Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens Pick ATS
Following a fun weekend of NFL wild-card betting action, the divisional round kicks off Saturday afternoon when the top-seeded Ravens host the upstart Texans for an AFC playoff bout in Baltimore.
QB Lamar Jackson, who will win his second MVP award this season, leads his Ravens against a kid who looks like he'll win one eventually, too, CJ Stroud and his Houston team.
The Texans won a wild-card game last weekend, while Baltimore enjoyed the week off. How might that affect this game?
NFL Playoffs Betting Odds
The NFL playoffs betting market opened Baltimore at -8.5 for Saturday, with an over/under of right around 46. Early betting action then bumped that spread to 9.5 and dipped that total to 43.5.
From three days out, the forecast calls for wind and temps in the 20's for Saturday in Baltimore. Perhaps that's what caused that total to drop.
Texans-Ravens Playoff Betting Preview
Houston reached this AFC divisional-round bout by beating Cleveland in a wild-card game last Saturday 45-14. The Texans trailed the Browns 14-10 early in the second quarter but used a couple of big plays to lead 24-14 at the half. Houston then put the game away in the third quarter with a pair of pick-6s, on its way to a rousing victory in front of a hungry home crowd.
The Texans also cashed in, getting +120 on the wild-card money line.
Houston out-gained Cleveland 356-324, but most importantly, they punched that Browns defense early, piling up almost 300 yards in the first half alone. The Texans were gonna win that game without those defensive scores.
Houston's actually been playing elimination games for a while now. Three weeks ago, needing a victory to stay alive in the AFC playoff picture, the Texans beat Tennessee 26-3. Then, in a do-or-die season finale, Houston won at Indianapolis 23-19.
The Texans got gouged by the Colts for 227 yards on the ground. They won the game anyway, but that is a bit concerning, heading into a match-up against this Baltimore ground attack.
Meanwhile, the Ravens reached this divisional round by going 13-4 during the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC. So Baltimore enjoyed last week off.
The Ravens started 3-2 this season, with a rather uninspiring victory over this Houston team and losses to Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. But Baltimore then used a 10-1 run that included blow-out wins over NFC North champion Detroit and NFC West champion San Francisco to take control in the AFC. The Ravens clinched the top seed with a week to spare, then closed out their regular season with a meaningless 17-10 loss to Pittsburgh two weeks ago.
Baltimore sat a bunch of starters against the Steelers, including QB Jackson, so they should be well rested. But we remember when the Ravens did something similar back in 2019, entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, then laid an egg in their divisional-round game against the Titans.
Last weekend, three teams that sat bunches of starters in Week 18 played wild-card games; Kansas City beat Miami and covered at -5; the Rams lost at Detroit but covered at +3; and Cleveland got roasted by Houston.
On the injury front, the Texans are a little banged up at wide receiver, and they list seven defensive starters as questionable for Saturday. You gotta guess most of those guys will play, but will they be limited? Meanwhile, Baltimore lists two defensive starters as Q.
Texans-Ravens Recent History
Baltimore owns a four-game winning streak on Houston, going 3-1 ATS along the way. Most recently, back in Week 1 of this season, the Ravens beat the Texans also in Baltimore 25-9.
The Ravens only led that game 7-6 at the half but pulled away in the second half and covered at -9.5. But Baltimore did not dominate Houston that day.
Frankly, both these teams are better now than they showed that day.
Also, that game fell under the total line of 44, as the teams combined for less than 600 yards of total offense.
These teams played seven common opponents this season: AFC North and South members and the Arizona Cardinals. Houston played those foes to 8-3 SU, 7-4 ATS, and Baltimore (ignoring that last meaningless contest) to 6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS.
NFL Betting Trends
Houston is 10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS this season with Stroud as the starter at QB, averaging 23 PPG.
Baltimore is 1-3 in both SU and ATS in playoff games with Jackson at QB.
The Unders played 11-6 in Texans games this season, which averaged 43 total points. But last week's wild-card game against Cleveland flew past a total of 45
The Unders played 9-8 in Ravens games, which averaged 45 points.
The totals split 3-3 in the wild-card games last weekend.
The Unders played 4-0 during the divisional round of last year's playoffs.
Texans vs. Ravens
Houstons cost us money the last two weeks, not because we don't think they're a good team; we just thought the Colts and Browns, with advantages in the running games, would win. And were thinking along the same lines for this game. Baltimore averages 157 YPG on the ground, which allows them to control the clock and limit turnovers. And look what the Ravens did to teams like the Lions, Seahawks, 49ers, and Dolphins this season: average margin of victory - four touchdowns. And you know Jackson would love to put an end to his playoff slump. We had good luck betting on Baltimore this season and were giving the points for Saturday.