Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Houston -3 over Denver
1:00 PM EST. The Broncos have engineered the most significant turnaround story so far this season, as they've won five straight games after starting the season 1-5. The pundits have been gushing about the job that head coach Sean Payton has done to steady the ship, turning the Broncos into a "ball control" offense that "doesn't make mistakes." Those are nice talking points, but not turning the ball over is not an offensive system with any sort of sustainability or reliability over time. If "not turning the ball over" were an offensive system, every team in this league would run it. Let's not forget that this is the same team that gave up 70 points to the Dolphins and lost to both the Jets and Commanders earlier this season.
The Broncos just beat the Browns in a game where they limited Cleveland to just 269 yards of offense, but let's get real; what did anyone really expect backup quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to do in place of the injured Deshaun Watson? We've also seen the point made that the Broncos put up 29 points against one of the best defenses in the NFL, but that defense is severely underserved when the offense loses its starting QB, and anyone can have a bad day at the office. It's also worth noting the Browns suffered multiple significant injuries in that game including Thompson-Robinson, Amari Cooper and Myles Garrett.
The Broncos' five wins, which include four covers, look good on paper, as Cleveland, Minnesota, Buffalo, Kansas City, and Green Bay all have some market standing, but in reality, two of those wins came against backup QBs (Browns and Vikings), while the Bills are a total disaster with the Packers not far behind. The only "good" win was their drubbing of the Chiefs, and full credit for it, but one win does not make a season, and when it's surrounded by four others, it leaves the Broncos overvalued.
The Texans bring a top-10 offense and the NFL's leading Rookie of the Year candidate (and it's not close) CJ Stroud to the table here, but Houston is not getting the love this week like it was last week after losing a tough luck game to the Jaguars. Disappointing as it was, there is value in the fact that Stroud put his team into a position to win after going down by double digits a couple of times in that game. Not only was Stroud good last week, but he's done it week in and week out this season, and while this play would be a fade on the overachieving Broncos, we have no hesitation in getting behind C.J. and the Texans, a team and QB combo that has proven its reliability many times this season already.
To summarize, the Broncos are one of the hottest teams in football, and now they are taking back better than a field goal against a Texans side that, while improved and winning games, is just 1-4 Against the Spread over their last five games, while the Broncos are 4-1 ATS across that same time. To the uninclined, that "hook" on a "key number" like three is going to look tempting, but we know better. The oddsmakers do not trust the Broncos in this spot, and they are begging the market ride the hot but very misleading hand. Broncos are fraudlent, Texans are not.
Houston -3 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)