Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:45 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Houston +13½ over Philadelphia
8:20 PM EST. The Eagles are off to their best start in 18 years after ripping off seven wins in a row. Philadelphia has burst onto the scene, so we’ll take some time to introduce you to their starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts. Hurts is going stride for stride with Buffalo’s Josh Allen when it comes to MVP consideration, which has grown the former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback’s public profile.
Those in fantasy circles were onto Hurts early, with his dual-threat abilities being valued greatly. In this, his breakout season, Hurts is getting tons of attention based on his ranking fifth in passer rating (105.1), seventh in completion percentage (67.0 percent) and being tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns (six). All while leading the only undefeated team in this league. That is to say, Hurts’ stock and the Eagles’ stock are both soaring.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Hurts is a Houston native. With that comes many outside variables that one would normally not have to deal with. Not only is dude traveling for a nationally televised game on a short week, but he’s had to hook up friends and family with tickets, gear and Lord knows what other accommodations. It’s the first time that Hurts has played in NRG Stadium where he was a ball boy for the Texans. That’s an added level of pressure that he normally does not have to deal with.
In their seven wins this season, the Eagles have been favored by 6 (at DET), 2½ (v MIN), 6 (at WSH), 6½ (v JAX), 5½ (at AZ), 6½ (v DAL) and 11 (v PIT). The largest margin Philly had to be asked to cover was last Sunday and it did so easily in that 35-13 final over the Steelers. It was a lopsided affair, no doubt, but it also came against a team that is a total mess. The Texans are not in the same position.
Houston is just 1-5-1 this season, but it has been a tough luck outfit that has deserved a better fate. The Texans have been competitive in nearly all of their games. Four of Houston's five losses have come by 10 points or fewer. There is a fine line between winning and losing, as well as covering and ripping up your tickets. Houston has a young pivot of its own in Davis Mills, who is also progressing this season. Mills has completed 149 of 236 attempts (63.1 percent) for 1,502 yards and eight touchdowns.
With the trade deadline passing this week, there was some talk that Houston wideout Bradin Cooks was going to be dealt, but when the dust settled, Cooks was still in southeast Texas. That’s good news for Mills, as Cooks has been by far his best option, racking up seven plays of 20 yards or more, including a season-long of 44 yards. Cooks also had 93 yards after the catch and converted 15 first downs.
The Texans have been a dog in all seven games this season, but this is the first time they’ve taken back double-digits at home. Cashing just one ticket in three home efforts, combined with the Texans facing an undefeated side, has them taking back inflated points. We’d also like to point out that this number is even more inflated when the influx of new players in the market and their propensity to wager on teasers is considered. The books have to protect themselves against those tickets.
If you don't know what a teaser is, forgive us for jumping the gun there. We’ll lay it down for you now. A teaser is a combination bet that allows the wagerer to manipulate the point-spread (in theory) to make that bet easier to win. There are many different types of teasers but 6, 7, and 10-point teasers are the most common. For example, let's say we wanted to tease the Eagles down 6-points in a three-game teaser, which is the most popular tease. That means they only have to win by 7½. to get that first leg of the teaser in. Notice how we are not able to cross through that key number of seven? To get to that, the books have to inflate the price. That is no accident.
While it is possible for the market to pump up the underdogs on a teaser ticket, the books have the data that shows a high majority of bettors are teasing diwn and not up. That fact allows us to take back inflated points on top of inflated points tonight and that’s precisely what we are going to do.
Houston +13½ -102 (Risking 2.04 units - To Win: 2.00)