Browns vs Texans Week 13 Picks and Predictions: Cleveland Wins Big in Watson's Return

After a lengthy suspension, Deshaun Watson is set to make his regular-season debut with Cleveland against his former team. With a much better roster top-to-bottom, our NFL betting picks are riding with the Browns to win big in Houston.

Phil Naessens - Betting Analyst at
Phil Naessens • Betting Analyst
Dec 4, 2022 • 08:27 ET • 4 min read
Deshaun Watson Cleveland Browns NFL
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Week 13 offers us an intriguing matchup when the Cleveland Browns meet the Houston Texans in an AFC conference matchup.

Cleveland enters this game after an overtime home victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Houston is hoping to shake a six-game losing streak. 

Who will pick up the victory? Find out in our free NFL betting picks and predictions for this showdown between the Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans on December 4. 

Browns vs Texans best odds

Browns vs Texans picks and predictions

Cleveland Browns' quarterback Deshaun Watson makes his first regular-season start since 2020, and my best bet is for the Browns to cover the -7.0 spread.

Watson should spark the 15th-ranked Browns' passing attack. He’s thrown for 14,539 yards and 104 TDs with 36 interceptions in 3.5 seasons, but looked understandably rusty when the NFL permitted him to play 2022 preseason games.

Wideout Amari Cooper has quietly had a decent season. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and tight end David Njoku have been steady, and they face a Houston passing defense allowing 230 passing yards and less than one TD reception per game.

Cleveland shouldn’t have any trouble rushing the football against a leaky Houston rushing defense, allowing 168 yards and 1.4 TDs per contest. Running back Nick Chubb is third in rushing, Kareem Hunt puts in work in many ways, and now they have Watson, who’s a terrific rusher. 

Cleveland's defense is its Achilles Heel. It ranks 17th in total yards but allows a 30th-worst 26 points per game. Houston hasn’t scored 17 points or more in any of its last five matchups and ranks last in total yards and 31st in points. The Texans benched starting QB Davis Mills, and replacement Kyle Allen threw a pair of interceptions in a Week 12 away loss to Miami.

Watson will be rusty, and he’ll likely face a boisterous crowd that won’t be as excited about his return to football as he is. The best thing for Watson is the Browns' offense revolves around Chubb, and he has probably the best matchup he’s had all year. Cleveland doesn’t need Watson to win the game — the offense was 5th in total yards without him — and he has Chubb in a terrific situation against a bad Texans' rushing defense.

The Browns' defense has suffered numerous injuries this season, allowing 123 points over their last five and facing a struggling Texans offense. Houston RB Dameon Pierce is a nice player, and WR Brandin Cooks has big-play capabilities. Still, the Texans' offense will struggle to score enough points to keep this from being closer than a 10-point game, and Cleveland covers the seven points. 

My best bet: Browns -7 (-107 at PointsBet)

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Browns vs Texans spread analysis

The Browns should cover the seven points with some room to spare. The Texans' offense has struggled this season, and we should expect that trend to continue Sunday.

Pierce is having a terrific rookie season on a bad offense. The Florida alum has scampered for 788 yards with three TDs and has a tasty matchup. Cleveland has suffered injuries, and while it is progressing, it's allowing 1.5 rushing TDs per game.

Cleveland ranks 29th in turnover margin, while Houston is 27th with -0.4.

The Browns are 5-6 against the spread (2-2 on the road) and Houston is 4-6-1 ATS (2-3 at home).

Browns vs Texans Over/Under analysis

47.5 points are available, and I’m leaning toward the Under for this matchup.

Watson is the wild card. We know what he did with Houston, but the Browns' signal caller hasn’t played a regular season game since 2020. The crowd will be after him from the moment he enters the field, which could impact the score. Watson could hang 400 yards and four TDs, or he could lay a stinker.

Cleveland is sixth in the league with 2.2 red zone TDs per contest, mainly on the strength of Chubb. The Browns and Chubb may not enjoy the same success as Houston opponents have scored a TD on 52% of their red zone appearances.

The Texans yielded five sacks last week to Miami and have allowed 33 this season. The Browns' defensive line is getting healthier — sacking Tom Brady three times last week — and will apply the pressure forcing Allen into bad drive, ending throws that will impact the final score.

Browns vs Texans betting trend to know

The Texans are 4-6-1 ATS. Find more NFL betting trends for Browns vs. Texans.

Browns vs Texans game info

Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Date: Sunday, December 4, 2022
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Texans +6.5, 45 O/U

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