This week’s ESPN Monday Night Football game features a lot of intrigue and that aside from two 4-2 division leaders looking to keep some close competition at bay. The Texans’ Brock Osweiler returns to his old stomping grounds in Denver and Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak will be facing off against a Houston franchise he coached for almost eight seasons. Kubiak, who has been off the sidelines for two weeks after a health scare, is expected to get the upper hand with the Broncos lined as a -9 pick against the spread home favorite.
Denver jumped out to an unexpected 4-0 start, earning wins over the Panthers, Colts, Bengals and Buccaneers, but things took a turn for the worse in the team’s last two outings. The Broncos were dumped 23-16 at home by the Falcons and they fell 21-13 in San Diego last Thursday night.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian missed the Atlanta game with a shoulder injury, but he returned for the Chargers game only to complete a season low 60-percent of his passes for season low 4.6 average.
Siemian and the Broncos offense will face a stingier defense on Monday night, but playing at home should make a difference. That is especially true with the Texans in town.
While Houston owns a nice record, it has flat out stunk on the road. Of course, the Texans 0-2 away record came against the Patriots and Vikings, but they were sub-par outings by any standard.
Houston fell 27-0 at New England and 31-13 in Minnesota as Osweiler was sacked six times and threw two interceptions. His passer rating in those two games? An abysmal 58.4.
Osweiler will not find the treading any easier against his old mates, who are yielding just 18 points and 295 yards per game. Denver is also tied for 10th in the league with five interceptions and its 21 sacks lead the NFL.
The spread here is a lofty one, though, and Denver has beat up on mostly lackluster opposition (four wins came against teams that are a combined 7-16). Throw in the fact the last six teams playing as a Monday Night Football home favorite coming off back-to-back losses are 1-5 straight up and 0-6 against the spread, and there is reason to side with a Texans cover.
ESPN Monday Night Football Pick: Texans +9.
Texans vs Broncos Odds ESPN Monday Night Football Pick: NFL Odds Provided by Bovada.lv
Houston Texans +9 (-115), Over 40.5 (-110), +290 (Moneyline)
Denver Broncos -9 (-105), Under 40.5 (-110), -380 (Moneyline)