Oakland Raiders-Houston Texans Picks Against the Spread

Senior analyst Larry Hartstein breaks down Raiders-Texans from a betting perspective to get you set for the first game of Wild Card Weekend.


OAKLAND RAIDERS AT HOUSTON TEXANS (-3.5, O/U 36.5), Sat., 4:30 p.m. ET

For the Derek Carr-less Raiders to pull the upset Saturday, or at least cover, they must run the ball effectively.

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Sat 01/07 4:35 PM EST
Oakland +170 O/U 37.5
Houston -200 -4

Their Week 11 win over Houston in Mexico City does not provide much optimism.

Even with the threat of Carr throwing to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Oakland mustered just 30 yards on 20 carries (1.5 ypc).

Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney blew up several Latavius Murray rushes.

Clowney made five stops, two for losses, and he also pressured Carr into an interception. The No. 1 overall pick in 2014 sat out Houston's regular-season finale to help recover fully from nagging elbow and wrist injuries.

Clowney at nearly full health -- he got a sack in each of his last three games -- spells trouble for an Oakland offense led by Connor Cook, the rookie out of Michigan State.

Brock Osweiler gets the start for Houston in place of Tom Savage (concussion). Though Osweiler has been terrible, he's backed by the better defense.

And Lamar Miller returns "fresh" after missing the last two games with an ankle injury. In the 27-20 loss in Mexico City, Miller burned the Raiders for 104 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

Oakland gave up 143 rushing yards to Denver in the regular-season finale, though the Broncos gained just 3.6 per carry. Look for a heavy dose of Miller and Osweiler's favorite target, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz.

Despite a lot of indicators favoring Houston, consider this: The Texans got outscored by 49 points this season.


Books opened Houston -3 and quickly moved to -3.5. A brief flirtation with Houston -4 occurred Wednesday, then the line fell back to Texans -3.5. Per SportsInsights, 62 percent of the bets are on the Texans.

"The betting community has reacted to the rookie starting for Oakland, which essentially moved this line off the key number of 3," said Scott Cooley, odds consultant for BookMaker.eu.

"As soon as we went to -4, we quickly saw some sharp money on Oakland to bring it back to -3.5. Of course, given the quarterback situation for both teams, the total has plummeted a point and we?ve got around 70 percent of the action on the under."

The drop in the total from 37.5 to 36.5 is significant, as it passed the key number of 37 (20-17, 27-10, 24-13).


The Raiders are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 overall. The road team has covered four of the past five meetings.

Houston is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games overall.

The Under is 6-0 in Houston's last six games following an ATS loss, and 5-1 in Houston's last six games overall. The Over is 7-3 in Oakland's last 10 games overall.


Former Vegas bookmaker Micah Roberts has a strong play on this game. Get all SportsLine expert picks on Raiders-Texans.