The Houston Texans will host the New Orleans Saints this Sunday (10/15/23) for an intriguing cross-conference matchup of teams that are both searching for their identity this season. Get Texans vs. Saints odds, picks, and predictions below as our best bet is under 42.5 points.
Saints vs Texans Prediction – NFL Week 6
The sixth game of the season for each of these teams has the potential to be a massive inflection point as both find themselves in surprisingly-tight division races. The Texans are a huge reason the AFC South race’s competitiveness is a surprise, as they were supposed to be a full-on tanking team once again this year, but they’re currently just a game out of first with a 2-3 record that was very nearly 3-2 after a tight game with Atlanta. In fact, the entire division is either 3-2 or 2-3, meaning that it’s anyone’s game, and every snap matters with margins these thin.
The Texans’ surprising success can be credited to a wide range of contributors, but there’s two main culprits, who hold the most important jobs in the building. One is head coach DeMeco Ryans, who came over after a successful tenure as the 49ers defensive coordinator and has helped the defense reshape itself from one of the league’s worst to essentially an average unit. The other is, of course, rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, who was picked second in the draft but is leaving little doubt that he should have gone first overall. Stroud is averaging just below 300 yards per game, and he’s not just pumping volume; he has set a record for most pass attempts before his first career interception, with 186 throws and counting.
Much of the unexpected intrigue in the NFC South is coming from factors external to the Saints, although they are far from blameless; after a head to head between the two teams, the upstart Tampa Bay Buccaneers, considered to be a tanking team in the preseason, are sitting in first in the division, with just one loss to the Eagles. The Saints were expected to be a division contender coming into the season, but with Tampa’s resurgence and an improved defense in Atlanta, it’s looking like an uphill battle. A blowout win in New England was highly encouraging, but that’s a completely broken Patriots team, and there are still reasons for concern with the New Orleans offense.
A spread of 1.5 is a relatively dead number, and as far as the moneyline, I don’t like to be in the habit of betting road favorites. That would lead us to moneyline the Texans at home, but as good as Stroud has been, this New Orleans defense could provide him with his toughest test a game against the Ravens when Houston scored just nine points. Even at their best this year, the Texans have struggled to finish drives, so it’s hard to invest in their side here; let’s stick with the under, in a battle between New Orleans’s elite defense, and Houston’s overachieving group.
Saints vs Texans Prediction: Under 42.5
Saints vs Texans Best Odds
Oct. 15, 12:00 PM Moneyline Odds updated October 15th, 2023, at 3:03 pm
NO @ HOU
Oct. 15, 12:00 PM
Odds updated October 15th, 2023, at 3:03 pm
The Saints are 1.5-point road favorites, with a moneyline of -125, while the Texans are set at +105. The total is set at 42.5 with -110 odds on either side of that line.
Saints vs Texans Key Injuries
Houston’s rookie sensation wideout Tank Dell is in concussion protocol, and seems fairly unlikely to play this weekend. As for the Saints, receiver Chris Olave, guard James Hurst, and edge rusher Cameron Jordan are all listed as questionable
Saints vs Texans Key Matchups
If the Texans can’t finish drives, they won’t pick up points, while the Saints will need to find ground success to keep the chains moving- let’s check out these key matchups.
Texans Red Zone Offense vs. Saints Red Zone Defense
While Stroud and the offense have looked a lot more polished than expected, they haven’t been able to make the big plays and finish drives, often forcing the team to kick field goals. They’ve scored touchdowns on 35.29% of their red zone drives, the third-worst figure in all of football. Stroud has made just four big time throws, while the Dameon Pierce-led running game has accumulated just a single touchdown so far, even behind a league-average offensive line.
Conversely, the Saints have the seventh-best red zone defense in the league as just 44.15% of their opponents’ drives inside the 20 have gotten over the goal line. That figure is indicative of a physical, well-coached group, anchored by a sturdy front seven. Linebacker Demario Davis has been the star, while edge duo Carl Granderson and Cameron Jordan have consistently won at the line of scrimmage, making things very tough for opposing offenses in short spaces. This unit’s strength is a huge reason I love the under in my Saints vs. Texans prediction.
Saints Rushing Offense vs. Texans Ground Defense
The Saints rushing offense is right around 20th in terms of EPA and DVOA, while they’re even lower as per success rate, but there’s a huge caveat; Alvin Kamara was suspended for 60% of the games played so far. The offensive line has been just about average in terms of run blocking, but the backs let them down early on; this is less likely to be the case with Kamara now back to a full workload as he carried the ball 22 times against the Patriots and scored his first touchdown of the year.
The Texans have been just about average defending the run both in terms of EPA and more traditional metrics, as they’ve allowed just 3.9 yards per carry. Linebackers Blake Cashman and Denzel Perryman have both missed times but have both played well and should be in the lineup against New Orleans, and highly-drafted rookie edge rusher Will Anderson is also starting to settle in nicely as he gets his NFL career started.