|Game: HOU vs PIT
Location: Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
NFL Betting Lines
Moneyline: Steelers -200 | Texans +168
The moneyline in the sportsbook has the Steelers priced in as a modest favorite. Let’s realize in the early stages of an NFL season, records can be deceiving. This might be the ultimate example of an early-season September game in which the records tell us little about the quality of the teams involved.
The Texans are 0-2, but they played what most people think are the best teams in the AFC, the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and last year’s best regular-season team, the 14-2 Baltimore Ravens. No NFL team has had a tougher schedule than the Texans. The Steelers, meanwhile, are 2-0, but they beat the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants, teams which are both 0-2 and will probably battle for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Few teams have had an easier schedule to start with than the Steelers, and Pittsburgh didn’t blow out either.
The Steelers beat the Giants by 10 and the Broncos by five, scoring 26 points in both games. Houston, at 0-2, is in a must-win situation. The Texans can’t really think about the playoffs if they fall to 0-3 before playing a single game against the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts in their own division. The Texans being the moneyline underdog is of great value.
Pick: Texans to win
Point Spread: Texans +4
The details above flesh out the major components of this matchup, but let’s go a step further and realize that the Steelers winning by a field goal still gives Houston bettors a winning ticket against the spread. That’s a great opportunity. Let’s point out that the Steelers’ defense – which is strong – has nevertheless faced Daniel Jones and Drew Lock for a small portion of Sunday’s game before he was injured and Jeff Driskel replaced him. Those are not especially good quarterbacks. Now Pittsburgh must face Deshaun Watson. Going from Driskel to Watson is a huge leap in quality, and that should give the Steelers problems.
The opposite is true with the Texans: They have played Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Ben Roethlisberger is a good quarterback, but at this stage of his career, he is nowhere close to Mahomes or Jackson. This is an easier defensive assignment for the Texans. They should benefit from having been tested by elite quarterbacks. Everything about this game sets up well for the Texans; the fact that they are on the road matters little, since there won’t be a large crowd in Pittsburgh. The Texans should cover the NFL odds.
Pick: Texans to cover
Over/Under: 45 points
The total is 45 points. That seems low, especially if you believe that Houston is going to score a lot. Houston is averaging 18 points per game, but again, that total came against the elite Ravens defense and a decent Chiefs defense. Houston is going to bust out at some point. A 28-point Houston total wouldn’t be spectacular, but if the Texans score 28, Pittsburgh would just need to score 18 to push the total over. Pittsburgh scoring 20 points seems like a reasonable guess here, especially if Houston gets a big lead and Big Ben has to throw on nearly every play in the second half.
Pick: Over 45
Final Score: HOU 33, PIT 24
Props Talk for Texans at Steelers
There are a number of interesting props for this game. Let’s choose three of them:
Texans vs Steelers Betting: First Score
Texans Touchdown +200
The Texans know how huge a game this is. They are already in survival mode. This is essentially, if not technically, a must-win situation for them. An urgent, bold start by the Texans is a reasonable guess. Their first score won’t be a field goal. It will be a touchdown.
Texans vs Steelers Betting: Total Touchdowns In The Game
Over/Under 4½ — Overpriced at -155
Watson was hounded by the Ravens in Week 2. He didn’t play his best in Week 1 against the Chiefs. You have to think that he is going to do everything he can to avoid falling to 0-3. He and the Texans’ offense should be good for at least three touchdowns if not four. If you think the game is going over 45 points, it makes obvious sense to think that at least five touchdowns will be scored.
Texans vs Steelers Betting: Race To 10 Points
Texans at +120
The Texans are under the gun,. They have been playing from behind for almost the whole season. Houston knows it needs to change things here. It should hit 10 points first.