These teams couldn't be at more different points. Houston entered this season as the least talented roster and coaching staff in football, and both are billings that the Texans have lived up to. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Arizona is the lone undefeated team left in the league. They've notched wins against multiple quality teams, and not by small margins.
Here's how the bookmakers have set the odds for Sunday's matchup.
NFL Odds: Texans-Cardinals Odds
Houston Texans +18 (-110), +1040 ML
Arizona Cardinals -18 (-110), -2000 ML
Over 47.5 points (-110)
Under 47.5 points (-110)
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Why The Texans Could Cover The Spread
To be honest, there isn't much about the Texans' play that inspires confidence. Despite that fact, they've actually been a decent team when it comes to covering as underdogs. Houston has entered every single game of this season as an underdog and has managed to pull off three covers. One of those was against the Cleveland Browns, a playoff-caliber team. The last time Arizona faced a team similar to the Texans in the Jacksonville Jaguars, they came out of the gates sluggishly and allowed the Jags to hang around for three quarters. An 18-point spread is absolutely massive for any team, so another Arizona start like they had against Jacksonville will almost certainly result in a cover for the Texans.
Another factor helping Houston is the injury situation for the Cardinals. Seven Arizona players missed practice due to injury this week, and it seems unlikely that all of them recover in time for Sunday's game. Starting offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Kelvin Beachum should both have a questionable designation heading into this game, and the same is true for starting linebacker Jordan Hicks. The Texans won't be facing a full-strength Cardinals team here.
Why The Cardinals Could Cover The Spread
The Cardinals have been a gambler's dream this season. They are currently 5-1 against the spread on the year as well as winning straight up when they entered the game as underdogs twice. Arizona came into a crucial matchup against the Los Angeles Rams as three-point underdogs and ended up winning by a massive 17 points. A similar situation took place against the Cleveland Browns, but the Cardinals ended up notching an even bigger win there. Arizona has already shown that they can blow out good teams, so there's no reason to think that the Texans will fare any better than some of the league's best.
Houston hasn't been good at much this season, but their defensive track record is downright abysmal. The Texans have allowed more than 30 points in three of their six games this season while also allowing just under that number in another two games. Arizona is one of the best offenses in the NFL, and they should have no trouble dropping more than 30 on this team. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Cardinals break 40 points in this matchup.
Final Texans-Cardinals Prediction & Pick
While the spread is absolutely huge, it's impossible to confidently bet on the Texans in this game. The Cardinals have already put together some dominant wins against teams much better than Houston, and there's no reason to think that will change when Arizona plays on their home turf.
FINAL TEXANS-CARDINALS PREDICTION AND PICK: CARDINALS -18 (-110)