Can Stroud Help Texans Earn Upset In AFC Divisional Playoffs?

The Texans-Ravens Odds Haven't Changed Since Opening

The Baltimore Ravens will begin their playoff journey with a home game against the Houston Texans on Saturday afternoon. The game will be featured on ESPN, showcasing two offenses that have been ultimately unstoppable over the last month.

The Texans earned a 45-14 win over the Cleveland Browns in last week’s Wild Card Weekend matchup. The defense added two touchdowns, and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud added three passing touchdowns with no interceptions. That will be key for Stroud against the Ravens. He’ll have to limit interceptions, which he’s done all year.

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Baltimore has earned 18 interceptions this year, which is more than NFL games played this season. Meanwhile, Stroud only had five interceptions during the year.

But while Stroud has been excellent, Lamar Jackson has been even better. He’s set to win be this year’s NFL MVP after pushing the Ravens to a 13-4 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

One of Jackson’s favorite targets could potentially return. Mark Andrews injured his ankle earlier in the season but was a full practice participant on Wednesday and Thursday. The star tight end could legitimately play for the Ravens.

That news hasn’t changed the Baltimore-Houston line much. The Texans opened +9.5 (-110) and are still +9.5 (-110) heading into Saturday. However, the total has dipped from 46 at opening to 43.5. Bettors are taking notes on how Baltimore’s defense has played against other top NFL teams in the league in previous weeks.

For example, the Ravens added four interceptions against the San Francisco 49ers and Brock Purdy. They also earned two interceptions on Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins. Baltimore held both supreme offenses to just 19 points in wins.

Let’s break down the Texans-Ravens odds for this AFC Divisional Playoffs matchup.

Texans logo Texans vs Ravens Ravens logo

Location: M&T Bank Stadium
Streaming: Watch Live Sports

Will C.J. Stroud Be The Best Of All Time?

We haven’t even finished one full season of C.J. Stroud. However, backup quarterback Case Keenum believes Stroud will be the “best of all time.”

Many football fans and analysts of the NFL believe Tom Brady is the best ever to play the position. Brady won seven Super Bowls and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player five times.

Therefore, Stroud would need to put up those numbers in his career even to be mentioned in the same breath as Brady.

However, if Stroud can will the Texans past the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday and push Houston into the AFC Championship, he’d inch closer to earning his first Super Bowl.

Speaking Of Best Ever…

While discussing MVP’s, let’s talk about Lamar Jackson. Jackson is the favorite to win the MVP this season after throwing for 3,678 yards and 24 touchdowns. Jackson also rushed 148 times for 821 yards and five more touchdowns this season.

He also threw only seven interceptions.

Now, he’s the favorite to win the MVP Award for the second NFL season in his career.

Only eight players have ever achieved multiple MVPs in a career.

The list includes Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Jim Brown, Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas, Patrick Mahomes, and Joe Montana. Jackson is about to join that group of players.

The Public Loves The Texans

The public is riding the Texans.

The Texans are getting a high percentage of bets, but the line at 9.5 hasn’t moved.

Houston’s win against the Browns was excellent. They made it into the next round with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. The defense played lights out and made Joe Flacco think about retirement. However, the Ravens are a different breed.

Baltimore has made most quarterbacks look bad and has gone 13-3 with their actual starters playing in games.

The Ravens had a bunch of different running backs this year once JK Dobbins went down and had to pivot with a rookie wide receiver as the No. 1 receiver of the team.

Meanwhile, Mark Andrews, who was second on the team in receiving, had a brutal ankle injury that kept him out of the regular season’s second half. But he’s expected to return after multiple full practices under his belt earlier this week.

Therefore, the offense looks exciting, with even more explosiveness on the roster.

The major difference on defense is Baltimore’s pass rush. The Ravens have been really good at getting in quarterbacks’ faces.

The one area where Houston has struggled this year is in pass protection. While Stroud only has five interceptions this year, the Ravens will likely force some mistakes from the rookie signal caller. They’ve done it to countless premier quarterbacks. Stroud would just be the next victim.

So, while the public loves the Texans, the Ravens analytically look miles better than the Texans. In their last two games with starters, the NFL latest scores had the Ravens earn a 56-19 win over the Dolphins and a 33-19 win over the San Francisco 49ers on the road.

The Ravens are in prime position to make the AFC Championship game and maybe even the Super Bowl. The NFL lines odds are steep for Baltimore. But we don’t mind. Our NFL picks using the Texans-Ravens odds include the Ravens at -9.5 (-110).

For NFL betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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