Week 5 betting preview


Week 5 of the NFL is here and I’ll be breaking down all of Sunday’s games from a betting perspective. Last week was another pretty average week. I went 3-2 against the spread on The Nickel Package but decided to add a few other plays to the blog, finishing 4-4 for the week. I imagine a lot of my plays will be pretty unpopular with most people this week but hopefully all goes well.

The Nickel Package Record: 10-8-2 ATS (55%)

As always, you can check out The Nickel Package podcast, which includes my top five plays in order of confidence for the week. Each week, Joe Fortenbaugh from the National Football Post joins me to analyze those picks and provide additional insight to the games I’ve selected. You can listen or download the MP3 file here.

Recommended Wagers Record: 13-12-2 ATS (52%)

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans

Friday Line: Chiefs -2.5, total of 38.5

Public Consensus: 77% on the Chiefs, 87% on the over

The Pick: It wouldn’t come as a shock to see the Chiefs come out flat in this week’s matchup against the Titans. Kansas City is coming off of three straight wins against head coach Andy Reid’s former divisional rivals, so it may be difficult for them to get up for this game against the Titans. Tennessee is a good football team, better than they’re being given credit for at this point. The Titans’ lone loss came in Houston in overtime and Tennessee was leading for the majority of that contest. Tennessee turns to Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback this week as Jake Locker will be out for an extended period of time with a hip injury.

While Fitzpatrick is definitely not full-time starter material in the NFL anymore, he’s one of the better backups in the league and should be a capable replacement for the Titans, especially since their defense has become one of the better stop units in the league. Tennessee has become ultra aggressive on the defensive side of the ball and have already produced 14 sacks this season. The Titans had 11 quarterback hits in last week’s game against the Jets as well, which doesn’t bode well for Alex Smith, who’s already been sacked 11 times this season. The Chiefs have surpassed 100 yards rushing in all four of their games this season, but their running game isn’t guaranteed to get on track against a strong Titans’ rush defense that gives up just 3.5 yards per carry. Without the benefit of a solid running game, Kansas City will have trouble moving the ball down the field with their play action packages.

This is a much more even matchup than the public would lead you to believe. Kansas City is a good football team but this isn’t a good spot for them and they’ve yet to really be tested in their road games this season. Two road wins against borderline NCAA defenses (Philadelphia & Jacksonville) shouldn’t really inspire confidence in the Chiefs to score points. Tennessee disposed of an AFC West opponent at home a couple of weeks ago, and I think they’ll take care of business once more.

Titans 20, Chiefs 17

The Wager: I’m not the biggest Ryan Fitzpatrick fan in the world but I’m a big fan of betting on backup quarterbacks in their first start. Tennessee knows that they’ll have to put in a full effort to overcome the loss of Locker and they’ll play inspired football here. Kansas City may be 4-0 but they’ve yet to beat anyone of important, and they’re definitely not deserving of being road favorites here. Titans +3 (still available at a couple of books), otherwise pass on Titans +2.5

The Trend: The Titans are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games against AFC opponents.


Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins

Friday Line: Dolphins -3, total of 43

Public Consensus: 74% on the Ravens, 69% on the over

The Pick: It seems like I mention this week in and week out but it continues to ring true—the Ravens are a superb home team, but they stink on the road. Baltimore was just 4-4 on the road in their Super Bowl campaign last season with three of those four wins coming by a field goal against inferior opponents. Miami is not an inferior opponent. The Dolphins may be playing on a short week here but they can be a dangerous home team, as evidenced by a 27-23 victory over the Falcons two weeks ago.

Miami was out of their element in New Orleans on Monday night, as they had to engage in a shootout against one of the league’s most high-powered offense. Baltimore, on the other hand, can’t move the ball worth a lick on the road so that should be an issue for the Dolphins here. The Ravens couldn’t capitalize on Buffalo’s depleted secondary last week (the Bills were missed their two starting cornerbacks and a starting safety) as Joe Flacco imploded with five interceptions. Flacco has now turned the ball over 23 times in his last 18 road starts, while only producing 21 touchdowns in that span. To make matters worse, Ravens’ offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell literally has no idea what he’s doing as Baltimore ran the ball only nine times against the Bills last week despite the Bills boasting one of the worst run defenses in football. Miami’s offense isn’t exactly the most consistent unit in football either, but they have the luxury of being at home here, and they can also be relied upon to run the football to alleviate some pressure from their quarterback.

Baltimore can usually be relied upon to rebound off of a loss, but until they prove that they are capable of winning against good competition on the road, I’ll continue to pick against them. The Dolphins just got slaughtered on national television and they’ll be out to prove that they weren’t a fluke 3-0 team. Dolphins 19, Ravens 13

The Wager: I would have loved the Dolphins as an underdog in this spot here but I’m not interested in laying a field goal with a team on short rest. Even when the Dolphins were 3-0 they were being outgained by over 50 yards per game. Ryan Tannehill is more than capable of giving a game away against one of the better defenses in the league. Pass

The Trend: The Dolphins are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a loss.


Jacksonville Jaguars @ St. Louis Rams

Friday Line: Rams -11.5, total of 41

Public Consensus: 65% on the Jaguars (huh?), 73% on the under

The Pick: Let me keep this short and sweet. The Rams suck. The Jaguars suck so much more. Jacksonville’s offense scored nine points in their first ten quarters of play this season. NINE POINTS! Blaine Gabbert returned from injury last week and managed to pick up a whopping three first downs in the first half against the Colts. Justin Blackmon returns from his suspension this week but it won’t matter because Gabbert is incapable of throwing the ball more than ten yards down the field. Ugh. His career completion percentage is barely over 50% and he’s thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.

Poor Gabbert doesn’t even have the luxury of a running game this season as Maurice Jones-Drew’s bum ankle has led to a career-low 2.4 yards per carry. St. Louis has a pretty crappy quarterback in Sam Bradford but he’s exponentially better than Senior Bag O’ Crap Gabbert. The Rams have had extra time to prepare following their Thursday night shellacking at the hands of the 49ers so they shouldn’t have much of an issue carving up the Jaguars’ pathetic excuse for a defense. Jacksonville’s starting free safety Dwight Lowery hasn’t practiced all week with a concussion, so the rest of the Jags inept secondary will have to deal with the Rams’ speed at wideout. I doubt that that’ll end well.

I have seen absolutely nothing out of Jacksonville this season that leads me to believe they can stay within single digits on the road against any opponent in the NFL. The Raiders managed to beat the Jags by ten and they played horribly in their Week 3 contest. Another blowout is on tap. Rams 27, Jaguars 10

The Wager: The Jaguars are epically bad but I’m also not some kind of moron that would be willing to lay double-digit points with one of the worst teams in the league. If you’re betting this game on Sunday you’ve really reached a low point in your life. Pass

The Trend: The Jaguars are 16-36 ATS in their last 52 games against non-divisional opponents.


New England Patriots @ Cincinnati Bengals

Friday Line: Bengals pk, total of 45

Public Consensus: 85% on the Patriots, 77% on the over

The Pick: I’ve picked against the Patriots in all four weeks this season (2-2 ATS) and I’m not about to stop now. Tom Brady and his receivers are developing better chemistry every week but I won’t read too much into New England’s victory over Atlanta because the Falcons are incapable of stopping anything right now. The Bengals still have some big concerns in their secondary but unlike Atlanta; they have a very strong front seven that is more than capable of putting pressure on Brady. New England used their running game effectively on Sunday night to open things up down the field but Cincinnati has a very good run stopping unit, limiting opponents to less than 100 yards per game on the ground and just 3.8 yards per carry.

Brady will be working out of more third-and-long situations this week and the Bengals only allow a stingy 39% conversion rate on third downs. Meanwhile, don’t read too much into Cincinnati’s loss in Cleveland last week. The Browns are better than people realize and the Bengals were in a huge flat spot coming off of an emotional win against the Packers in Week 4. New England just lost defensive tackle Vince Wilfork for the season with an Achilles injury, and that plays right into the hands of the Bengals’ offense. Cincinnati loves to run the ball to set up favorable situations for Andy Dalton, and they shouldn’t face much resistance now that Wilfork is out of the lineup. New England was giving up over 4 yards per carry with Wilfork in the game, so things are bound to get worse.

I’ll admit that New England is better than I’ve made them out to be so far this season, but this is a tough spot for the Pats. The Patriots are coming off of an emotional nationally televised win where they just barely held on against the Falcons, and now they have to get their energy levels back up for another road game. Cincinnati has been waiting for this game for two weeks. Bengals 24, Patriots 20

The Wager: Cincinnati has already proven that they can play with elite teams when they knocked off the Packers at home two weeks ago. That matchup was eerily similar to this one as there were question marks surrounding the Bengals’ defense and how they could possibly slow down an elite signal caller. People will continue to blindly back the Patriots in the underdog role but I don’t like this matchup for them. Bengals pk

The Trend: The Patriots are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.


Seattle Seahawks @ Indianapolis Colts

Friday Line: Seahawks -3, total of 44

Public Consensus: 58% on the Seahawks, 71% on the over

The Pick: The Seahawks used a lot of energy in their comeback victory over Houston and this could potentially be a huge flat spot for them. With that being said, I have no interest in picking against Seattle right now. Although it hasn’t been pretty, the Seahawks have pulled out victories in their first two road games of the season; both against decent teams in Houston and Carolina. Indianapolis falls right into that “decent” category (maybe slightly above average) and they don’t have the talent to matchup with the Seahawks. Houston was able to put the clamps down on Russell Wilson last weekend but the Texans boast the league’s best pass defense, while the Colts surrender a poor 7.1 yards per attempt. Indianapolis also gives up 4.2 yards per carry so Wilson should benefit from Marshawn Lynch in the running game this week as well.

Wilson is a prototypical road quarterback that doesn’t turn the ball over as he’s thrown just 13 interceptions in 20 career games, so it’s unlikely that the Colts will benefit from good field position in this matchup. The Seattle defense was exploited by Houston’s running game last week but that’s not likely to be duplicated this week. Trent Richardson has failed to impress since coming over from Cleveland, and the Colts are still a pass-heavy offense. Unfortunately for Indianapolis, Seattle has the best pass rush and best pass secondary in the league, so it’s unlikely that Andrew Luck will be moving the ball with ease down the field. Luck has done a much better job of protecting the ball this season but this is the type of matchup where he could relapse back into last season’s form, where he committed 23 turnovers in his 16 starts.

In the end, I’m just uncomfortable picking against the Seahawks right now. Regardless of the circumstances, this team seems to rise to the occasion week in and week out, even if things are looking grim. Seattle is continually improving on the road under Pete Carroll and I see them sneaking out a narrow victory. Seahawks 23, Colts 18

The Wager: I rarely back road favorites unless there are good situational edges, and this certainly isn’t one of those cases. There’s no doubt that Seattle is better than Indianapolis, but the early start time and last week’s emotional come from behind win have me worried. Pass

The Trend: The Seahawks are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games against a team with a winning record.


Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

Friday Line: Packers -7, total of 53.5

Public Consensus: 56% on the Packers, 98% on the over

The Pick: The Packers enter this game at 1-2 and coming off of their bye week. This is a game that they just can’t afford to lose. It’s not like the Packers are accustomed to losing at home to the Lions anyways; Detroit has lost 22 straight away games at Lambeau Field. Green Bay’s bye seemed to come at a perfect time as it allowed a banged up team to get an extra week of rest—Eddie Lacy, Jermichael Finley, Morgan Burnett, and Clay Matthews were all full participants in practice this week and should be ready to go for Sunday. The Packers shouldn’t have any issues moving the ball in this one.

Detroit boasts one of the league’s worst secondaries which means that Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t face much resistance in the aerial game. The Lions will also have to worry about Green Bay’s running game now that Lacy is back in the fold, so it’s not like they can just drop players into coverage all day. The Packers are going to score at will and I don’t have faith in the Lions to do the same. Detroit was able to put up 40 points on Chicago last week because Reggie Bush had a field day on the ground. That success isn’t likely to be duplicated this week against a Packers’ rush defense that gives up just 3.7 yards per carry and 93.3 yards per game. Matthew Stafford will be in a lot more unfavorable situations this week and that doesn’t bode well against an opportunistic Packers’ defense.

This one’s pretty simple for me—the Packers are the better team, they’re at home, and they’ve had two weeks to prepare for this contest. Detroit, meanwhile, is coming off of a big win against a divisional rival and now has to prepare for a Packers’ offense that is sure to have some new wrinkles coming off the bye. Packers 38, Lions 27

The Wager: I’ve gone back and forth on this game at least a handful of times this week. Not back and forth on the side; just whether or not this will be a wager for me or not. Ultimately I’ve decided against a play here just because Detroit has really strong back door cover potential. Check back on Sunday morning though as I may change my mind by then. Pass

The Trend: The Packers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games after a bye week.


New Orleans Saints @ Chicago Bears

Friday Line: Saints -1.5, total of 48.5

Public Consensus: 85% on the Saints, 89% on the over

The Pick: New Orleans is a good football team—a really good football team—but let’s not forget that this game is on the road, where the Saints have struggled in recent years. A quick look at Drew Brees’ split stats from the last three years illustrates the Saints’ struggles away from home. The former Super Bowl MVP has an amazing 64:17 touchdown to turnover ratio at the Superdome, but a less stellar 35:22 ratio on the road. In the Saints only road game this season, they nearly fell to the lowly Bucs before Brees engineered a game-winning field goal drive. Not good.

The Bears catch the Saints on a short week after New Orleans destroyed Miami on Monday Night Football. Chicago has a glaring hole in their run defense after losing Pro Bowl tackle Henry Melton for the season but that won’t be an issue against a Saints’ squad that doesn’t run the ball. The Bears gave up 40 points to Detroit last week but that number is misleading because Jay Cutler was turning the ball over left and right. Chicago lost the field position battle and they couldn’t keep Reggie Bush wrapped up, but they actually did a great job against Matthew Stafford, limiting him to just 242 yards and one touchdown. The Saints have been held to an average of 23.6 points in their last six road contests, and Chicago should be able to at least force some occasional punts in this contest. As for the Bears’ offense, Cutler can be wildly inconsistent at times but Matt Forte remains as reliable as ever. The Saints surrender a whopping 5.5 yards per carry so Forte will undoubtedly take a lot of pressure off of Cutler’s shoulders in this matchup.

The Saints are the better team but the better team doesn’t always win the game. New Orleans has no running game whatsoever and that’s not a good recipe for success in a hostile road environment against another team that can put up points. The Bears’ balanced attacked will prove superior to the Saints’ finesse attack in this matchup. Bears 27, Saints 21

The Wager: I laid three points with the Saints at Tampa Bay in Week 2 and that was one of my bigger mistakes of the year thus far. New Orleans couldn’t get anything going whatsoever in that contest and would have been blown out if it weren’t for horrible quarterback play from Josh Freeman. I don’t understand how the Bears aren’t favored in this contest. Bears +1.5

The Trend: The Bears are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game.


Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants

Friday Line: Giants -1, total of 53.5

Public Consensus: 69% on the Eagles, 63% on the over

The Pick: After opening the season with their impressive Monday night road victory at Washington, the Eagles have faltered in recent weeks. As I mentioned in my Week 2 blog, it was only a matter of time before Philadelphia reverted back into the garbage football team that I expected them to be at the beginning of the season. Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense has come back down to earth and the speed of the offense has killed the Eagles’ defense as well. Philadelphia is allowing an unbelievable 28 first downs per game, which is four first downs worse than the epically bad Saints’ defense allowed last season.

To make matters worse, the Eagles are coming off of a game in high altitude in Denver and now have to play a second consecutive road game. Eli Manning has struggled to start the season but this game has huge bounce back potential as Manning has a 75% completion rate with 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions in his last five starts against the Eagles. Philadelphia also gives up over 120 yards per game on the ground so David Wilson, who looked better last week, should be able to pick up some big chunks of yardage. Turnovers have plagued the Giants’ offense to start the year but Philadelphia has forced only two interceptions in their four games this season so that shouldn’t be much of an issue either.

Essentially, as bad as New York’s offense has looked at times this season, they should face zero resistance in moving the ball consistently down the field. Michael Vick and the Eagles will have to match points here, but that’s easier said than done. The Giants’ defense isn’t as terrible as they’re being made out to be; their yards allowed per play is actually in the better half of the league, but their lack of a pass rush has been hurting them. If New York was ever going to get the pass rush going, this would be the game—the Eagles have surrendered 14 sacks this season.

There’s not really a ton separating these two teams but I’m going with the Giants for a couple of reasons. First off, they have a huge coaching advantage; not because Tom Coughlin is a good coach, but because Chip Kelly is a complete idiot. Seriously, who runs an up-tempo offense against the Broncos? Why in the hell would anyone want to give Peyton Manning more possessions? Secondly, I trust Eli Manning at home more than I trust Michael Vick on the road. Giants 31, Eagles 24

The Wager: I’m very tempted to bet the Giants here. The oddsmakers have an 0-4 team favored which is usually a sign that they’re baiting the public into betting the underdog. With that being said, the Giants are unbettable right now. Pass

The Trend: 0-4 teams are 17-9 ATS against losing teams since 1989. (Credit to @walterfootball)

 Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals

Friday Line: Panthers -1.5, total of 42

Public Consensus: 79% on the Panthers, 72% on the under

The Pick: The Arizona Cardinals should have lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend—run that through your head for a minute. This is not a good football team. They can’t run the ball, their quarterback is a disaster, their linebacking corps has been decimated by injuries, and they have no pass rush whatsoever. Carolina is coming off of their bye week where they’ve had two full weeks to prepare for an inferior opponent. After struggling mightily to begin the season, Cam Newton has regained his form from late last year as he’s gone back to scrambling to pick up first downs.

Arizona gets stud linebacker Daryl Washington back from suspension this week, but that may still not be enough to limit Newton’s effectiveness. Newton faced the Cardinals on the road in his first career NFL start, throwing for 422 yards and an outstanding 11.4 yards per attempt. I don’t have any faith in Carson Palmer being able to match Newton’s output. Arizona has one of the worst offensive lines in football, and that’s been made even worse this week when the Cardinals traded left tackle Levi Brown to the Steelers. The Panthers have registered 10 sacks in just three games and their stout defensive front seven should have no issues teeing off on Palmer in the backfield. It’s not like Palmer can rely on a running game either as the Rashard Mendenhall, Andre Ellington, Alfonso Smith combo has only been able to produce 3.6 yards per carry this season. Arizona will be facing plenty of third-and-longs on Sunday and if the past is any indication, Palmer should be good for at least a pair of turnovers.

The only advantage that the Cardinals have in this game is the luxury of playing at home. Arizona is a pretty good home team but the X’s and O’s strongly favor Carolina in this matchup, especially coming off of a bye. The Cardinals are too one-dimensional on offense to be successful against good defenses. Panthers 21, Cardinals 17

The Wager: I like the spot for the Panthers here, but I’m not sure that they’re deserving of being road favorites just yet. I would have been all over Carolina as an underdog but oddsmakers have been quick to adjust to Arizona’s struggles. This is another game that I may reconsider on Sunday, but for now… Pass

The Trend: The Cardinals are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games.


San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders

Friday Line: Chargers -4.5, total of 45

Public Consensus: 80% on the Chargers, 83% on the over

The Pick: The Chargers and Raiders appear to be two teams headed in opposite directions right now, but I’m still not ready to believe in San Diego. The Chargers’ offensive line is still decimated by injuries and while it didn’t cost them at home last week, it’s more likely to pose a problem on the road in a harsh environment. The Raiders aren’t exactly the best pass rushing team in the league, but defensive end Lamarr Houston has been playing at a Pro Bowl level this season and should wreak havoc on Philip Rivers. Rivers has enjoyed a stellar start to the season and should enjoy some success moving the ball, but it won’t come easy.

The real question here is whether or not the Raiders can score enough points to keep them in this game. Oakland struggled without Terrell Pryor last week, but the former Buckeyes’ standout returns to the lineup for this pivotal divisional matchup. Pryor is by no means a quality NFL quarterback but he should be able to take advantage of a Chargers’ defense that’s allowed over 70% completions in back-to-back game. San Diego also hasn’t generated an interception since their Week 1 matchup against the Texans. Pryor should have a pretty clean pocket as well considering the Chargers have managed only eight sacks through their first four games, and will now be missing Dwight Freeney due to injury. The Raiders’ offense will suffer a drop-off from Darren McFadden to Rashad Jennings, but the Chargers are in lower half of the league in run defense so it’s not like Oakland will be completely shut out on the ground.

Throw last week’s Raiders’ game out the window. Oakland is a different squad with Pryor at the helm—a squad that nearly upset the Colts in Indianapolis in Week 1. San Diego has rotated wins and losses this season with three of their four games coming right down to the wire. Expect that trend to continue this week. Raiders 24, Chargers 23

The Wager: The underdog has covered eight straight games in this series and pulled off the outright upset win in five of the last six meetings. San Diego has done nothing to deserve being favored by more than a field goal on the road. This line would translate to Chargers -10.5 if the game was being played in San Diego and that’s just asinine. Raiders +4.5

The Trend: The Chargers are 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a win.


Denver Broncos @ Dallas Cowboys

Friday Line: Broncos -7, total of 56

Public Consensus: 77% on the Broncos, 86% on the over

The Pick: Denver is one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season and while they’ve blown out all of their competition, they’ve yet to face anyone of significance. The Broncos have disposed of the Eagles, Giants, Raiders, and Ravens, who happen to stink on the road. Peyton Manning looks unstoppable right now but let’s not forget that the Broncos have only played one road game this season. Manning posted a 22:3 touchdown to interception ratio at home last season, but a less impressive 15:8 ratio on the road. Dallas is coming off of a game where they surrendered 400 yards through the air to Philip Rivers, but that just means that the Cowboys will have devoted more attention to their pass defense in practice this week. Morris Claiborne is struggling but Dallas still possesses some good talent in their secondary with Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick.

The Cowboys have also registered 14 sacks this season which gives them a shot to put Manning under some serious pressure. Obviously Denver is going to get their points, but I think Dallas has a good chance to keep up here. Tony Romo has been very reliable this season, throwing for eight touchdowns and just one interception, while boasting a solid 72% completion rate. The Cowboys’ offensive line has also held up well as Romo has only taken nine sacks in 152 drop backs this season. Most importantly though is that Dallas has finally established a running game. DeMarco Murray has rushed for 245 yards in the past two weeks and is picking up a superb 4.9 yards per carry on the season. The Broncos have given up nearly 400 yards per game this season so there’s no reason to believe that Dallas can’t move the ball consistently in this contest.

Dallas is starting to buck the trend of being a bad home team. They’re 2-0 at home to begin the season and this is a game that they’ve surely had circled on their calendar for a couple of weeks. With that being said, they’re not the team to hand Denver their first loss. Manning finds a way to lead the Broncos to another victory. Broncos 28, Cowboys 27

The Wager: Talk about inflation. The Broncos were favored by 3.5 points in this matchup prior to last week’s blowout of the pedestrian Eagles. Dallas is now a home underdog of a touchdown which has been an EXTREMELY profitable proposition in the past few seasons. Cowboys +9 (taking the best line available), don’t settle for Cowboys +7!

The Trend: The Broncos are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games in October.


Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers

Friday Line: 49ers -6, total of 41.5

Public Consensus: 60% on the Texans, 80% on the over

The Pick: So much for the 49ers being on the decline. After being blasted by the media for consecutive losses to the Seahawks and Colts, San Francisco had their way with St. Louis on Thursday Night Football. I’d expect that momentum to continue into this week. Houston just isn’t as good as people think. Their defense is way overrated and their quarterback is as mediocre as it gets. The Texans were able to put the clamps on Seattle’s offense for three quarters last week, but they’ve surrendered at least 30 points in both of their road contests this season. Colin Kaepernick was much improved last week and will finally have the luxury of having a healthy Vernon Davis in the lineup, seeing as how the 49ers have had a few extra days to prepare for this contest.

The Texans are also giving up 113.2 yards per game on the ground so Frank Gore should be able to build on the success he had against the Rams last week. With the 49ers generating points, the Texans’ offense will have to keep pace. San Francisco gets stud linebacker Patrick Willis back this week which should improve an already solid defense. The 49ers’ shine in run defense and should be able to contain the combination of Ben Tate and the now less effective Arian Foster. Essentially, Matt Schaub will have to make some big plays in the passing game to put up points. Schaub’s confidence must be at an all-time low after throwing pick sixes in back-to-back games, and this isn’t the type of defense that you want to go up against when you’re not playing good football.

San Francisco looks like they’re turning things around while Houston is coming off an emotional loss that you just don’t recover from. The Texans couldn’t contain a mobile Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter of last week’s game, and that doesn’t bode well for them against another active scramble in Kaepernick. 49ers 30, Texans 16

The Wager: A lot of people think the Texans are getting too many points here, but I completely disagree. San Francisco was laying 10 points at home to the Colts two weeks ago, so why are they laying less than a touchdown to a lesser Texans’ squad? Houston is coming off a brutal loss and the 49ers have covered 70% of their home games under Jim Harbaugh—what else could you ask for? 49ers -6

The Trend: The 49ers are 16-7-1 ATS in their last 24 home games.