Free Sports Picks: Home CFB CBB MLB MMA Boxing Super Bowl
LootMeister NFL Picks
Online SportsbooksBest Sportsbook Bonuses

Oakland Raiders vs. Houston Texans Point Spread - Pick

Oakland Raiders (12-4 SU, 10-6 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (9-7 SU, 6-9-1 ATS)
AFC Wild Card Playoff
Date/Time: Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 4:35PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Betting Odds: OAK +3.5/HOU -3.5
Over/Under Total: 36.5

The Oakland Raiders come to NRG Stadium on the 7th to face the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs. Neither team is really hitting the postseason in ideal form. The Raiders saw things come unhinged late in the season with the injury to Derek Carr. Against Denver in a key loss on Sunday that cost them the division and a first-round bye, backup Matt McGloin went down with a shoulder issue, replaced by rookie Connor Cook. A team that held so much promise a few weeks ago is now a major question mark. Meanwhile, the Texans are coming off a loss to the Titans on Sunday, but had already sewn up the division. After losing Tom Savage, they went back to Brock Osweiler and also enter this game with some questions at quarterback.

These teams met on November 21 in a week 11 matchup, with the Raiders beating Houston in Oakland, 27-20. Normally, that game would be a greater source of info, but with the personnel changes since then on both teams, maybe not so much. But a few things stuck out from that game. On the ground, the Texans were far better, with Lamar Miller going over 100 yards against the dicey Oakland run-defense. Oakland relied more on aerial production, something that could raise eyebrows heading into this game with Carr now sidelined. Still, most of their passing work in that game was of the short variety, with Carr hitting his backs for short dinky completions. And the Oakland offensive line did well in protecting Carr and will need to do so again with whoever ends up being center for Oakland.

The Texans are an easy team to overlook, also entering the postseason with some QB issues. Not a lot of teams end up winning their division despite scoring 279 points, while giving up 328 points. They won a lot of close games and were beaten conclusively in some losses. And they covered only 6 spreads all season. With Osweiler being benched, the Texans went with Tom Savage, who suffered a concussion on Sunday. Osweiler was hardly inspiring when put back into action. By the same token, this is a team that managed to win its division without really ever having fine QB play all season. And at home, they were appreciably better, going 7-1 on the season. It's easy to blow off the Texans' postseason chances, but they find a way to win at home even if it's seldom impressive. The Texans just don't register along the lines in which we're accustomed. That especially applies on offense, as they're the league's 29th-ranked group. What makes it come together is the league's top-ranked defense, led by a top-notch secondary.

On offense, there isn't a lot to like about the Texans. And if you've tuned in and caught some Texans games this season, you were probably struck by how pedestrian they are on this side of the ball. Lamar Miller was pretty good, though inconsistent, in his first season in Houston, just over 1000 yards on the season. Alfred Blue has chipped in with 420 on the ground. Through the air, they're fairly subdued, ranked 29th in the league. DeAndre Hopkins was well off his normal numbers, going under 1000 yards on the season. Chipping in is rookie Will Fuller and a pair of productive tight ends in CJ Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin. The offense averages just over 17 points a game with 27 points being their high-water mark of the season.

The Houston defense really got its act together this season, despite some key losses, including JJ Watt. They've gotten a good pass-rush from Whitney Mercillus, Jadeveon Clowney (questionable), and Benardrick McKinney. In the secondary, they've gotten good play from Quintin Demps, Andre Hal, Kareem Jackson. Corey Moore, and AJ Bouye. Only one team scored in the 30's against them all season. And regardless of how wayward the offense seems, this defense is usually able to keep them in the game. And again, at home, this defense has been a bit better, giving up an average of just 17 points a game.

Regardless of how you feel about Oakland in general, it's hard to not feel bad for them and how the season has ended. You'd like to think the offense can soldier on with that good offensive line, run-game, and balanced approach. But Derek Carr was a big part of this Oakland renaissance this season and suddenly not having him is a major blow to their chances. With a divisional title and a first-round bye at stake, they couldn't even be marginally competitive with a Denver team that had nothing to play for on Sunday other than pride or wanting to send coach Kubiak off on a positive note. The 24-6 loss was a bad first peek at a Carr-less Raiders bunch.


The Raiders will now have to call upon that character and grit that they developed this season—first by resurrecting a long-suffering franchise and in the way they pulled out so many close games. They are a team with some fire and they now call on that in light of the dilapidated QB situation. Despite how they've looked since Carr has been out of action, scoring 6 points in the last five quarters, perhaps not everything in so bleak for the Raiders. They worked on overall balance this season, with the aerial game still a big part of the plan, but with more reliance on defense and the run-game. And for those things, a quarterback needn't be great. If they can get the run game cooking and call on more from their defense, with some key throws to Crabtree and Cooper here and there, it's not hard to imagine the Raiders getting back on the right track against the Texans.

This is a big moment for the Oakland defense—an imperfect group, but also one that has shown a lot of moxie this season, in addition to having a nice playmaking ability. Against Houston, their lack of a good run-stop becomes an issue. They need the good things about this defense to surface this week—a good pass-rush led by Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. And playmaking was a big part of a secondary that wasn't all that stout, led by Reggie Nelson and his five picks, along with Sean Smith, David Amerson, and others. Can they keep the Houston offense in check to the extent where a suddenly-dicey Oakland offense can surface?

There are a lot of considerations in this game. Houston's quarterback situation isn't all that much better than Oakland's, but they're accustomed to it more and have shown they can continue to win in the midst of it. Oakland hasn't. But despite all that, this game has the earmarks of a close contest where having the points might just be a big help. I'm taking Oakland and the points.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Oakland Raiders plus 3.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Oaland vs. Houston wild card playoff game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!

Share this article with friends:

Leave a comment:

Quit wasting your hard earned money! Make the switch from -110 to -105 odds today
You'll be so glad that you did! Click Here!
Doc's Sports NFL Picks

NFL Betting

  • Reduced Juice - Loot explains how reduced odds football betting works and where you can find this valuable asset.
  • What is a Point Spread? - Many new to the game struggle to understand why one side has a (+) while the other has a (-) in front of a team. We explain what the spread is and how it works.
  • Football Bets - All the different types of wagers that you can make when betting on football games.
  • What Professional Handicappers Do - Learn the tricks of the trade and increase your odds of beating the books!
  • Key Numbers - The article that bookies don't want you to read!
  • NFL Betting Quiz - Test your football wagering prowess with Loot's 10 question quiz!
  • Super Bowl 52 Predictions - Loot gives his preseason picks for which teams are most likely to win "the big game" along with middle of the road and a longshot that is sure to surprise you!
  • 2017 NFL Season Wins Predictions - Loot breaks down every team and gives his opinion on how they'll do vs. the number!
  • 2017 NFL Bye Weeks - The first set start in Week 5 and the final byes take place in Week 11. Loot also gives tips on betting on teams coming off byes.
  • 2017 NFL Coaching Changes - We seem to be in an era where football coaches become disposable in an instant if they don't win. 2016 was no different as a handful of teams made the switch. Check out who went where right here!


  • Famous Football Players - Biographies of the best and greatest NFL football players of all-time.
  • Greatest NFL Players of All Time - A list of all time greats at each position. Each position has it's own dedicated article!
  • Best Quarterbacks of All Time - Joe Montana heads our list of top 10 QB's, however, Tom Brady is a sure bet to give him a run for his money by the time his career is said and done.
  • Best Running Backs of All Time - We list the top 10 greatest ball carriers of all-time. The order may be debatable, as Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and Walter Payton all brought something special to the gridiron.
  • Football Lingo - One must be very familiar with all of the terms, slang and jargon associated with this game to win at football betting. Find a slew of pigskin terminology right here!
  • Football Quotes - Funny and memorable sayings from around the National Football League including comments made by Vince Lombardi and John Madden.

Other Great Sites

  • Predictem - Weekly NFL picks from one of the most knowledgeable sports handicappers on the web. Tons of great football betting advice articles here too!
Reduced Juice Sports Betting 100% Sportsbook Bonus Best Parlay Odds Online