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Houston Texans betting odds, Week 1 Vegas spread and Deshaun Watson NFL MVP chances

The Texans won the AFC South at 10-6 last season, but the division could be even more competitive this time around. Here is how their schedule breaks down:
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While Houston Texans GM/coach Bill O'Brien surely didn't make star QB Deshaun Watson very happy when O'Brien dealt away All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona this offseason,. Watson is surely smiling now that he just signed a four-year, $160 million extension with the Texans worth $111 million guaranteed. The $40 million average annual value in new money makes Watson the second-highest paid quarterback in the NFL behind Patrick Mahomes. The Texans visit Mahomes' Chiefs on Thursday in the Kickoff Game with defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City as a 9-point favorite on the NFL odds.    

Even though the Texans are defending AFC South champions and have one of the league's biggest stars in Watson, they have no Sunday or Monday night games scheduled for this season -- it's the first time since 2011 that Houston will not play on a Monday. The lone prime-time matchup is the Kickoff Game. Houston is 2-1 SU in season-opening prime-time games. This will be the first time it plays the first NFL game of a season.

One nice benefit his year is the Texans won't fly west of Houston and will travel nearly 7,000 miles less than they did in 2019 when they had to go to London and the West Coast. Houston's 21,312 air miles last year were the most in franchise history. This year, the longest trip will be to Pittsburgh.

Houston went 7-8-1 ATS in the 2019 regular season, then 1-1 ATS in the playoffs, and it covered two games in a row just once, crushing Atlanta 53-32 in Week 5 and beating the Chiefs by a touchdown the following week with Mahomes hobbled by an ankle injury. While Mahomes is the +350 favorite to win a second NFL MVP Award, Watson is a +1400 fourth-favorite.

HOUSTON TEXANS BETTING PROFILE  

2019 record: 10-6 (first, AFC South)

2019 against the spread: 8-9-1 ATS

2019 ATS margin: -0.9

2019 Over-Under: 8-10 O-U

2020 strength of schedule: Tied for eighth-toughest; Texans opponents combined for a .518 winning percentage last year (132-123-1).

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WILLIAM HILL 2020 HOUSTON TEXANS FUTURES ODDS

Win total: 8.0 (Under -155)

To make playoffs: No -180, yes +155

Division: +300 to win AFC South

Conference: +3000 to win AFC

Super Bowl: +600 to win SB 55

MVP: QB Deshaun Watson +1400

Defensive POY: DE J.J. Watt +900

Defensive ROY: DT Ross Blalock +6600

Comeback POY: DE J.J. Watt +600, RB David Johnson +4000

Coach of the Year: Bill O'Brien +5000

SportsLine Model's projection: 7.5 wins (Pick is Under)

HOUSTON TEXANS GAME-BY-GAME BETTING TRENDS

Week 1 at Kansas City, 8:20 PM ET (Thursday): Before Mahomes' rally in the Divisional Round of the playoffs last season, the Texans had won two of three (3-0 ATS) at Arrowhead Stadium. 

Week 2 vs. Baltimore, 4:25 PM ET: The Ravens are 8-2 (6-4 ATS) all-time against Houston, but the Texans have won SU and ATS in the past two at home. 

Week 3 at Pittsburgh, 1 PM ET: The Steelers are 4-1 SU and ATS since Houston won 24-6 as a 14-point underdog in the inaugural meeting (2002).   

Week 4 vs. Minnesota, 1 PM ET: Minnesota has won all four matchups (4-0 ATS), with a 23-6 win in 2012 the only game that went Under the total.   

Week 5 vs. Jacksonville, 1 PM ET: Houston has won eight of the past 10 when hosting the Jags but is just 4-6 ATS.   

Week 6 at Tennessee, 1 PM ET: Six of the last eight meetings in Nashville have gone Under.  

Week 7 vs. Green Bay, 1 PM ET: The Texans are 4-7-1 ATS in non-conference games the past three seasons. 

Week 8 BYE: The Texans are 6-3 ATS coming off a bye week since 2011.  

Week 9 at Jacksonville, 1 PM ET: Houston has won SU and ATS in five of the past six in Jacksonville, four times as an underdog. 

Week 10 at Cleveland, 1 PM ET: Houston is 7-1 SU and ATS in the past eight meetings, winning the past four (dating to 2011) by at least 16 points.     

Week 11 vs. New England, 1 PM ET: Houston (+3) beat the visiting Pats 28-22 in Week 13 last season, but New England won six straight before that (4-2 ATS).  

Week 12 at Detroit, 12:30 PM ET (Thanksgiving): The Texans have won three of the four all-time meetings but are 1-3 ATS.  

Week 13 vs. Indianapolis, 1 PM ET: The Texans won 20-17 at home last year but had won just one of the previous six (0-5-1 ATS) in Houston.    

Week 14 at Chicago, 1 PM ET: The Texans have won all four meetings (4-0 ATS), and the Under is 3-1.

Week 15 at Indianapolis, TBD ET (Saturday or Sunday): The Texans lost their first 13 games at Indianapolis (2002-14) but are 3-2 SU and ATS in the last five there.   

Week 16 vs. Cincinnati, 1 PM ET: Houston has won six of the past seven matchups (5-2 ATS), with the last coming in 2017.  

Week 17 vs. Tennessee, 1 PM The Over is 8-1 in the past nine home meetings, with the Texans 7-2 ATS.

Some trends contributed by SDQL Gurus        

EXPERT PICK FROM FORMER VEGAS BOOKMAKER MICAH ROBERTS: No play. 

The Texans were a bottom-five defensive squad allowing 24 ppg last season and they don't look much improved. The offense will put points on the board but Johnson isn't the answer at RB and nobody can replace Hopkins. The number is right there with the most likely win total being seven or eight wins. I don't see a gimme on the road making 1-7 or 2-6 a distinct possibility. It's a no play for the win total and definitely not a play to win the division or make the playoffs.

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SportsLine Staff