Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL First Touchdown: Expert Picks & Predictions (1/20/24)

Get Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL First Touchdown odds and picks for their (1/20/24) matchup.

Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens First Touchdown Search Tool

Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens First Touchdown Picks

The first game of the NFL’s divisional playoff round features the AFC’s No. 1 seed Baltimore Ravens hosting the No. 4 seed Houston Texans. This article analyzes the first touchdown odds for this Texans vs. Ravens matchup and recommends best bets for the prop.

The first touchdown prop bet is just like an anytime touchdown prop bet, but the goal here is to identify which player will score the first touchdown of the game. It generally offers very good odds, but that is because it can be a very difficult bet to get right. Typically you want to pick a few different players in the same game to spread out your exposure, as long as one winning bet still pays enough to turn a profit on all the bets combined.

You can also bet on the first player from either team to score a touchdown, the first player to score a touchdown in each half, or the last player to score a touchdown. But in this article, we are focused on the first touchdown scorer. Here are our favorite picks to score the first touchdown in this Texans vs. Ravens divisional playoff game.

Gus Edwards First Touchdown Scorer (+650 at FanDuel)

Let’s start with the player who is most likely to score a touchdown in this game, which is Ravens RB Gus Edwards. His lowest anytime touchdown odds are -105 at BetMGM, which implies a 51.2% chance of scoring a TD. The Ravens are also heavy favorites in this game at -9.5 against the spread, and their odds of scoring first in this game are around -200, which implies a 66.7% probability. Basically, Baltimore is the more likely team to score the first touchdown, and Edwards is the most likely player to score for them, so he’s a natural starting point for a first touchdown bet.

Edwards led the Ravens with 13 touchdowns this season, which was tied for 7th most in the league. All of those TDs came on the ground and in the red zone, and 12 of them came from inside the 5-yard line. He also led the team with 39 carries inside the red zone, which represented 21.3% of the team’s total red zone touches.

The Ravens had one of the best red zone offenses in the league, scoring a touchdown on 61.8% of their opportunities (7th best). They were also 2nd in the league with 42 red zone TDs this season, which represented a whopping 79.2% of their 53 total offensive TDs. They love to run the ball in the red zone, doing so 61.7% of the time (113 rushes out of 183 red zone snaps). They scored 23 of their 42 red zone TDs on the ground.

The Texans were slightly above average in red zone defense, allowing opponents to cross the goal line on 51.9% of their opportunities (12th best). They allowed 28 total TDs in the red zone (16th). While they had one of the best run defenses in the league, they struggled to keep opposing runners out of the end zone, allowing the 5th most rushing TDs (19, tied with Arizona).

By starting with a bet of one unit on Edwards, we can bet up to five units on other players with better odds. If the Edwards bet hits at +650, then we guarantee a small profit, so this bet also provides a bit of a hedge on all the other players on whom we could bet.

Of course there is no guarantee we pick the right player, even when spreading out our bets to multiple picks, so we have to be willing to lose up to six units if we follow this strategy.

Lamar Jackson First Touchdown Scorer (+650 at DraftKings)

For many of the same reasons, let’s add the next most likely Ravens TD scorer in Lamar Jackson, whose +110 odds for an anytime TD imply a 47.6% chance of him crossing the goal line (as a reminder, passing TDs would not count for Jackson but rather for the player receiving the pass).

Jackson had the second-most red zone touchdowns on the Ravens with five rushing scores. That was also the 3rd most rushing or receiving TDs on the team overall. Jackson was also second on the team with 32 rushing attempts in the red zone, and the combination of Edwards and Jackson represented 38.7% of the Ravens’ total red zone touches (and 62.8% of their rushing attempts).

In addition to the discussion of the Texans’ defense above, the main reason we like the Jackson pick so much here is that the Texans allowed the most rushing TDs by a quarterback this season with seven.

So Houston allowed the 5th most rushing TDs overall, the most rushing TDs by a QB, and the Ravens scored the 2nd most red zone TDs and had the 7th best conversion rate. That is a great combination of numbers to provide confidence in a portfolio of first TD bets that includes both Edwards and Jackson.

Nico Collins First Touchdown Scorer (+1200 at DraftKings)

We are happy with those two picks on the Ravens side of this matchup, so let’s look at the Texans for our next pick.

Compared to the Ravens, the Texans are far more likely to score their touchdowns through the air than on the ground. They scored 27 of their 37 touchdowns this season (72.9%) through the air. That makes sense given the incredible season that C.J. Stroud had and the disappointing year that RB Dameon Pierce had.

The Ravens’ defense also makes it much more likely that the Texans will score their touchdowns through the air. Baltimore can be vulnerable on the ground between the 20s, but once they get into the red zone they are much tougher. They allowed the fewest rushing TDs in the league (6) and they were 2nd in red zone defense, allowing TDs on just 40.8% of opportunities.

Therefore we focused on Texans pass catchers for our TD picks, and our favorite player to target here is Nico Collins. He is the clear chalk pick, but there is nothing wrong with that. Collins led the Texans with eight TDs this season, six of which came in the red zone. He also led the team with 16 red zone targets, good for a 21.6% target share.

Stroud has been leaning even more heavily on Collins since the injury to Tank Dell. Collins missed most of the next two games after Dell’s injury, but since returning he has a 30% target share and nearly half of the Texans’ total receiving yardage. He is a big-bodied target in the red zone and he is also the Texans’ best big play threat.

This pick may lack the upside of some bigger long shots, but it’s a solid value at +1200. We are going to roll with these three picks, but the next Texans that we would look at for more upside would be TE Dalton Schultz (second on the team in TDs and RZ targets, +1900 at DraftKings) and WR John Metchie III (talented youngster with expanded role due to Noah Brown’s injury, coming off a season high in catches in yards, +3500 at DraftKings).

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Noah hails from Philadelphia and is a diehard Philly sports fan. He graduated from Penn where he was a sports writer and editor for the student newspaper and also spent a summer covering the Baltimore Orioles for MLB.com. He has been playing fantasy sports since before live stats were a thing, and he has enjoyed learning the nuances of DFS in recent years. As a current resident of Florida, he is hoping the wave of sports betting legalization will eventually reach his home state.

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