Houston looks to start off a promising 2012 season with a win at Reliant Stadium and they are 13-point favorites in Vegas and at shops tracked by OddsShark.com.
While Miami owns a sparkling pedigree and has won Super Bowls, they are 0-6 against the league's newest franchise. The first four meetings were decided by three points or less.
"This line opened a few weeks back at -6 and was bet all the way to -13 this week," said Jack Randall, handicapping analyst at OddsShark.com. "That is a huge line move and indicates a huge volume of action on Houston."
Despite dealing with injuries to start wide receiver Andre Johnson, Houston got off to a 10-3 start overall and against the spread (ATS) last year. Unfortunately, after losing quarterback Matt Schaub, they finished the regular season with three straight losses (1-2 ATS).
Now, with Schaub, Johnson and running back Arian Foster healthy, the Texans are a popular pick to win the AFC South and to potentially do some serious damage come playoff time.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, have no such expectations. Stuck in the brutal AFC East with the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins are starting the rebuild process this season with rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill taking the reins.
Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas make up a talented backfield, but the passing game figures to be a work in progress all season long. Miami was 6-10 straight up and 9-7 ATS last season.
Houston is the biggest favorite on the board in Week 1 and for good reason. The Texans have the tools to compete for a bye in the AFC, and the Dolphins have major question marks on both sides of the ball, highlighted by the HBO special Hard Knocks.
Still, 13 points may be a bit high. After starting off last season 0-7 straight up and 1-6 ATS, the Dolphins finished 6-3 SU and 8-1 ATS.
Even without Vontae Davis (cut), this is still a pretty solid defense. Miami has never beaten Houston, but it has never lost to Houston by more than 10 points, either. Of note, Miami has played five straight September games under the total, according to one NFL odds site.
Look for Houston to extend its winning streak against Miami to seven, but to fail to cover the nearly two-TD spread.
PICK: Miami +13 (courtesy of PickShark.com)
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