Posted on August 25, 2019, by Travis Pulver

Saturday night was bittersweet for fans of the Houston Texans. Early in the game they saw running back Lamar Miller go down with an injury. At the time, they didn’t know how serious it was, but it certainly didn’t look good. But, at the same time, one of their division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts, suffered an even more significant loss.

Their quarterback, Andrew Luck, decided to retire.

Via playitusa.com

So, while losing their starting running back go down with what was eventually confirmed as a season-ending injury (ACL and MCL), their odds in the division, conference, and for the Super Bowl improved due to the Colts getting weaker.

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Before Miller’s injury and Luck retiring, the odds on the Texans to win their division, the AFC, and the Super Bowl were as follows:

  • AFC South: +275
  • AFC: +1700
  • Super Bowl: +3300

As of Sunday, August 25, their odds to win each (according to DraftKings) are as follows:

  • AFC South: +125
  • AFC: +1000
  • Super Bowl: +2200 (+2000 at BetOnline.ag)

The injury to Miller happened early in the first quarter as he was tackled by Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman, Maliek Collins. As the play ended, Miller went down holding his left knee and eventually had to be carted off the field.

“It’s very difficult to lose a guy like Lamar, for a lot of reasons. He’s a great pro. He’s just an awesome guy in the locker room,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said following the game, via ESPN.

The injury makes the move the Texans made earlier to acquire Duke Johnson from the Cleveland Browns to be genius. But the plan wasn’t for Johnson to carry the load. He was to be the team’s change-of-pace guy who also is an excellent receiver out of the backfield.

So, for the time being, it appears that he will be the number one back and could carry the bulk of the load. While Bill O’Brien has spoken highly of the depth the Texans have at running back, no one else has had significant playing time.

It wouldn’t be shocking if the Texans were to kick the tires on the recently released Doug Martin. They will also undoubtedly be scouring the waiver wire soon as teams start making cuts.

Of course, how Miller’s injury affects the Texans ability to win the AFC South, AFC, and Super Bowl will depend on how head coach Bill O’ Brien decides to approach calling plays. Because the Texans have not gotten any better by losing Miller. The odds improved because the Colts lost Luck.

O’Brien seemed to love pounding the ball with Miller; will he try to do the same with Johnson even though he isn’t built for it? But maybe he will play to Johnson’s strength and give him more passes out of the backfield (extended hand-offs as they are sometimes called)?

Pounding the ball with Johnson is unlikely to be an effective strategy and will only resort in him getting injured leaving the Texans with without a No. 1 running back.

So– how should you bet?

Houston is good enough to win their division right now—but how you should bet will be determined by what the team does next. But If they do nothing, take the Texans to win the division and nothing else.

If they bring in someone else (that is fairly decent to good), they still aren’t worth betting on to win the Super Bowl. But they could be a decent longshot to win the AFC (emphasis on long shot). 

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