NFL betting lines excitement is expected to be high for what could be a preseason shootout between the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints. Houston opened as a 1-point road favorite for this matchup at SBG Global with an over/under set for 40.5. Kickoff is at 8:05 Eastern.
While both teams are coming off losses in their preseason openers they are also both among the favorites to make the playoffs for 2010.
Houston lost at Arizona last week 16-19 as 2.5-point dogs while New Orleans lost at New England 24-27 as 1.5-point dogs.
Houston starting quarterback Matt Schaub looked to be in midseason form against the Cardinals as he was 5-6 for 78 yards as the Texans looked ready to maintain their 2009 status as the top passing team in the league.
“I thought we were sharp,” said Schaub. “On top of our stuff that we were executing.”
Schaub hit Andre Johnson on a nice 44-yard touchdown pass. Backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky was also impressive as he went 12-21 for 129 yards. He is expected to see plenty of reps against the Saints.
Meanwhile Mario Williams looks like he is ready to provide the Texans with some much needed defensive help as he had two sacks.
Houston coach Gary Kubiak liked what he saw.
“Our ones (starters) were very sharp,” said Kubiak. “I thought they looked really good. I thought defensively we played really good all night long.”
The Texans will continue to emphasize improved defensive play in the preseason, along with improving the ground attack, which was a pointed sports betting weakness for them last year. Houston received some bad news after the game as running back Ben Tate will be lost for the season due to injury.
Defense is also a concern for the Saints as they were able to win the Super Bowl last season despite not having a dominant stop unit. New Orleans reminded those betting NFL preseason games that they have plenty of work to do as they allowed big plays at New England which eventually did them in.
“That’s been our mindset from the start,” said linebacker Jonathan Vilma. “We’ve got to prove ourselves all over again. We’ve got to keep working and improve on the little things.”
Another concern for the Saints this year is a Super Bowl hangover as no team has repeated as champion since the 2004 New England Patriots.
“We’ve pretty much put the Super Bowl behind us,” said cornerback Terry Porter.