The Houston Texans (5-4) host the Arizona Cardinals (2-8) this Sunday (11/19/23) at 1:00 p.m. EST in week 11 of the 2023 NFL season. The surging Texans are the betting favorites at -4.5 against the spread, while the over/under is set at 48.5 points.
This article provides Cardinals vs. Texans analysis, predictions and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the Texans’ moneyline.
Cardinals vs. Texans Prediction & Best Bet
This matchup that looked like it would be a complete dud before the season suddenly looks way more interesting thanks to the QBs in the game.
C.J. Stroud has been nothing short of spectacular for the Texans all season and is not only an overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year but is also garnering some MVP buzz. He has led game-winning drives in the final two minutes in back-to-back games, becoming the first rookie QB to do that in over 40 years. He is also the first rookie QB since Davey O’Brien in 1939 to lead the league in passing yards per game after 10 weeks.
Kyler Murray led a comeback of his own last week in his first game back since suffering a torn ACL in week 13 last season. Not only did he play well against a solid Falcons defense, but he showed that he’s regained his trademark mobility after the injury, most notably on a key 1st down conversion on the game-winning drive.
In his first game in 335 days, Kyler Murray led the Cardinals to a come-from-behind 25-23 win. pic.twitter.com/0aPja690oJ
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 13, 2023
Murray’s performance last week makes this Cardinals team difficult to handicap. They are still one of the worst rosters in the league, especially on defense, but the offense looks much better with Murray under center.
It would not be all that surprising if the Cardinals’ Murray-led offense keeps up with Stroud’s Texans and manages to cover the spread, especially considering how banged up the Texans are right now. While that makes us hesitant to lay the points, we also need to see it again from the Cardinals before we can bet on them, so we are staying away from betting the spread in this matchup.
Instead, let’s just play it safe and take the Texans’ moneyline as the best bet in this game.
Cardinals vs. Texans Prediction & Best Bet: Texans win 26-21 | Best Bet: Texans moneyline (-225)
Cardinals vs. Texans Betting Odds
The spread in this game has floated between -5.5 and -4 and currently sits at -4.5. It may still fluctuate within that range but seems unlikely to approach a key number in either direction (3 or 7).
The total is trending up after opening at 46.5 and now sits at 48.5. It is currently the highest over/under on this week’s slate, but it’s possible it could fall a bit if there is sharp action on the under.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Texans winning 27-22.
Cardinals vs. Texans Key Injuries
The Texans have a long injury report that includes nearly 20 players, several of whom are key contributors including LT Laremy Tunsil, LG Tytus Howard, RB Dameon Pierce, TE Dalton Schultz, WRs Nico Collins, Robert Woods, and Noah Brown, EDGE Will Anderson Jr., and S Jimmie Ward.
For the Cardinals, LT D.J. Humphries returned to practice this week after missing the last game with an ankle injury, indicating he has a chance to play. Starting DL Jonathan Ledbetter is also worth monitoring.
Cardinals vs. Texans Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Cardinals vs. Texans below.
CJ Stroud vs. Cardinals’ pass defense
As noted above, Stroud is red hot through the air right now and is currently leading the league with 291.8 passing yards per game. He is also protecting the ball better than any other quarterback in the league, having thrown just two interceptions all season (0.6% of pass attempts). That has led him to be top 10 in both passer rating (6th) and ESPN’s QBR (10th).
Stroud should be positioned for another huge game through the air against Arizona’s weak pass defense. The Cardinals are 30th in DVOA and 29th in EPA against the pass. They are allowing a 101.0 passer rating (31st) and a 69.1% completion percentage (28th).
The only reason Arizona is 11th in passing yards allowed is that they have faced the 4th fewest pass attempts per game and the 2nd most rushing attempts. Their opponents have often had big leads and leaned on the run, which the Cardinals have struggled to stop as well. That game script may play out this week as well, but they will build that lead by attacking through the air.
Cardinals’ rushing attack vs. Texans’ run defense
If Stroud and his pass catchers against the Cardinals’ secondary is the biggest mismatch in this game, then the Cardinals’ rushing attack against the Texans’ defensive front is the most competitive matchup.
The Cardinals have been most successful this season when they have run the ball effectively. Their rushing offense is 9th in DVOA and 11th in EPA. They are 9th in the league with 126.5 rushing yards per game and 3rd in yards per carry at 4.77. They have done that despite frequently playing from behind and with James Conner missing 4 games.
The Texans’ run defense has been very good this year. They are 8th in yards allowed per game (93.6), 3rd in yards per carry allowed (3.5), 13th in DVOA and 7th in EPA against the run. Where they could be vulnerable is defending Murray’s scrambles. The only true mobile QBs they have faced this season were Lamar Jackson and Anthony Richardson, whom they faced in their first two games of the season. Jackson had 38 yards on the ground while Richardson had two 10+ yard touchdown runs before exiting the game early in the 2nd quarter.
The Cardinals’ best hope in this game is to use their running game to control the ball and keep Stroud’s offense off the field. If they can do that, and especially if Murray can make some plays with his legs, particularly on 3rd down, then the Cardinals should be able to make this a competitive game.