With a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback, it was understandably hard to make predictions about the Houston Texans ahead of the 2023 season. But five weeks into the season, we’ve learned a lot about the Texans. The results have been a little mixed with Houston sitting at 2-3. However, there is no doubt that there have been some pleasant surprises with the Texans looking like they are ready to take a step forward after winning four games or less in three straight seasons.
But how do oddsmakers look at the Texans five weeks into the season? How many games can Houston win? Can the Texans actually win the AFC South or make the playoffs? Let’s take a look at where some of Houston’s futures bets currently stand five weeks into the season.
Over/Under 7.5 Wins
Before the season, most oddsmakers gave the Texans an over/under win total of 6.5. But bookmakers now have Houston’s over/under at 7.5 wins. That’s a good sign that the Texans are already exceeding preseason expectations, even if those expectations were rather modest. Of course, betting the under on 7.5 wins is still more lucrative, although that means sportsbooks are encouraging bettors to wager money on under 7.5 wins because the Texans winning at least eight games is more likely.
Obviously, the Texans still need six more wins to get to eight wins. But they still have seven home games left, most of which appear to be winnable games. The Texans still have home games against the Saints, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Jaguars, Broncos, and Titans. Meanwhile, road games against the Panthers, Jets, Titans, Colts, and even the Bengals are all games Houston could potentially win. After all, the Texans went on the road and beat the Jaguars by 20 points in Week 3 and had an equally impressive 30-6 win over the Steelers the following week. Needless to say, the Texans aren’t going to win all of those games. However, they’ve shown enough promise early in the season to think that winning six of their 12 remaining games against a rather modest schedule is possible for the Texans.
Texans to Make the Playoffs
The Texans are getting somewhat generous odds to make the playoffs at around +280, depending on the sportsbook. Any 2-3 team is likely to have a tough journey ahead in order to get to the seven-team playoffs. That’s particularly true in the AFC, which is much deeper than the NFC. That being said, the Texans are surely ahead of at least a few other teams in the AFC pecking order with regard to the three Wild Card spots. The problem is that they will at least have to finish second in their division because the AFC South is unlikely to send three teams to the playoffs.
As mentioned, the Texans have a manageable schedule ahead of them. They’re also ranked among the top half of teams in the NFL both offensively and defensively. On the surface, that puts the Texans in a good position to be among the 14 teams to make the playoffs. Also, four of Houston’s last six games this season are against teams that currently have a losing record. If the Texans can stay in contention, they’ll have a chance to finish the season strong and play their way into the playoffs late in the year.
Texans to Win AFC South
In a way, Houston’s best path to the playoffs could be winning the AFC South. The Texans currently have +425 odds to win their division, which are the longest odds of the four teams in the AFC South. However, they aren’t much longer than the odds the Titans and Colts are currently getting. That means there is some good value for Houston’s division title odds.
More importantly, all four teams in the division have started the year either 3-2 or 2-3. That means nobody has started to pull away after the first five weeks of the season. A road win over the Jaguars, who remain the favorites to win the division, is a strong indicator that the Texans are capable of being the best team in the division. In fact, Houston has the highest point differential of any team in the AFC South after five weeks. If their young roster can continue to improve throughout the season, the Texans could still make a serious push to win the AFC South this year.
C.J. Stroud to be Offensive Rookie of the Year
The biggest reason why the Texans have been better than expected this year is the play of rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. Needless to say, there have been some rocky moments for the former Ohio State signal caller. But Stroud has also gone the first five games of his career without throwing an interception, which set a record and is a great sign of maturity in the young quarterback. Stroud is also averaging close to 300 passing yards per game and is starting to get better protection from Houston’s offensive line, which has helped his early development.
As a result, Stroud is currently the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year with the odds around +150 at most sportsbooks. He’s clearly head and shoulders ahead of all of the other rookie quarterbacks, especially since Anthony Richardson continues to struggle to stay healthy. Granted, there is still some competition coming from Bijan Robinson, De’Von Achane, and Puka Nacua. However, if Stroud can continue to play the way he has thus far, he has a strong chance of winning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Texans to Win Super Bowl
Needless to say, it’s still a long shot for the Texans to win the Super Bowl this season. Houston’s current odds are around +13000. Obviously, that makes it highly unlikely that they’ll win it all. However, there are eight teams that have longer Super Bowl odds than the Texans, which wasn’t the case before the season. That’s a sign of Houston’s surprising growth thus far and why the Texans look poised to continue to surpass expectations.