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Texans vs Patriots NFL Preseason: C.J. Stroud to Debut in New England

Written by: Michael Sicoli
Published August 9, 2023
12 min read

It’s been over 200 days since both teams suited up for a football match. And unlike a sad, gloomy day in January — for either of these teams — there’s a buzz in the air ahead of first-round QB C.J. Stroud’s first career start for Houston.

The Texans head to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. It’ll be Texans WR John Metchie’s first career game after overcoming cancer in his rookie season, as well as the debut of superstar rookie DE prospect Will Anderson Jr.

And while the gloomy skies within New England may seem unexciting to some, there are several intriguing prospects who should impact Thursday’s game.

The RB2 role behind Rhamondre Stevenson is wide open, with Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris the lead candidates to battle it out. Defensively, third-round linebacker Marte Mapu has enjoyed a strong summer as he gears to battle for a starting role next to Ja’Whaun Bentley.

Even on the sidelines, there are exciting storylines to watch. Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans enters his first game as a head coach while the Patriots tout the return of new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Neither will show their scheme’s hand in the preseason, but it will certainly spark some added interest among viewers.

It’s the first week of preseason games for both of these teams, so don’t expect to see a full lineup of starters. However, there’s still plenty of information for you to make an informed and profitable bet ahead of Thursday night kickoff.

Texans vs Patriots Betting Odds and Picks

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. Check out other NFL betting sites



















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Texans vs Patriots Predictions

Pick: Under 38.5 (DraftKings)

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Score Prediction

  • Texans: 20
  • Patriots: 14

Texans vs Patriots - The Spread

The Texans sit as 3.5-point road favorites on DraftKings against the Patriots, which isn’t as crazy as it may sound. New head coaches tend to want to make a statement in their introduction to the league, especially one like Ryans who is trying to reset a franchise mired in mediocrity. Most sportsbooks have great offers during the NFL season. We've made a list of the best sportsbook promo codes and bonuses to help get you started! 

Both teams tout deeper quarterback rooms than the average team, with Davis Mills and Bailey Zappe standing out as above-average backups in the NFL. Both should see significant run, especially Zappe should Mac Jones not start. When asked after Tuesday’s practice by reporters if Jones was starting Thursday’s game, Bill Belichick prompt replied, “I don’t know.” Classic.

The Texans will finish the game with veteran Case Keenum, though, which is a massive improvement than Trace McSorely or Malik Cunningham on the other side of the ball. Keenum has 64 regular season starts under his belt. McSorely has one such start, and Cunningham is an undrafted rookie who is a far better rusher than he is a passer.

The difference lies in the surrounding weapons. The Texans’ young wide receiver corps should get far more run throughout the game, from Metchie to third-round rookie Tank Dell to fifth-round rookie Xavier Hutchinson. The Patriots will likely be starting out with rookie options in Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte, neither of which should intimidate Houston.

Defensively both teams should limit the opposing offenses. They’re mostly young units filled with good prospects who need extra minutes, which sets them ahead of fringe roster spot guys.

Houston holds the depth advantage at QB, plus Ryans likely gives his starters more run than Bill Belichick will. The spread being over three points isn’t ideal — consider buying a point to Texans -2.5 — but Houston will kick Week 1 of the preseason off with a win.

Fun fact: The Patriots boast an undefeated record of 5-0 against the Texans in the regular season. But the only time the two sides have met in the preseason resulted in a 27-23 Houston victory back in 2017.

Texans vs Patriots - The Over/Under

The line sits at 38.5 points, a relatively higher line for the preseason but not one that should be too far off. If you look back to Week 1 of the preseason last season, 50% of games scored 38 points or less, and vice versa. Vegas is expecting this game to be higher scoring than the rest of the slate, with only Steelers vs. Buccaneers and Colts vs. Bills having higher over/under lines.

It’s never fun to bet the under, but it’s the smart bet here. The Patriots have allowed nearly 13 points per game at home on average in preseason games since 2018. The Texans' defense will be able to limit the Patriots' offense, reportedly struggling to pick up O’Brien’s complex offense in camp.

The line will come close but lean the under.

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Texans vs Patriots How to Watch

  • What: Texans vs. Patriots 
  • When: 7 p.m. EST 
  • Where: NFL Network
Image for Michael Sicoli


Michael Sicoli

53 Articles

Michael Sicoli has been writing about fantasy football and betting within the NFL space since 2020. He works as a writer and content creator with ClubFantasyFFL and runs an NFL defensive (IDP) newsletter with The IDP Guys. A graduate from Quinnipiac University, Michael is a long-time NFL fan with a love for soccer and the NBA.

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