The Houston Texans have shocked a ton of people this season, going from the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the AFC South champions the following season.
Rookie quarterback CJ Stroud has been a massive reason why, and he’ll get his first playoff action in a home matchup with the Cleveland Browns and veteran Joe Flacco on Wild Card Weekend.
Flacco has led the Browns to a great finish to the season, earning the top wild card spot in the AFC. Cleveland actually finished the regular season with a better record than the Texans.
That’s led to oddsmakers favoring the Browns in this game, but should that be the case?
Using the latest odds, I’m going to attempt to predict the final score for the first matchup of Wild Card Weekend. Houston would cover the spread with an upset win, but can the young team pull that off?
Let’s dive into the odds for this game:
Texans vs. Browns odds, spread and total
Texans final score prediction
There is a massive trend working against the Texans in this game, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to lose.
Quarterbacks making their first playoff start versus quarterbacks who have playoff experience are 17-35-1 ATS (32.7%) and 17-36 SU since 2002. The Stroud-Flacco matchup falls into this category, as Flacco is a former Super Bowl MVP.
Still, I think the Browns may be getting a little too much love on the road. Cleveland has been a much different team defensively on the road compared to at home.
The Browns are allowing a league best 13.9 points per game at home, but that number jumps to 29.6 per game on the road, the second worst mark in the NFL. How is that possible?
That gives Houston some hope at home in this game, and it’s worth noting that the Texans have been solid as home underdogs, going 2-2 against the spread and winning two games outright.
Don’t be shocked if Stroud and this offense find some success against Cleveland, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the aging Flacco make a mistake or two to keep Houston in this game.
If the Texans win – I think it’ll be close. My final score pick is in…
Final score prediction: Texans 24, Browns 23
All you need to do is sign up for the DraftKings Sportsbook with the link below, deposit and wager $5 on any game – including this one – to receive $150 in bonus bets. That’s a pretty sweet deal to bet on a final score prediction!
Sign up for DraftKings NOW!
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Find Peter Dewey's betting record here.