The Houston Texans (4-10) will host the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) in the first of two games on Monday (Christmas Day). Kickoff is set for 4:30 EST at NRG Stadium and will be televised nationally on NBC.
Oddsmakers are split on this one, depending on where you shop you can get the Steelers as low as a 8.5-point favorite and the Texans as high as a 10-point dog. The total for this one is at 44. Check out our Week 16 NFL odds page for a full betting schedule and for more links to our game previews.
Steelers vs Texans Vegas Betting Odds & Game Preview
Pittsburgh comes into this game off a crushing 24-27 home loss to the Patriots as a 2.5-point underdog. The Steelers led 24-16 with less than 5-minutes to play. New England cut the deficit to 19-24 with a field with 3:56 left to play. After Pittsburgh failed to run out the clock, the Patriots went 77 yards in 5-plays for the go-ahead TD and 2-point conversion to take a 27-24 lead. The Steelers got the ball back with 52 seconds to go and on their very first play hit a short pass to Juju Smith-Schuster that he took 69 yards to the Patriots 10-yard line. It looked like worse case the game would go to OT, but Ben Roethlisberger did a fake spike and threw it into triple-coverage, which NE picked off to secure the win.
As for the Texans, they might as well have stayed home instead of making the trip to Jacksonville in Week 15. Houston lost 45-7 as a 10.5-point dog to the Jaguars and it was every bit as ugly as the score would suggest. The Texans trailed 31-0 at the half, were outgained by 278 yards and had just 9 first downs the entire game. Houston is now just 1-6 since losing star rooking QB Deshaun Watson to a season-ending injury.
Free NFL Betting Pick Against the Spread & Predictions: Texans +10
As difficult as it might be, I think you have to take the points with Houston at home if you are to play the spread in this game. The betting public is going to want absolutely nothing to do with the Texans in this game and as a result the books have had no choice but to inflate this line and I think there’s more than enough value here to stomach backing a team that just lost by 38-points in their last game.
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I know Houston has nothing to play for at this point in the season, but I actually think we are going to get one of the better efforts from the Texans in the last couple of months. No team likes to be embarrassed the way Houston was in their last game against Jacksonville. They certainly aren’t going to want a repeat of that on their home field in a nationally televised game on Christmas Day.
As for the Steelers, I think they are going to have a much harder time than people think to bounce back with a strong effort here. It’s a lot easier to bounce back from a blowout loss than it is to rebound from a gut-wrenching defeat like the Steelers suffered last week against the Patriots. Keep in mind that’s a game Pittsburgh had circled on their calendar for weeks. It’s almost impossible for them to not suffer some kind of letdown here.
Let’s also not forget that prior to that game the Steelers had been flirting with disaster. In their previous 6 games, they trailed by double-digits going into the 4th quarter against the Ravens and Bengals. Needed overtime to beat the Packers without Aaron Rodgers at home 31-28. They trailed the Colts 3-17 in the 2nd half of a 20-17 win and were bailed out by bad coaching in a 10-15 win agains the Lions.
Not to mention the Steelers aren’t nearly the same team on the road as they are at home, especially on offense. Pittsburgh is averaging 28.3 ppg at home compared to just 20.9 ppg on the road. On top of that, they aren’t going to have star wide out Antonio Brown, who was in the MVP talks. Another big injury that can’t be overlooked is the loss of Ryan Shazier on the defensive side of the ball. Since he went down the defense hasn’t been the same. Give me the Texans +10.