If this was a few weeks into the season, I would probably lean with the Saints here. But it's Week 1, and we know how New Orleans plays out of the gate. Plus, Houston has completely loaded up for this season to try and make a Super Bowl push behind a healthy Deshaun Watson. This should be a relatively close game, so I'll take the points and Texans in this one. But the Saints at home is always scary.
This line has been on the move quite a bit today, and it still varies between 6.5 and 7 depending on where you're at. If you can find Houston +7, I like it. If not, I'd avoid it. Deshaun Watson typically plays his best football in primetime spots, and his performance is markedly better when the Texans are playing from behind. With the way I expect this game to go, I think that'll be the case tonight, and Watson will keep this one close at a minimum.
Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times last season and the Texans still went 11-5. What happens if Watson actually gets some protection? Houston may have mortgaged its future by trading so much for Laremy Tunsil, but at least Watson has a shot at a healthy, huge 2019. Drew Brees fizzled at the end of last year, and the Saints traditionally fizzle to open the season (they lost at least their first two games from 2014-17, and their opener last year). No reason to think the Texans won’t keep it close.
The Saints closed out last season going 0-5 ATS, including both playoff games, and I’m looking for the streak to continue in what I expect to be a high-scoring game with the visiting Texans. There isn’t much edge to the number, but I do see Houston asserting itself early in the season and having its rating rise quickly before a key Week 6 AFC matchup at Kansas City in what could be a possible Championship Game preview. I like the Texans a lot this season, and I took the points.
The Texans have averaged 31 points when Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are in the lineup. They're all healthy for Week 1, and they get a Saints team that hasn't won a season opener since 2013. Grab the points in what should be an entertaining shootout.
Here's a dirty little secret about the Saints: They just don't start the season well, no matter how good the team is overall. They've won just one of their last 10 games in the first two weeks of the season, and that was a sloppy game against the Hue Jackson/Tyrod Taylor Browns last year that they deserved to lose. I don't love Houston this year, so if this game was in Week 10, I'd probably like the Saints. But this is a spot where the Texans -- an 11-5 team last year, remember -- can come in and have success.
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