1st Down: First Quarter Scoring
The Bills struggled all season to score points in the first quarters of games. The Bills scored zero points in the first quarter in 9 of their 16 games this season, while also scoring three points on two other occasions … it would no doubt be desirable for the Bills to get out to a quick start this weekend.
The Houston Texans have not been one of the best 1st quarter scoring teams either. The Texans scored zero first-quarter points in half of their regular-season games. They have only scored double digits in the first quarter of a game once, which was aided by a defensive touchdown. Similarly, the Bills have only scored double-digit points in the first quarter one time this season, in a home game against Washington.
The Texans and Bills both ranked in the bottom four in the NFL in first-quarter scoring this season (29th and 30th respectively). If either team can buck this trend, it could greatly aid in building and sustaining momentum for the entirety of the game.
2nd Down: Bills ATS as a Road Team
The Bills had a better road record (6-2) than home record (4-4) during the 2019 regular season. Solid performances away from Orchard Park this season should give the Bills confidence heading into Houston. Let’s take a closer look at how the Bills fared on the road compared to Vegas’s expectations this year.
According to vegasinsider.com, the Bills were 6-1-1 against the spread on the road this season. Their only loss came in week 16 against the Patriots, where the spread settled at 6.5, and the Bills lost the game by seven. The vegasinsider.com consensus spread currently shows the Bills as three-point underdogs against the Texans.
Coincidently, the Bills were three-point road underdogs on three separate occasions this season. In those games, the Bills went 2-0-1 against the spread, with their push coming against the Browns. The Bills outright won the two other games (week one against the Jets and week five against the Titans).
3rd Down: Texans ATS as a Home Team
The Texans posted a 5-3 home record in 2019, with one of their home losses coming in the final game of the regular season. As the Texans were resting key starters for this game, we’ll consider their body of work to be a very solid 5-2 home mark for meaningful games this season. In these seven games, the Texans were 2-5 against the spread. Their only ATS wins came against the Falcons back in week five and against the Patriots in week 13.
The Texans were home underdogs in their week 13 victory against the Patriots, but otherwise, their home ATS record in 2019 is less than sparkling. As of Monday (Dec 30th) afternoon, public spread and moneyline betting has been weighted towards the Bills.
Per The Action Network (actionnetwork.com), nearly two-thirds of betting money has come through on the Bills thus far. With the Bills strong road record this season, and with the Texans struggling ATS at home, I would not be surprised if this line eventually moved against the Bills and settled somewhere in the 2.5 to 2.0 range.
4th Down: Fourth Quarter Scoring
In 1st Down, we talked about the Bills’ struggles in scoring first-quarter points. Overall, the Bills’ scoring offense only ranked 23rd in the NFL during 2019. While that statistic alone is not overly surprising (or interesting), where I do find a silver lining is in the Bills fourth-quarter scoring.
Josh Allen’s fourth-quarter comeback/game-winning drive numbers have been well documented by many media outlets and social media postings. As expected, the trend with the Bills’ fourth-quarter scoring correlates with Josh Allen’s performances. The Bills ranked 11th in the NFL in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging just under seven points per game in the fourth quarter.
Parallelly, the Texans are also a strong fourth-quarter scoring team, where they ranked 7th in the NFL. Based on the profiles of each team, Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson could be saving their fireworks for this weekend’s game until the fourth quarter.