Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, August 11, 2014 at 1:00 PM
I like to “read and react” to developing stories here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping so that the coursework has immediate real-world impact for students. Watching the NFL Preseason action this past weekend alerted me to something sharp handicappers need to pay very close attention to.
The Houston Texans may be in huge trouble!
Now, it’s only a Preseason opener…and it’s very dangerous to draw conclusions off a virtual scrimmage in August. Maybe Houston decided ahead of time they were going to no-show the opener and gradually build to the regular season. I can tell you from having watched the game that it didn’t look that way. Houston didn’t pull new starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick after one series like so many other teams did (heck, a lot of teams didn’t even suit up their starting quarterback!). The left him in and he kept struggling!
Here are some quick notes on Houston’s 32-0 loss to Arizona this past Saturday Night…
*Fitzpatrick was 6 of 14 passing with two interceptions…against a vanilla defense that wasn’t going full tilt. Sure, Arizona has a good defense. But, even the best defenses tend to hold back in a Preseason opener. That’s why you see so many sharp numbers from starting quarterbacks. Fitzpatrick was out of sorts on a team that was out of synch. TWO interceptions!
*Backup quarterback Case Keenum isn’t ready for the big time yet. He proved that last year. Maybe he has a future down the road. If Houston is thinking about contending THIS season, it’s not going to be with Keenum. That means there’s no “Plan B” to save the season if Fitzpatrick doesn’t work out. And, he’s a proven mediocrity any way.
*The Houston defense was invisible. I watched a lot of vanilla defenses this past weekend. I didn’t see anything as soft as what Houston was doing on a per-play basis. The Texans let three Arizona passers go 27-34-326 in the air with no takeaways and three sacks. Arizona’s touchdown drives were of 79, 83, and 67 yards. And, they also had a 75-yard drive end in a field goal.
*Houston’s new head coach Bill O’Brien earned kudos for helping to settle the ship at Penn State after making a name for himself on the New England Patriots' staff. But, it’s far from a sure thing that he’ll be able to succeed as a head man for an NFL franchise. O’Brien is also serving as the Offensive Coordinator, which may be part of the reason the offense looked so helpless. He’s wearing too many hats!
The Houston team I watched Saturday Night was very poorly prepared. That reflects on the head coach…a man who has NO experience yet getting a pro football team ready for a regular season. Let’s watch this week’s home opener at Atlanta, and then the dress rehearsal in Denver before locking in our “fade” plans for this team. As of now, we’re looking at a team that’s behind the curve getting ready for the 2014 campaign…and that effort is going to be led by an inexperienced head coach and a quarterback who has no experience with his current teammates.
Note that Houston opens the regular season at home against Washington. They’re currently a small home favorite. Washington also has a new head coach in Jay Gruden. But, Gruden has a lot more experience on the NFL landscape, and seemed to have his team nicely prepared for their exhibition opener last week vs. New England. Will that game be pick-em by kickoff?
Students of the game are always evaluating and planning ahead. What I wrote up for you today is a great example of what YOU should be doing across the league right now. Winners don’t fall down from the sky and hit you in the head. You need to do the work, so that the winners pick themselves. There are important storylines developing all over the NFL right now because of all the new head coaches, offensive coordinators, and defensive coordinators. There is just NO WAY handicappers can expect to show up cold in the first week of September and pick intelligently.
If you’d like some help during this build up to the new season, you can purchase my Preseason BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. If you’re wondering about seasonal rates, please talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
Coursework continues later this week as we gear up for another full football slate. Expect most of our class time to be devoted to pro and college football for several weeks. Baseball will probably return with a discussion or two once the playoffs arrive in October. As always, the Dean of Sports Handicapping appreciates your attendance and hard work. Let’s get back to work!