Houston Texans vs. Arizona Cardinals Odds & Game Picks (2021)

Oct 22, 2021 - 5:31 PM

And the biggest spread of Week 7 (and perhaps the 2021 season) goes to… the Arizona Cardinals? Yes, the Arizona Cardinals are the biggest favorite of Week 7. Who saw that coming in September?

Naturally, there’s a reason why Arizona is a colossal favorite at home this weekend. It’s because they’re playing the pitiful Houston Texans. Can the Cards get the cover at home? Will the Texans put up a fight? Is this game even worth your time? Let’s break it down.

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  • Opening line: Arizona -16.5
  • Current line: Arizona -17.5
  • Total: 47.5

How many points does it take to back Houston? 

Had Tyrod Taylor been back under center for Houston, I would feel slightly less nauseated at the idea of putting money on the Texans. However, Taylor won’t be back this week, which means good old Davis Mills will take the reins perhaps for the last time this season.

The Stanford rookie probably doesn’t have a lucrative, long career in the NFL ahead of him. His surprise 312-yard, three TD performance against New England two weeks ago was likely a complete fluke. Mills reverted into a pumpkin last week, throwing for 243 yards and two interceptions against a banged-up Colts secondary that was carved up by Lamar Jackson the week prior.

Other than Brandin Cooks, this offense is disgusting. It ranks 31st in offensive DVOA and is averaging 3.3 yards per carry on the ground. This offense is awful, to put it briefly.

Defensively, things are slightly better. The Texans rank 20th in defensive DVOA and 11th in pass defense DVOA, but 29th in rush defense DVOA. Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme has done its job of preventing big plays through the air, but we’ve seen plenty of quarterbacks pick it apart throughout the year.

And since Smith’s defensive game plan is to sit back in zone coverage, the Texans hardly have created pressure this year. Houston has just ten sacks on the season and is generating pressure on just 19.4% of opponents’ dropbacks this season. That spells disaster against Kyler Murray and the Cards.

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Cardinals keep on rolling. 

I was dead wrong last week when I said the Cardinals would suffer their first loss against the Cleveland Browns. Now, I also didn’t suspect the Browns to get hit so hard by the injury bug leading up to the game. But you can’t help but be impressed with Arizona.

The most significant difference between the 2020 season has been the emergence of Arizona’s defense. The unit has been rock solid, ranking second in DVOA, second in pass defense DVOA, and eighth in run defense DVOA. And unlike Houston, the Cardinals can get to the quarterback. Arizona has 17 sacks and has generated pressure on 26.9% of opponents’ dropbacks. This unit could be even scarier if Chandler Jones can return after missing last week’s game due to COVID-19.

Offensively, Arizona goes as Murray goes. The Cardinals rank seventh in offensive DVOA and fifth in passing DVOA. This offense’s only flaw is its running game, which sometimes can struggle to get going. But, this week, that may not be much of an issue against a Texans front seven that’s given up the second-most rushing yards in the league this season.

Bottom Line 

Sometimes, there are just those games you have to pass on. This would be one of them for me. However, that’s not why you’re reading this article.

On paper, Arizona should dominate this terrible Houston team. They should have no trouble running the ball, and Murray should have success carving up Houston’s conservative zone defense. Defensively, Arizona should generate a ton of pressure on Mills and force him into plenty of mistakes.

But the reason I’m not laying 17.5 points with Arizona? The Cardinals have a critical meeting with Green Bay on Thursday night that will play an enormous role in NFC playoff seeding. Arizona’s goal in this game will likely be to get out to a big lead early and get out unscathed.

For that reason, I feel more comfortable betting Arizona in the first half. However, I wouldn’t play this at anything higher than -9.5, which is listed on FanDuel.

Pick: Arizona -9.5 or better

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The post Houston Texans vs. Arizona Cardinals Odds & Game Picks (2021) appeared first on BettingPros.

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