Oakland Raiders vs. Houston Texans Betting Odds, Analysis, NFL Pick

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2017

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 18: Runningback Latavius Murray #28 of the Oakland Raiders runs for a gain during his team's game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 18, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Two teams with major quarterback issues will square off Saturday when the Houston Texans (9-7) host the Oakland Raiders (12-4) as small home favorites in the first AFC Wild Card Game. According to Houston's Twitter feed, coach Bill O'Brien decided to go back to former starter Brock Osweiler under center, while the Raiders have yet to confirm whether Matt McGloin or rookie Connor Cook will start.

                

Point spread: The Texans opened as 1.5-point favorites; the total was 36.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark (line updates and matchup report).

NFL pick, via OddsShark computer: 26.8-13.8 Texans (NFL picks on every game)

                

Why the Raiders can cover the spread

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The Raiders have the better overall team in this playoff matchup despite losing a legit NFL MVP candidate in quarterback Derek Carr, which played a part in them dropping to a 0.4 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl, according to PredictionMachine.com.

Oakland got away from running the ball in a 24-6 loss to the Denver Broncos in the regular-season finale and will lean on Latavius Murray a lot more against the Texans, who ranked 12th in the league defensively, surrendering 99.7 yards per game on the ground.

             

Why the Texans can cover the spread

Houston did not use its home field well a year ago in a 30-0 Wild Card Game loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but the team went 7-1 straight up at NRG Stadium during the regular season with a 4-3-1 mark against the spread.

The only loss the Texans suffered at NRG Stadium came versus the San Diego Chargers, 21-13, in Week 12 during a three-game losing streak. They have since won three of four and will be counting on Osweiler to earn his paycheck following an up-and-down campaign. A new slate here can only help him right now.

                

Smart pick

The Super Bowl will be held in Houston, and Oakland had high hopes of playing there with Carr on the field. However, McGloin actually beat the Texans on the road back in 2013 for the Raiders, throwing for 197 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-23 upset as 10.5-point underdogs at online betting sites.

Oakland may be missing its star player but still has many more offensive options who are better than Houston's. Look for the Raiders to pull together and pull off another small upset this time around as Osweiler’s struggles continue.

                   

Betting trends

The total has gone over in the Raiders' last three games against the Texans.

The total has gone under in nine of the Texans' last 12 games at home.

The Raiders are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games in the playoffs.

All NFL lines and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.