Sports Betting - Tuesday 18 December 2012 by

NFL Week 16 Opening Betting Lines and Handicapping Advice

With just seven of the twelve National Football League 2013 playoff spots currently reserved, there’s a ton of intrigue attached to the NFL Week 16 schedule. With this post we look at the Houston Texans vs. Minnesota Vikings match-up as both cubs will be playing for something in this one. Loaded with postseason implications, kickoff for this AFC vs NFC contest is slated for 1:00 PM ET, on Sunday, December 23, 2012, from Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

NFL Week 16 Opening Betting Lines and Handicapping Advice

Houston Texans: Can clinch home field advantage

Although they’re a sparkling 6-1 on the road during the 2012 NFL season, the Houston Texans can ensure home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a Week 16 win over the Vikings. After getting blown out 42-14 by the Patriots in Week 14 (the lone blemish on their road record) the Texans reloaded and locked up the AFC South division for a second straight season with a fairly convincing 29-17 home win over the Indianapolis Colts last weekend.

This is a fantastic match-up of stud running backs as Texans RB Arian Foster will be a factor in this contest. WR Andre Johnson will also be featured against the Vikings 23rd ranked pass defense. One more win earns the Texans the top seed in in the AFC as Houston owns the tie-breaker over the Denver Broncos. The Texans won’t want to go to Indy in Week 17 with the regular season AFC Championship on the line – they will take care of business in this one.

Minnesota Vikings: Have climbed into final NFC Playoff position

Despite a 2-5 mid-season run, the Adrian Peterson led Vikings have clawed their way back into playoff contention with two straight wins. A front runner for the Player of the Year AND Comeback Player of the Year awards, Purple Jesus is also chasing Eric Dickerson’s NFL single season rushing record (2,105 yards) that’s been untouchable for 32 years. We fully expect that Peterson will get his fair share of yardage in this game.

That said, the yards won’t come easy against the Texans fifth ranked run defense that gives up just 93.2 rush yards per game. More of a concern is whether QB Christian Ponder and the Vikings offense can handle all-world defensive end J.J. Watt (19.5 sacks) and the rest of the relentless Texans defense. Further to that, Minnesota sports a 2-5 road record and they rank dead last in the league when it comes to passing offense – this one could get ugly.

Advantage Sports Betting Opening Betting Odds and Prediction

We surf over to the online sportsbook for our Texans vs Vikings wagering lines where we find the Texans as -7.5 (-110) home chalk against the spread. Dating back to the start of the 2011 NFL season, Houston has been a favorite by 7.5 points or more eight times and they have posted a 6-1-1 record ATS – albeit against very inferior opponents.

On the other side of that betting trend coin, the Vikings have been -7.5 point road pups  five times and they have posted a 2-2-1 record ATS over the same time span. Give us the Texans at -7.5 ATS as they give their Lone Star State fans an early Christmas gift by locking up the regular season AFC Championship with a convincing home win.

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