Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens: Betting odds, preview, prediction

Thomas B. Shea

Houston has escaped twice but the Houdini act might not work in Baltimore where the Ravens usually win. The Week 3 odds favor the road Texans and the NFL computer favors them, too.

The Baltimore Ravens are 6-1 SU all-time against the Houston Texans, and will try to keep that trend going in Baltimore this Sunday.

The Ravens are rarely a home underdog, but they were getting 2.5 points as of midweek at most sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

While the Ravens are 5-1 ATS in their past six games, the Texans are just 1-5 ATS. And Baltimore remains a tough challenge at home, as they are 19-2 SU in 21 recent games, according to the new NFL database.

After getting demolished by the Denver Broncos 49-27 in Week 1, Baltimore bounced back with a 14-6 win and cover in Week 2 over the Cleveland Browns. The offense put up only 296 total yards and 14 points, but the defense was substantially better after allowing seven passing touchdowns the week before.

With Ray Rice being slowed down by a hip flexor injury, Bernard Pierce could play a bigger role in the offense this week.

The Houston Texans have not been the team for the faint of heart in 2013. Houston erased a 21-point deficit in a come-from-behind 31-28 win on Monday Night Football against San Diego in Week 1, and followed that up with a come-from-behind win in overtime over the Tennessee Titans last week.

The Texans failed to cover the spread in both wins, but are off to a 2-0 start all the same. The offense and defense have both been extremely inconsistent so far this year, looking elite in some quarters and pedestrian in others.

Houston had been 0-6 SU in its history against the Baltimore Ravens before last year's 43-13 blowout win in October. The Texans are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games on the road.

This might be one of the most difficult games on the board to predict. Both teams have been all over the place on both sides of the ball so far this season. Houston appears to be the better team on paper, especially with Ray Rice ailing for the Ravens.

But do the Texans have enough left in the tank after two straight wild finishes?

We're going to say yes. Bernard Pierce is a solid back, but he is no Ray Rice, and with Rice at less than 100% the Texans should have the defensive advantage in this game and be able to find a way (yet again) to come out on top.

PICK: Houston -2.5 | Computer Prediction: 28-18 Texans (from Odds Shark NFL computer)

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