NFL Live Betting: Texans Hoping Case Keenum Can Save Season versus Colts
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | Nov. 1, 2013
It’s only Week 9 of the NFL season, but the Indianapolis Colts can take a huge step toward winning the AFC South title and all but ending the Texans’ playoff hopes with a victory at Houston on Sunday night. Indy opened as a 2-point favorite at Bovada with a total of 43.5.
The Colts and Texans both had a bye in Week 8. Indianapolis will play their second-straight Sunday night game; the first was on October 20 when they upset visiting Denver 39-33 in Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis. Andrew Luck was terrific and outplayed Manning, throwing for three touchdowns and running for another, ending Denver’s 17-game regular-season winning streak.
The Colts defense gave Manning fits all night and held Denver to its fewest points all season. Indianapolis had four sacks and forced three turnovers. Colts linebacker Robert Mathis is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate as he leads the NFL with 11.5 sacks. That puts Mathis on pace for around 26, which would shatter the NFL record of 22.5 set by the Giants’ Michael Strahan in 2001. If there’s one concern about the Colts defense it’s that it allows 122.3 rushing yards per game, No. 28 in the NFL. The Colts (5-2, 4-3 ATS) lead Tennessee by two games in the division and Houston by three. Indianapolis is the -800 favorite to win the South with the Texans and Titans both at +800.
Houston (2-5, NFL-worst 1-6 ATS) was among the preseason AFC favorites but has been arguably the biggest disappointment in the NFL after winning a franchise-record 12 games last year to finish a game ahead of Indianapolis in the AFC South. Much of the focus of Houston’s struggles has been on quarterback Matt Schaub, and he will stay on the bench for this game in favor of Case Keenum. Schaub practiced this week after sitting out a Week 7 loss to Kansas City with a sprained ankle and foot. Schaub will be the No. 2.
Keenum was one of the most prolific passers in NCAA history at the University of Houston. He finished his career with Division I records for completions (1,546), passing yards (19,217) and touchdowns (155). Yet Keenum wasn’t drafted and spent all of last season on the Houston practice squad. He made his first start two weeks ago against Kansas City and was solid, going 15 of 25 for 271 yards and a touchdown against the NFL’s No. 1 defense. Keenum brought a deep threat the team had been missing. He completed three of five pass attempts of longer than 20 yards; in the previous four games Houston had attempted just six of those type of passes.
With the Colts weak against the run, the Texans could rely heavily on running back Arian Foster. He left the Kansas City loss early with a hamstring injury but expects to play Sunday. He will be a game-time decision, however. In the three games before the Chiefs, Foster had totaled 341 yards. He only has one rushing TD this season after 15 in 2012. Foster’s backup, Ben Tate, also will be a game-time call.
Last season, Houston and Indianapolis split, each winning at home. The Texans won 29-17 in Week 15 to clinch the AFC South behind 165 yards rushing from Foster and 11 catches, 151 yards and a TD from star receiver Andre Johnson. Luck was 13 of 27 for 186 yards and two scores but was sacked five times, three by JJ Watt.
In Week 17 the Colts won 28-16 in the return of coach Chuck Pagano from a leave due to leukemia treatment. Luck threw for two scores, while Schaub didn’t have a TD throw and was picked off twice. The loss cost the Texans the No. 2 seed in the AFC.