Texans vs Colts Week 18 Picks and Predictions: Colts Hold In a Clunker

Who do you bet when neither team wants to win? We break down Week 18's Texans vs. Colts matchup with our NFL picks to find where motivation — and injuries — could tilt the scales here.

Last Updated: Jan 8, 2023 8:25 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Sam Ehlinger Indianapolis Colts
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The season will end the same way it started for these two teams, as the Houston Texans will finish off the year heading to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in a Week 1 AFC South rematch. 

The Texans have the worst record in the NFL at 2-13-1, however, a win and a Chicago Bears loss will change that. The Colts have tied for the second-longest losing streak in the league, currently at six games, and sit at 4-11-1 on the season. Will the Texans tank their way into the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft?

Find out in our best NFL picks and predictions for the Texans vs. Colts on Sunday, January 8.

Texans vs Colts best odds

Texans vs Colts picks and predictions

When these two teams met long ago in September, there was a surprising tie in Houston despite the Colts being seven-point road favorites. Not surprisingly, it would be one of the few bright spots on the season for the Texans. However, little did the Colts know that it would also be one of their few bright spots, as they only have four wins on the season.

Indianapolis had a rough start to the year, and it just got worse after firing head coach Frank Reich following a Week 9 loss to the New England Patriots. Since Jeff Saturday took over interim duties, the Colts have been outscored 131-48 in the second half and 97-9 in the fourth quarter. They have been dreadful in crunch time and playing with any sort of lead. 

Typically, when you’re looking to bet Week 18, you want to find incentives and motivation. However, both teams would benefit from losing this game. The Texans will guarantee the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft with a loss. Meanwhile, the Colts are currently in fifth position and could climb up to number three with a loss and some help, while a win could drop them to sixth.  

With the injuries to Matt Ryan and Nick Foles, the Colts will be starting Sam Ehlinger at quarterback for the third time this season. Ehlinger was not great in those previous two starts, but he was certainly better than Foles was the last two weeks. 

The Texans own the worst rushing defense in the league, allowing 168.6 ground yards per game. Zack Moss has run the ball well in his two starts for the Colts, despite not getting many carries, averaging 5.1 yards per carry in the last two games. The Colts will be sure to get him more involved on Sunday against this run defense. 

Ultimately, this loss just means more to the Texans than it does to the Colts. Ehlinger can get yards on the ground and should be able to control possession and move the ball on offense. Give me the Colts to win this likely very ugly game. 

My best bet: Colts -2.5 (-114 at BetRivers)

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Texans vs Colts spread analysis

Davis Mills has been struggling recently for the Texans, but that’s no reason for them to bench him given that a loss is more preferred for the franchise right now. Mills has averaged only 169 passing yards per game since returning from injury, with four total touchdowns and four total turnovers. He has also completed only 59% of his passes in those four games. 

The Colts’ pass defense is the one area where they have excelled this season. They rank 10th in the league, allowing only 204.3 yards per game, and have only allowed four opponents to go over 250 passing yards this year. They should have no problems stopping this mediocre passing attack from Houston.

The Texans are actually worse when they play bad teams, as they have lost four consecutive games against the spread versus teams with a losing record. They are also 2-7 ATS in their last nine meetings with the Colts. No reason for these trends not to continue this week when they can lose by a field goal and still not cover. 

The Texans will likely bench any of their players that are listed as questionable with injuries. That includes a starting wide receiver, contributing running back, starting defensive back, and contributing offensive lineman. Houston will struggle to score and struggle to stop the Colts’ run game. Give me Indy here to cover. 

Texans vs Colts Over/Under analysis

This game is likely to be ugly and the linemakers also see it that way, setting the total at only 38 points. Both teams have hit the Under in 10 of their 16 games and the season opener between these two also went Under the total. This will be the fourth total of the season for the Texans below 40 points, and two of those previous three went Under the total.

The Under is 5-0 in the Texans’ last five games against AFC South opponents and 11-4 in their last 15 road games. The Under is 12-2 in the Colts’ last 14 games against AFC South opponents and 7-2 in their last nine home games. The Under is 11-2 in the last 13 meetings between these two teams in Indianapolis. 

Those are some strong trends and no reason to believe those trends won’t continue here. The Texans will struggle to throw the ball and the Colts will dominate the ground game. This could be a game decided with several field goals and maybe one touchdown by Indy by pounding the rock. I will definitely take the Under. 

Texans vs Colts betting trend to know

The Texans are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games against a team with a losing home record. Find more NFL betting trends for Texans vs. Colts.

Texans vs Colts game info

Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Idianapolis, IN
Date: Sunday, January 8, 2023
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Colts -2.5, 39

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