The New England Patriots have won each of their last three games against the Houston Texans both SU and ATS, and will try to make it four straight wins when they host the Texans at Gillette Stadium this Sunday.
New England was a 9.5-point favorite as of midweek at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com as bettors remember the recent thrashing of the Texans by Tom Brady's troops in December.
New England shook off a modest 3-3 SU start to finish the season with a 9-1 SU and 5-4-1 ATS mark over its last 10 games. While the Patriots offense was consistently strong all season (averaging an NFL-best 34.8 points per game), the defense came around in December.
With the exception of the 41-31 loss to San Francisco, the defense allowed 16 points or less in each of New England's other four December games, including a 42-14 Monday night win over Houston.
The Houston Texans looked to have the AFC locked up with an 11-1 SU record, but slumped down the stretch with a 1-3 SU and ATS record over its last four games to fall out of the conference's top two spots. Houston bounced back nicely last week with a 19-13 win at home over the Cincinnati Bengals, who had entered that game red-hot.
That said, with 19 points scored, Houston failed to score 20 points for the fourth time in its last five games; and failing to score into the 20's isn't likely to cut it against the high-powered Patriots.
Houston brings a 3-0 ATS record in career playoff games, along with a 5-0 ATS run in January games. They have also been tough as an underdog and boast J.J. Watt on the defensive line.
The total has gone OVER in 11 of New England's last 14 games and in six of New England's last seven games at home. The total has also gone OVER in all four meetings between these two teams all-time. New England is 3-0 SU and ATS over its last three games against Houston.
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Texans put forth a much better effort than what we saw the last time they visited the Patriots. But bettor beware - the Pats are just 1-6 ATS in playoff games since 2008. The scores computer has the final result right on the edge of the current spread.
But with Rob Gronkowski returning to add even more firepower to Brady's arsenal and an extra week to prepare, it is difficult to argue against the defending AFC champions rolling to a double-digit win this Sunday.
PICK: New England -9.5 (courtesy of PickShark.com)