As the NFL’s newest team, the Houston Texans don’t have much of a history. On the other hand, the Texans are the sole NFL team whose entire existence has been in the age on online sports betting. And until the 10s and their six AFC South titles between 2011 and ’19, Houston was a great bet – if you were betting against ’em…
Between 2000 and ’21, the highest spread ever at kickoff in a postseason game was 16 points, given by the New England Patriots to the visiting Houston Texans in the 2016-17 divisional round. (New England covered, just barely, with a 34-16 win.
The Houston Texans were founded in 2002 so as to bring the awkward league of 31 teams to a sublime 32, not to mention addressing the grievous lack of a NFL team for a top-10 U.S. market located in the football-nuttiest state in the country. (No NFL in L.A.? Imaginable. Houston without an NFL franchise? Preposterous!) The current incarnation of the Texans is the third high-level football team to bear the name after the American Football League’s Dallas Texans in the early 1960s and the Houston Texans of the World Football League in ’69.
As is traditional in North American sports expansion teams, the process of choosing a team name was made public; also as usual, the best and most interesting name was not chosen. “Texans” was ultimately selected as the team name based on marketing surveys conducted by the NFL, besting a field of five which included the generic Stallions, the weak Bobcats, the godawful Wildcatters and the Apollos, clearly the proper name. Come on: Not only is it utterly original, it’s also in line with the city’s, likesay, other sports teams, the Astros and Rockets.
The Houston Texans’ first-ever draft pick was would-be franchise quarterback David Carr out of Fresno State, and in the 2002 NFL Draft’s second round, the new team went with Florida Gators WR Jabar Gaffney. And the brand-new team wowed fans instantly by winning (SU and ATS) their opening game over the now-hated Dallas Cowboys.
Unfortunately, those 2002 Houston Texans turned back into pumpkins real quick after week 1. The team would finish worst in the league in win-loss record and most offensive statistical categories and set the tone for many seasons to come. Carr was sacked an insane 76 times that season; though the Texans (or any team in history) would be as ridiculously porous again, some six seasons would pass before a Texans OL would hold opponents to under 2.0 sacks per game. Carr and later Matt Shaub were essentially sacked and concussed out of the league thanks to shabby OLs.
Additionally, though Gaffney’s best years would ultimately come with the New England Patriots, the no. 33 overall pick was symbolic of Texans teams right up to the present in that at least one franchise WR is on the roster every year to help beef up fantasy football stats – think Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins.
Joining the Texans for 2011 was the no. 11 overall pick in the draft, one J.J. Watt. Not coincidentally, the Texans posted their second-ever winning season, the offense outscored the opposition by over 100 points and the team earned its first-ever postseason bid. Between ’11 and ’16, the Houston defense (since Watt, adding Jadeveon Clowney and Whintey Mercilus into the mix) was top-10 in points allowed four times and yardage allowed five, leading to four playoff bids but little success in the postseason.
When the team luckily landed QB DeShaun Watson of Clemson in the 2017 NFL Draft, Texans fans figured the team was heading into a golden age, perhaps even a Super Bowl bid. And then, well, you know.
So after 20 seasons, how may we assess the Houston Texans’ kindness to NFL bettors? You may be surprised. The numbers say…
• First 10 seasons (2002-2011): 66-96 SU/79-78-5 ATS
• Second 10 (2012-2021): 77-92 SU/74-91-4 ATS
Thinking about betting the Houston Texans this season? If their short history is any evidence, little suggests that this will be the year for the NFL’s youngest franchise. Believe it or not, the Texans have become notably worse Against The Spread (ATS) since their 10th season in 2011 and therefore the best bet is probably to wager on the opposition for the foreseeable future…