Bill O'Brien starts arguably his most important season as coach of the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football when his team takes on the defending NFC South champion New Orleans Saints. O'Brien is 42-38 in five seasons in Houston, but is 1-3 in the playoffs and has never advanced past the divisional round. After the Texans traded two first round picks and one second rounder for left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills, this will be the first season in which the offensive-minded O'Brien will have a quality quarterback (Deshaun Watson) and left tackle on the roster. Kickoff is set for 7:10 p.m. ET for the first half of a Monday Night Football doubleheader. Sportsbooks list New Orleans as a 6.5-point favorite in the latest Saints vs. Texans odds, and the over-under for total points scored is 52 after opening at 54. Before you make any Texans vs. Saints picks, see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.
This model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up more than $7,000 for $100 players on its top-rated NFL picks since its inception four years ago. It nailed its top-rated NFL picks in 2018-19, finishing the season on a sizzling 16-6 run. For the year, it went 30-15 on all top-rated picks (20-8 against the spread), extending its two-year run to a strong 78-49.
The model ranked inside the Top 10 on NFLPickWatch.com for the third straight year on straight-up NFL picks and beat more than 96 percent of CBS Sports office pool players. Anyone who has followed it is way up.
Now the model has honed in on Saints vs. Texans on Monday Night Football. We can tell you it's leaning under, and it says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. That pick is available only at SportsLine.
The model knows that few, if any, teams have a more prolific trio like the Saints' trio of quarterback Drew Brees, running back Alvin Kamara and receiver Michael Thomas. Brees, 40, is coming off a season in which he threw for 3,992 yards and 32 touchdowns against just five interceptions. Last season, Kamara had 1,592 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns, while Thomas led the NFL with 125 receptions for 1,405 yards and nine scores. With those three leading the way, the Saints averaged 31.5 points per game.
In addition, the model knows that Brees and company will face a Texans secondary that ranked 28th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game last year at 260.4. And that was before Houston lost playmaking safety Tyrann Mathieu and veteran cornerback Kareem Jackson in free agency.
Even so, New Orleans isn't guaranteed to cover the Saints vs. Texans spread on Monday Night Football.
The model also knows Houston's roster is vastly different than the one that didn't put up much of a fight in a 21-7 loss to the Colts in the playoffs last season. Almost half of the Texans' positional players have been swapped out. The most significant of those are running back Duke Johnson, who takes over the starting job from the injured Lamar Miller (ACL), and receiver Kenny Stills. Just 27 years old, Stills has 259 catches for 4,138 yards and 32 touchdowns in six seasons. With receivers Will Fuller and Keke Coutee constantly battling injuries, Stills, who has missed just two games in his career, gives Houston a dependable body at the position.
In addition, the model knows that New Orleans has not won a season-opener since 2013. That's five straight defeats in Week 1, including two at the Superdome. Last year, the Saints were 10-point favorites at home against the Buccaneers and laid an egg, losing 48-40.
So who wins Texans vs. Saints on Monday Night Football? And which side of the spread cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Texans vs. Saints spread to jump on Monday, all from the advanced model that is up more than $7,000 on its top-rated NFL picks.