The minute Andrew Luck shocked the world by retiring, it opened the door wide open for the rest of the AFC South to make a play for the division title. The Texans were already well positioned to compete for a playoff berth, but their recent trade with the Dolphins really improves their roster.
In case you missed it, Houston will acquire left tackle Laremy Tunsil, wide receiver Kenny Stills, a fourth round pick in 2020 and a sixth rounder in 2021 in the deal. They paid a heavy price to the Dolphins though. Miami will receive tackle Julie’n Davenport and cornerback Johnson Bademosi in the deal. More importantly, they’ll get the Texans’ first round picks in 2020 and 2021 plus a second rounder in 2021. This is a clear example of the Texans going all in while the Dolphins build for their future.
The implications aren’t very significant for Miami this year. The Dolphins will almost certainly be one of the worst teams in the NFL. Their over/under currently sits at 4.5 wins and going with the under (+125) is the right play to make. This team is tanking to find a franchise quarterback in next year’s draft. They’ll do whatever is necessary to make sure they secure the No. 1 selection in next April’s draft.
The deal is much more interesting for the Texans. Oddsmakers have immediately installed them as the favorites to win the AFC South this season. They absolutely deserve that kind of attention. Adding a quality at left tackle will finally allow Houston to give Deshaun Watson some protection. It’s not an exaggeration to say the acquisition of Tunsil might save the quarterback’s career by providing him time to throw the football.
Getting Stills in the deal is also a sneaky plus for the Texans. Everyone knows DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the game, but that doesn’t mean he won’t benefit from some added talent around him. Stills isn’t a star by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s a quality option for Watson as a No. 3 wide receiver. Diversifying the offense will only help Houston’s win total in 2019.
Now that we’ve established how this trade helps the Texans on the field, it’s time to walk you through how you should change your betting patterns based on the move. Oddsmakers have reacted quickly to the news and cut the value on backing Houston, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the idea completely.
The first bet to make is to go ahead and back the Texans to win the division. Right now, +280 is the best value out there for you. Take it and run. It won’t make you rich, but Houston has separated themselves from the rest of the AFC South with this big move. Don’t overthink things, make this wager and reap the profits when they win the division comfortably.
The bet you really need to take advantage is the Texans’ over/under win total. For whatever reason, that line hasn’t moved as much as the division odds. As I write this, you can still find a way to wager on the over at 8.5 wins (+120). The risk in backing Houston to win nine games previously was the idea that Watson could go down to injury. Adding Tunsil changes those odds dramatically. Hammer the Texans over while you still can. It suddenly becomes one of the best over/under bets on the board.
The one bet to stay away from is the idea that the Texans have suddenly become legitimate AFC title contenders. 15:1 odds don’t make it a horrible bet, but Houston is still well behind the likes of New England, Kansas City and Los Angeles. In other words, don’t get too greedy here. Play the division and the over/under. Don’t get crazy and call Bill O’Brien’s team the AFC favorites just because they made a good trade.
The key here is for you to act fast before the rest of your competition catches on to the good move that the Texans have made. Put serious money on Houston’s over/under and double down by making a moderate wager on their ability to win the AFC South. It’s a market inefficiency you can still take advantage of at the moment. Don’t delay and lose your chance to profit off the big trade.