Let's start with an understatement, as we tee up Sunday's AFC divisional playoff odds situation between the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots: Houston's last visit to Foxboro four weeks ago didn't go too well.
That's the understatement, as the Texans got pulverized, and it means that, even with a 9.5-point spread (at most shops tracked by OddsShark.com), bettors are pounding money behind Tom Brady and company.
The Texans will aim for a better outcome when they return to New England Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium (4:30 pm ET, CBS). And they have some NFL betting trends on their side to go along with a negative one for the Patriots (they are 1-6 ATS in their past seven playoff games).
Houston started 11-1 this season, but then lost three of its last four games, including an embarrassing 42-14 wipe-out at New England on Monday Night Football back on December 10. At the time, the Texans had thoughts of earning the top seed in the AFC playoffs; instead, they're the No. 3 seed.
As such, Houston had to host a Wild Card game last weekend, beating Cincinnati 19-13. The Texans out-rushed the Bengals 158-80, held the ball for almost 39 minutes and kept Cincy without an offensive touchdown.
But Houston struggled in the red zone, settling for three very short field goals.
New England, in its attempt to repeat as AFC champions, started 3-3 this season, then won seven games in a row, capped off by that romp over Houston. The Patriots then lost at home to San Francisco, then won their last two games to claim the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
New England finished its regular season with a 28-0 blanking of Miami two weeks ago.
By the numbers, the Texans out-gained opponents this season by a 375-316 yards per game margin and out-rushed foes 134-97.
The Patriots out-gained opponents 428-373 and out-rushed them 137-102.
In their victory over Houston last month, the Patriots jumped out to a 21-0 second-quarter lead and cruised from there, easily covering the spread as six-point favorites.
AFC Playoffs Pick: The Texans might be upset about being called frauds, but they looked like frauds against the Packers, Patriots, Vikings and Colts. We lay the wood and take New England minus the points. (courtesy of PickShark.com)