The New England Patriots will host the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Kickoff is set for 8:15 EST Saturday at Gillette Stadium and will be televised on CBS. Oddsmakers have New England as a 15.5-point favorite with the total at 44.5 points. Click here for a complete look at the NFL betting odds for this weekend.

Texans vs Patriots Vegas Odds Preview

Houston prevailed 27-14 at home over the Raiders on Wild Card weekend. While a win is a win, there’s reason to not overreact to the victory. The Texans caught a major break with Oakland playing without starting QB Derek Carr. Not only that, but the Raiders were also without backup Matt McGloin. They had to turn to rookie Connor Cook, who was making his first career start. Cook went 18 of 45 for 161 yards with 1 TD and 3 interceptions.

As they do just about every year, New England got a bye in the first round. The Patriots have made the playoffs each of the last eight seasons. Only once during this stretch have they played a Wild Card game. New England hasn’t lost a home game in the Divisional Round since falling to the Jets 21-28 back in 2010.

These two teams faced off in the regular season. It was a Week 3 showdown at New England on Thursday Night Football. As most of you will recall, that was back when Brady was suspended. The Patriots won 27-0 behind 3rd string quarterback Jacoby Brissett. New England has won 5 straight and 7 of 8 overall in the series.

Free Betting Pick & Predictions: Patriots -15.5

Laying this many points in a playoff game is not something I like to do. However, if I were going to play this game, I would have to side with New England. If there’s one team you can trust with a big number, it’s the Patriots.

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The fact that Houston lost to the Patriots by 27 with Brissett instead of Brady at quarterback really says it all. Keep in mind that Brissett was a rookie making his first career start. He only completed 11 of 19 passes for 103 yards. Basically the Pats won by 27 without the threat of a passing game.

On top of that, you have a Texans team that was lucky to make the playoffs. Plus, they got a favorable matchup as you will see in the postseason with the Raiders being without Carr. I know nothing is certain in the NFL, but Houston isn’t winning this game.

Now it’s just a matter of how much they lose by. I believe it will take a near perfect performance just for them to keep this within the number. Houston’s offense is awful and Belichick feasts on bad quarterbacks like Brock Osweiler. Not to mention the Patriots have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They ranked 4th in total defense (326.4 ypg) and led the league in scoring defense (15.6 ppg).

You also have to factor the Patriots being able to put up a big number offensively. I know the Texans have a good defense, but it wasn’t nearly as good on the road. Houston could also be minus a key player in safety Quintin Demps. Who is questionable with a hamstring injury. Demps led the Texans with 6 interceptions (rest of team had 5 combined).

It’s also worth noting that the Texans still had J.J. Watt the first time these two teams played. I know Jadeveon Clowney has emerged since Watt’s departure. The thing is, Belichick is going to have a game plan in place to make sure Clowney doesn’t dominate them. Much like they did in the first meeting with Watt.

Simply put, the Patriots have the overwhelming advantage in all 3 phases of this game. That’s what you are looking for when you are considering laying a number like this.