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Houston Texans Odds For The 2020 NFL Season

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This is what the odds say as we get closer to the 2020 NFL season.

NFL: NOV 03 Texans v Jaguars Photo by Ricky Swift/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the trends in NFL statistical analysis is to use the NFL season betting lines as a building block to create performance models. 538’s ELO ratings does exactly that; it’s a non-biased meta analysis used to predict the future.

This summer I stumbled upon Sportsbook Scout, a website filled with tools, guides, calculators, and models for betting purposes, along with NFL analysis. Most of the analysis this summer has been based on using NFL lines, strength of schedule, and a simple rating system to rank teams and evaluate their offseason performance.

In the case of the Houston Texans, Sportsbook Scout found that the Texans’ odds moved them from 13th to 19th after the offseason, and they now currently rank 20th in a set of Power Rankings based on point spreads for each game this season.

Utilizing NFL lines to predict the future is an interesting way to build models and has been used successfully before. I found these articles interesting, so I asked Sportsbook Scout to come up with analysis based only around the Houston Texans for the 2020 NFL season. You can read it at Sportsbook Scout here. This is what he was able to gather:

Houston Texans Schedule 2020: Week by Week Analysis

The Texans come into the 2020 season with an implied SRS ranking of 19th, despite the successful 2019 campaign.

The Houston Texans have approximately a league average strength of schedule (14th) according to the implied SRS ratings for the upcoming season. Their early season schedule features some marquee opponents (Ravens, Chiefs, Steelers in Weeks 1-3) as well as the league’s bottom feeders (Jaguars 2x, Bengals in Week 16).

In order to simplify the schedule analysis, I have broken down the Texans schedule into five groups: Likely Win, Lean Win, Toss Up, Lean Loss, Likely Loss.

Likely Win (Games with > 60% Win Probability)

Week 5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: -10. 74.1% win probability

Week 16 vs. Cincinnati Bengals: -8. 68.7% win probability

Week 9 at Jacksonville Jaguars: -6. 64.6% win probability

Lean Win (Games with 55-60% Win Probability)

Week 4 vs. Minnesota Vikings: -1, 51.1% win probability

Toss Up (Games with 45-55% Win Probability)

Week 7 vs. Green Bay Packers: +1, 45.7% win probability

Week 13 vs. Indianapolis Colts: +1, 47.1% win probability

Week 17 vs. Tennessee Titans: Even, 48.4% win probability

Lean Loss (Games with 40-45% Win Probability)

Week 6 at Tennessee Titans: +3, 41.7% win probability

Week 10 at Cleveland Browns: +3, 41.7% win probability

Week 11 vs. New England Patriots: +2, 44.4% win probability

Week 12 at Detroit Lions: +2, 44.4% win probability

Week 14 at Chicago Bears: +3, 41.7% win probability

Likely Loss (Games with < 40% Win Probability)

Week 1 at Kansas City Chiefs: +10, 21.4% win probability

Week 2 vs. Baltimore Ravens: +6, 32.2% win probability

Week 3 at Pittsburgh Steelers: +5, 35.3% win probability

Week 15 at Indianapolis Colts: +4, 39.0% win probability

Adding it All Up

When you put it all together, the Texans season breaks down like this:

3 Likely Wins

1 Lean Win

3 Toss Up

5 Lean Loss

4 Likely Loss

Looking at their schedule, the Texans could very easily start 0-3. Momentum definitely plays a role through the course of a season, so the outcome of those first three games could set the tone.

AFC South 2020 Win Totals

Using the above analysis, we can see ~4 games that the Texans should win. The remaining 12 range anywhere from a toss up to highly unlikely.

PointsBet Sportsbook has set the following over/under lines for season win totals in the AFC South:

Indianapolis: 9 wins

Tennessee: 8.5 wins

Houston: 7.5 wins

In order for the Texans to go over 7.5 wins, they would need to win at least 4 of the following games (assuming they win their Likely Win and Lean Win games):

Week 1 at Kansas City Chiefs: +10, 21.4% win probability

Week 2 vs. Baltimore Ravens: +6, 32.2% win probability

Week 3 at Pittsburgh Steelers: +5, 35.3% win probability

Week 7 vs. Green Bay Packers: +1, 45.7% win probability

Week 6 at Tennessee Titans: +3, 41.7% win probability

Week 10 at Cleveland Browns: +3, 41.7% win probability

Week 11 vs. New England Patriots: +2, 44.4% win probability

Week 12 at Detroit Lions: +2, 44.4% win probability

Week 13 vs. Indianapolis Colts: +1, 47.1% win probability

Week 14 at Chicago Bears: +3, 41.7% win probability

Week 15 at Indianapolis Colts: +4, 39.0% win probability

Week 17 vs. Tennessee Titans: Even, 48.4% win probability

I have highlighted the games that I think are the most likely Texans wins. Who knows what the Patriots will look like this year without Brady, the Lions are, well, the Lions, and a season split with division rivals Tennessee and Indianapolis certainly seems reasonable.

AFC South And Playoff Odds

Other markets that are relevant to the Texans this season are the AFC South champion odds and odds to make the playoffs.

The Texans have only a 22% implied probability to win the AFC South according to PointsBet. When you consider the schedule analysis above as well as the win total over/unders, it seems like the Texans have better than a 1 in 5 chance of winning the division.

Where things get really interesting are comparing the odds to make the playoffs with the division winner odds. If we assume that only the division winner of the AFC South will make the playoffs, then there appears to be significant value on the Texans to win the AFC South at +350.

PointsBet is giving the Texans almost 2x better chances to make the playoffs compared to winning the division. If the Texans steal a game or two against Indianapolis and Tennessee, they could certainly see those chances come to fruition.

This analysis is line with what most think about the Texans entering this season. Houston should compete for a playoff spot, and the entire AFC South is up for grabs. The Texans aren’t as talented as the Titans or Colts, but Houston does have the best quarterback in the division; as we saw last year, that is often more than enough to win a division title and make the NFL Playoffs. It’s interesting to see that nearly all the objective analysis regarding the Texans seem to come to this same conclusion.

If you are looking for NFL tools or resources, or want to read more NFL analysis in general, make sure to check out Sportsbook Scout.