Following a big winner last Thursday in the Hall of Fame Game on the Broncos, we’re back at it for the first official week of NFL pre-season action. While many slag betting the pre-season, equating it to throwing darts – there is undoubtedly good money to be made if you do your research, understand coaching decisions, and look into QB rotations.
That’s what this spot is for, and on Thursday we will turn our betting attention to Green Bay where the Packers will open their exhibition season against the Houston Texans.
Green Bay had a dismal season last year, resulting in the firing of their longtime head coach Mike McCarthy. Now, Matt LaFleur comes in and it remains to be seen how his system will mesh with the talent of Aaron Rodgers under centre. While Week 1 won’t necessarily be the best indicator, it should still provide us with some insight as to how Green Bay will want to play.
Houston comes in looking to contend once again in the relatively wide-open AFC South. The Texans feasted last year on a run of backup QB’s and the NFL’s easiest schedule. In 2019 it won’t be anywhere as easy, and in fact Houston is slated to have the toughest projected schedule this year. It has also already been an interesting training camp in Houston, as coach Bill O’Brien very publicly cut running back D’Onta Foreman in a surprise move. In Thursday’s contest expect to get more insight as to who will get the bulk of backfield carries alongside Lamar Miller.
Feel free to keep on reading below the odds for a match breakdown, QB rotations, and for my predictions and how long the starters are expected to play for. It’s the Packers vs. Texans in Week 1 of the pre-season and there surely is money to be made.
Texans vs. Packers Betting Odds:
Houston Texans +2.5 (-110)
@ Green Bay Packers -2.5 (-110)
Over 35.5 (-115)
Under 35.5 (-105)
Texans vs. Packers Pick:
Looking at past history of Houston under Bill O’Brien’s control – the starters have rarely played more than a drive in the pre-season opener. On the road in Green Bay, expect that trend to continue Thursday evening. Last August many starters didn’t even suit up, so be sure to track who is active/inactive before locking in your wager.
Specifically, JJ Watt has a minor groin injury and will not play, and expect Houston to really work out lots of combos on their offensive line, after drafting two linemen with their first picks in the recent draft. Beyond the O-Line it will also be interesting to see who picks up carries out of the backfield. They have a fair bit of depth beyond Lamar Miller, so expect a lot of Taiwan Jones and Josh Ferguson against the Packers.
For the Packers, new coach Matt LaFleur has not yet revealed whether Rodgers will suit up on Thursday night. If I had to guess, I don’t think he will play. The Packers are currently mired in a tough decision of whether to carry two or three QB’s on their roster. Beyond Rodgers, there is former Browns’ quarterback DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle. Neither inspire much confidence, so they have a ton of work to do in the pre-season.
Some brand new coaches prioritize winning their first game in a new location like LaFleur is, but given his reported rotation of his starters in this contest – it doesn’t seem like that’s necessarily the case. I think both Houston and Green Bay will roughly play their first-teamers for the same amount, and it seems like the edge at quarterback is decisively with the visiting Texans.
Beyond the talented Watson, Houston boasts two former starters in A.J. McCarron and Joe Webb. Unfortunately for Houston, McCarron has been hurt with a thumb injury and will be sitting out against Green Bay. Now, it looks like former Vikings starter Joe Webb will fill the void and the known veteran commodity should be able to keep the chains moving for the bulk of the game. Webb remains better than anything Green Bay will trot out late in the game, and at an underdog price – lean with Houston on Thursday evening.