Week 17 features an intriguing interconference clash between a seemingly improving Houston Texans squad and an 8-7 49ers team still hopeful of getting into the postseason.
Houston (4-11) saw rookie quarterback Davis Mills take another important step in his development in Week 16 when the Texans managed to upend the highly motivated Chargers 41-29.
Despite playing without top receiver Brandin Cooks, Mills threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns, while journeyman running back Rex Burkhead broke out with a 149-yard, two-touchdown effort.
Meanwhile, the 49ers’ Week 16 experience was a bit less pleasant, as San Francisco lost a Thursday night heartbreaker to the Titans by a 20-17 scoreline.
To make matters worse, Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw a pair of costly interceptions in the contest, apparently suffered a UCL tear and fracture in his thumb on a sack and could well miss Week 17. That would open up the possibility of a start for rookie Trey Lance.
Let’s dive deeper with our Texans vs 49ers predictions and best bets and see which team will emerge victorious.
Please note that all NFL gameday odds are current as of 11 a.m. EST on Thursday, December 30.
Texans vs 49ers Prediction
It took a good three-quarters of the season, but Texans head coach David Culley and his staff appear to be finally be making headway with a roster that they’ve churned quite a bit as the campaign has unfolded.
Culley’s best decision appears to have been sitting Tyrod Taylor, who’s not the future of the franchise, for the man who might be in Mills.
The rookie appears to be gaining confidence by the week, as evidenced by his clean performance against a tough Chargers secondary in Week 16 despite not having Cooks available.
The veteran speedster should be back in time for this contest and helms an explosive receiving corps that also features Phillip Dorsett and Chris Conley, two other experienced hands that can get downfield. Promising rookie Nico Collins helps round out a solid top quartet.
Sportsbook Play of the Day
Before placing your next bet on the Texans vs 49ers matchup, you should know that Caesars Sportsbook is one of the best around. Take advantage of Caesars’ outstanding welcome bonus, which matches your first bet up to $1,001 (win or lose) when you use our promo code .
Additionally, users who wager a total of $100 on NBA games will earn a FREE NBA jersey!
Read Chris Wassel’s Caesars Sportsbook review for more insight and get your welcome bonus below, or continue reading our Texans vs 49ers tipster picks.
The 49ers do present another tough challenge on paper for Mills. San Fran is allowing a modest 214 passing yards per home game, and the Niners’ pass rush has taken quarterbacks down 4o times in 15 games. Nevertheless, the 49ers haven’t been a very good ball-hawking unit, recording just six INTs while allowing an elevated 68.6 percent completion rate overall.
Burkhead’s stellar day against the Chargers’ highly porous run defense notwithstanding, the Texans do not sport a viable ground attack most weeks. In fact, Houston’s 75.3 rushing yards per road game ranks dead last in the league.
Given that the 49ers have given up just 99.6 rushing yards per home contest, Mills is likely going to have to do most of the heavy lifting. He may have some success, but is also likely to eventually trip up a time or two against a defense that will increasingly key on him as the game wears on.
Meanwhile, even if Lance has to take the reins of the offense, the 49ers should be able to make enough plays against the Texans defense thanks to their ability to exploit Houston’s deficiencies stopping the run.
That will ring especially true if impressive rookie Elijah Mitchell is able to recover from his concussion and knee injury. However, even in his potential absence, Jeff Wilson and part-time running back Deebo Samuel should be able to capitalize on a defense surrendering 141.3 rushing yards per contest and 4.7 yards per rush attempt.
I think the Texans play hard for a good chunk of the contest, but I also see the combination of the Niners’ running game and defense carrying the day in the end for a six-point win.
Prediction: 49ers 23, Texans 17
Texans vs 49ers Best Bets
Best Bet: Texans +12.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
As mentioned earlier, the Texans have made some strides in the second half of the season and are a very respectable 3-3 over their last six game. Two of their four wins have even come on the road, and given they may get a chance to face a rookie QB, I like Houston to make this a closer game than currently projected on our NFL gameday odds.
From a statistical trend perspective, the Texans are a serviceable 3-4 against the spread on the road this season. What’s more, they’re 2-1 straight up in their last three away contests and that one defeat came by just eight points.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are just 3-4 ATS at home this season with a net ATS +/- of -1.7 points in that split. The Niners are also 2-2 ATS against AFC opponents and have a net margin of victory of just 2 points in those contests.
While I think the Niners emerge victorious, I see a Texans team with nothing to lose playing them fairly close.
Best Bet: Texans +15.5 and Under 44.5 points (+190) at FOX Bet
Wager: 1 Unit
In line with my prediction of a Texans cover at an even smaller number and a total of just 40 points, I’m in the camp of this parlay at an excellent price.
The Texans are averaging an NFL-low 12.9 points per road game, while the 49ers are allowing 24 points per home contest. I’m almost splitting the difference with my 17-point prediction for Houston.
Meanwhile, although San Francisco has averaged a robust 25.7 points per home game, the Texans have yielded just 46 total points in their last three road contests.
The Over is also just 2-5 in Houston’s road games and 1-3 in the 49ers’ interconference contests, putting me in the camp of this prop as our NFL bet of the day.
Thank you for reading our NFL Week 17 Texans vs 49ers Predictions! For more NFL betting tips, check out our NFL Week 17 Best Bets.