Texans were electric after Watson took over as the starter early last season. He got the Texans a win in his first start with a nifty 49-yard touchdown run to beat Cincinnati, then after that he did a large amount of damage through the air. The Texans established a team record by scoring at least 30 points in five consecutive games with Watson throwing for 1,472 yards and 18 touchdowns in those contests.
Watson was injured in practice after throwing for 402 yards and four touchdowns in a loss to Seattle, ending his season. Houston lost eight of its final nine games and averaged just 13.7 points in those outings. Watson threw for nearly 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns with a passer rating of 103 for the season. He was also the team’s third leading rusher with 269 yards. Watson played sparingly during the preseason, but he played and looked like he was fully recovered from the injury that derailed last year.
The teams put on a show when they met in Week 3 last season in Foxboro. Making his second start, Watson threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns. But he also had a pair of picks, including one that led to a Patriots touchdown. Trailing 28-20 in the third quarter, Watson tossed his second scoring pass of the game and the Texans used a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to build a 33-28 advantage with under three minutes to play.
However, like he’s done countless times in his career, Brady led the Pats on a game-winning drive hitting Cooks with a touchdown pass with only 23 seconds remaining. Brady was 25 of 35 for 378 yards with five scoring passes. New England won its fifth straight regular season game over the Texans and the Pats have taken seven of eight overall.
Free ATS Pick
Somehow Brady finds a way to beat the Texans. And it’s not just Houston. He did it last year with a vintage performance and although the names have changed in 2018, Brady is still Brady and he makes everyone around him better.
Houston is banking on the successful return of Watson and having J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus back, along with Jadeveon Clowney and Tyrann Matthieu, the Texans should be stronger defensively. I think the teams are evenly-matched and the spread is high, so taking the visitors and six points is the smart play. The teams can put up points like we saw in last year’s game, and the stage isn’t too big for Watson.
NFL Betting Odds: Patriots 27, Texans 24
BookMaker offers play-by-play betting odds for live sporting events every day! The user-friendly wagering interface on your smartphone provides an easy way to place bets on the go. Mobile betting lines are updated by the minute, so click here to start gambling on thrilling live action at BookMaker Sportsbook!