- Evan Abrams, Betting
Both the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans go into this Sunday night showdown with a record of 2-2 and neither team leading its division. One of the more surprising stats is that the two teams are a combined minus-31 (minus-16 and minus-15 respectively) in terms of point differential through eight total games.
The Texans franchise has been around since 2002, but this is the first time they have opened the year 0-4 against the spread through four weeks. Houston has failed to cover a spread by an average of 6.375 points per week, and since winning seven of their first nine games in a row ATS to start the 2012 regular season, the Texans have dropped nine of their last 11 games ATS by a spread differential of minus-8.36 points per game.
The 49ers and Texans have met only twice before, with San Francisco holding the spread advantage 1-0-1 and going 1-1 straight up. The 49ers are currently a 6.5-point home favorite over the Texans with the total set between 41 and 42 at various shops. Since joining the Texans in 2007, QB Matt Schaub has played in only two "Sunday Night Football" games, going 1-1 SU/ATS (he is 4-3 SU and 1-6 ATS on the road in prime-time games). Under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers are 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS in prime-time games and 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS at home in prime-time games.
A decent trend going into this game for the 49ers is that teams coming off of a Thursday night road win that come home as a favorite the following week are 25-10 SU and 20-15 ATS.
San Francisco was without three key defensive contributors -- Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith and Nnamdi Asomugha -- for their Thursday night road win against the Rams and they expect to get at least Willis back for this game, with Asomugha listed as questionable and Smith out for at least another month. Other than Duane Brown, who has been out for the Texans the past two weeks, the other key players currently listed on Houston's injury report -- Andre Johnson (shin), J.J. Watt (groin/nose), Chris Myers (biceps) and Brian Cushing (concussion) -- seem to be just precautionary.
Let's get an ATS pick on the game from three wiseguys:
Matchup: Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers
Spread: Opened 49ers minus-6.5; now 49ers minus-6
Total: Opened 43; now 42.5
2hEric D. Williams