The New England Patriots and Houston Texans are ramping up for an AFC Divisional Round showdown that looks to be quite exciting.
Despite the fact that the Pats absolutely annihilated this exact foe in a Week 14 Monday Night Football matchup, anything could happen when the two take the field on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 4:30 p.m. ET.
We’re going to try our best to figure out exactly how the game will shake out and help out the undecided gamblers with some suggestions on which way to lean against the spread and on the point total in this contest.
*Point spreads and total provided by ScoresAndOdds.com. Home team in CAPS.
Point spread: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-9.5) over Houston Texans
We’re going with the home team. The Pats have already exhibited dominance over Houston and have plenty of momentum going into this one.
While the Texans were busy squandering away three of their last four regular-season matchups and dropping from the No. 1 to No. 3 seed in the AFC, the Patriots were soundly beating opponents and earned a much-needed bye as the conference’s second seed.
Now that the explosive New England offense has a week of rest and preparation under its belt—something that should never be underestimated with coach Bill Belichick at the helm—they are ready to unload on Houston.
It’s also helpful that the Pats had a bye in order to get their banged-up defense patched back together and ready to devise another game plan to shut down Arian Foster, Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and the other elite players on the Texans.
We think this will be a bit closer than the Week 14 game, but ultimately New England will advance to the AFC Championship Game with a 10-point victory.
Over/Under: Over 48
Any time the Patriots are involved in a battle with the Texans, it’s best to lean toward the over. In their three historical matchups dating back to 2003, each has gone over, including that Week 14 blowout.
However, an even smarter rule of thumb is to take the Patriots over in general during the 2012 campaign, as they have gone over the total in an overwhelming majority of their contests—including four of the last five.
If you think this will be yet another high-scoring frenzy—and we certainly do with the amount of offensive talent involved—lean toward the O and cash your ticket on Sunday night.