Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions Odds Analysis & Free Pick ATS

November 26, 12:30 PM EST

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
HOU -2.5/DET +2.5

The Houston Texans take on the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Thanksgiving. It’s tradition to see the Lions playing on Turkey Day, though they might not have a ton of wind in their sails after suffering a 20-0 shutout loss on Sunday to the Carolina Panthers of all teams. Despite showing signs of life at times this season, it has been slim pickings over the course of the last month for the Lions. The Texans are technically in worse shape with a 3-7 record, but with a 27-20 win over the Patriots on Sunday and some recent success after a terrible start to the season, they find themselves in a slightly better state of mind in relation to the Lions. Can they cover the spread on Thanksgiving?

Detroit Fails Every Gut-Check

Over the course of the season, a team will come to these various crossroads games, where the result will largely determine a team’s trajectory. When those games pop up for Detroit, they go right into the toilet. After blowing huge leads in early losses, they actually got to 3-3, only to show in quick order that they were not cut out to make a push. And the resistance is waning. With Matt Patricia reuniting with some former members of his Patriots' defense, there was some source of early promise, and it has quickly dissolved into what we have been seeing. And to get shut out by a mid-pack Carolina defense and now having to turn around on the short week, it’s not an easy thing to get behind them right now.

Problems With the Lions

They have been hit pretty hard by injuries. Stafford will be in there, but his thumb seems to be giving him problems. Getting all these pieces clicking on offense has been hard. Lead receiver Kenny Golladay (questionable) has been in and out of action. Promising rookie D’Andre Swift is dealing with a concussion. Danny Amendola is iffy. That line is getting worse throughout the season, and it's really a demoralizing situation. They have a stacked backfield with a seemingly infinite number of capable backs, and it never seems to amount to much. Earlier in the season, we were seeing more fight from this team. They would at least get off to a quick start and give teams a run for their money or something to think about. Other than a win over Washington a few weeks ago, they haven’t offered much resistance at all—just losing resoundingly without so much as giving their backers a sniff at covering the spread.

The Subtle Houston About-Face

The Texans aren't setting the world on fire, and two wins over the Jags and beating the current version of the Patriots might not mean a ton overall, but the signs of life are there. Within that stretch was a 10-7 loss to the Browns where at least their “D” performed well, as well as an OT loss to a good Titans team. An 0-4 start and getting their head coach canned is a bad sign for a team and where they’re headed. But with interim coach Romeo Crennel now captaining the ship, he seems to have found another gear with a defense that has been playing better in spots. But problems still exist.

Some misguided personnel decisions by the previous regime have left the Texans strapped in the area of offensive firepower. David Johnson is banged up, and even when he's not, this run-game is in pretty bad shape. Deshaun Watson is still a major talent, and he has weapons with Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, along with some good role-receivers and tight ends who chip in. But with that line and a run-game that is often hibernating, this offense can be really flat and one-dimensional. But on Sunday, with 344 yards and a line that gave Watson a lot of time, that one dimension can sometimes be enough, especially against dysfunctional football operations like what they face this week.

The Lack of Appeal Taking Houston as a Road-Favorite

Coming off the short week and having to come into the Motor City on Thanksgiving is a tough gig. Conversely, Detroit can’t be flying that high right now. Still, the Texans have to go out of conference during difficult times on a major holiday in a venue where they are all wholly unaccustomed. That might be something that wouldn’t affect a good team, but despite a recent upsurge, Houston is still a 3-7 squad where things don’t always go their way and not what people usually have in mind when laying points on the road.

Houston at Detroit Prediction 11/26/20

The Lions haven't been horrible in every game, and for them to deliver at home against a three-win team would hardly be earth-shattering. The Texans are out of their element and hardly reliable in this context. It's hard to shake the image of Detroit looking as awful as it gets last week. On the one hand, you don't want to get carried away with the Lions losing that way to a team that had lost five straight and was working with a first-time starting QB. But I think it is, in fact representative of something bad. I see the Texans passing-game resonating with good effect here, as the Texans get the win and cover in Detroit on Thanksgiving.

Free Pick: 
I'm betting on the Houston Texans minus 2.5 points.