Peyton Manning's weak Monday Night performance has changed some opinions on where the Denver Broncos fit in the NFL pecking order. It also has created some uncertainty for oddsmakers, whose opinions have translated into a wide range of point spreads for Denver's Week 3 home game against the Houston Texans.
"We have one book at a PK and another holding the Texans as 3-point favorites, which is a significant disparity in opinion this late in the week," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com. Other shops have the Texans as 1-point road favorites, but Bovada is so far holding the line at -3 for the Texans.
"Houston is -3, but at +115 and we are still seeing about 80 per cent on them," said Bovada's sportsbook manager Kevin Bradley. "It's a bit strange because many see this as a toss-up game."
Houston hasn't had any tough competition yet with a home game against Miami and a road game against Jacksonville, but the Texans have passed the dye test so far.
Beating Miami 30-10 as a 13-point favorite and Jacksonville 27-7 as a 6.5-point favorite, the Texans have looked like a well-oiled machine on both sides of the ball. The Texans have been a consistent moneymaker with Schaub under center at 10-3 SU and ATS in the last 13 games he has started.
Peyton Manning was virtually flawless in his Denver Broncos debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But last week, Manning threw three early interception to dig his team into a hole that they couldn't climb out of as the Broncos fell 27-21 to Atlanta. Which version of Manning will we see this week?
This one has the makings of an outstanding game. Matt Schaub and Peyton Manning are two of the most exciting quarterbacks in the game. And on defense, both of these teams played very well last year and that appears to have carried over into this season.
In a game that is too close to call, the more sure-thing appears to be Houston. With very few personnel changes from last year, this is the same team that kicked off 2011 with a 10-3 SU and ATS record, back in form with Matt Schaub healthy.
Denver is still a work in progress with Manning getting back up to game speed and the team adjusting to his no-huddle offense. Considering we know what we are going to get out of the Houston Texans, they make the safer play in a game that could be a preview of a playoff game down the road.
PICK: Houston -1.5