The best sportsbooks have released their betting odds for this week’s NFL action, and one game, in particular, seems worth investing in to me: Washington vs. Houston.
For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread and total for this game.
Feel free to parlay both bets at one of our top-rated betting sites in order to maximize your profit.
Washington Commanders vs. Houston Texans
Sunday, November 20, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at NRG Stadium
The Commanders have improved mightily since they were 1-4. After suffering four straight defeats, they beat Chicago, Green Bay, and Indianapolis.
They lost a tight one to 7-1 Minnesota, which is no shame, before most recently handing Philadelphia its first loss of the season, and doing so in Philadelphia.
No such positive story is available to Houston, losers of four straight games.
Awful on both sides of the ball, the Texans are in line to have the worst record in the NFL.
Washington's Improved Defense
In the first phase of the regular season, Washington's defense was a mess. Its defensive coordinator was on the hot seat, as what used to be a superb defense, was regressing in terms of all sorts of statistics.
Washington's first four opponents all scored 22 or more points against the Commanders' defense. Detroit even scored 36.
But since the end of Week 4, no Commander opponent has scored more than 21 points in a game.
Star-laden Minnesota, for example, mustered 20 points against the Commanders. 20 remains its second-lowest scoring output of the season.
Washington's Defensive Statistics
The Commanders' defensive statistics remain skewed by their first four games of the season. Wiping away the effects of those negative statistical outputs will never succeed completely.
Those early-season efforts remain most apparent now. After all, they formed 40% of the games that Washington has played all season.
Nonetheless, Washington's defensive improvement is statistically very legible. They are one of seven teams allowing fewer than 100 rushing yards per game in their last three games –this despite facing Philadelphia's highly-ranked rush attack and Minnesota with star running back Dalvin Cook.
Washington's pass defense is statistically above average, but its secondary forms the weakness of its entire defensive unit.
Houston's Meagre Pass Attack
Is the weakness of Washington's secondary something that Houston can take advantage of? Houston is one of the least-equipped teams to take advantage of a poor secondary.
The Texan pass attack ranks 24th in terms of yards per game. Quarterback Davis Mills struggles to throw for more touchdowns than interceptions.
Houston's Wide Receiver Situation
Among their wide receivers, the Texans rely most heavily on Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins. Both players have combined for 100 targets, while a running back has the next-most targets on the team and no other wide receiver has more than 27 targets.
Cooks, however, remains banged up with a hip/wrist injury that is keeping him out of practice, and Nico Collins has been limited in practice with a groin injury.
Both players are listed as 'questionable' for Sunday's game.
While pass defense forms the weakness of Washington's defense, its cornerback group is well-equipped specifically to limit Houston's available wide receiver group.
Cornerback Kendall Fuller's outlook is particularly positive on Sunday. He has been responsible primarily for Philadelphia's DeVonta Smith, Viking Adam Thielen, and Colt Michael Pittman Jr. Not one of those receivers exceeded 24 yards against Fuller.
Fuller's positive performance against Pittman is especially significant because Pittman is a bigger-sized wide receiver who relies especially on his contested catch rate and thus, in these ways, resembles the best wide receivers whom Houston will deploy on Sunday.
Commanders Pass Rush
Chase Young, the hyped-up early draft pick who made a splash as a rookie with 7.5 sacks, is expected to return on Sunday.
He will help a defensive line that relies especially on Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, and Jonathan Allen, all of whom have between four and six sacks so far.
They'll thrive against a Texan pass protection unit that ranks 19th at preventing sacks.
Houston's Rush Attack Outlook
It's no coincidence that Houston has averaged 11.5 points against the two strongest run defenses it has faced so far, Tennessee's and Jacksonville's.
Running back Dameon Pierce struggles behind his offensive line to be efficient against stronger run defenses, so Washington's is sure to limit him.
Commander Rush Attack
Washington is a run-heavy team with its game-manager quarterback handing the ball off to either starting-caliber running back, Brian Robinson Jr. or Antonio Gibson.
The Commanders face just the right defense, one that has been uniquely porous against the run all season.
To be exact, as measured by opposing rush yards per game, Houston's run defense ranks last place by 19.9 yards.
For this game's NFL picks, expect Washington to control the clock by running the ball down Houston's throat.
Offensively, the Texans will struggle against Washington's continually well-rested defense, which is vastly improved and well-equipped to stop them from doing what they like to do.
For the above reasons, expect a lower-scoring game in which the Commanders cover the short number.
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.