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Laying the points with Bill Belichick against Bill O’Brien

The head coach matchup is noteworthy in Week 13 Patriots vs. Texans.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shakes hands with Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien after the game at NRG Stadium. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans host the New England Patriots in Week 13 in a Sunday Night Football showdown with huge playoff implications. The Patriots are 10-1 and sitting atop the AFC East while the Texans are 7-4 and leading the AFC South. Houston is looking to remain atop the division and push for a first round bye while New England needs a win to stay up on Baltimore.

The Patriots are a field goal favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook heading into the game, with the point total at 46. The Patriots are -167 on the money line, while the Texans are +148 on the money line. The Patriots are 7-4 against the spread and have gone over the point total three times. The Texans are 5-6 ATS and have gone over the point total four times.

Injury report

The big issue in this game is the illness that has made its way around the Patriots locker room. TE Ryan Izzo was ruled out on Friday and the list of questionable players due to illness include OT Marcus Cannon, S Patrick Chung, LB Jamie Collins, OG Jermaine Eluemunor, CB Stephon Gilmore, LB Dont’a Hightower, LB Kyle Van Noy, CB Joejuan Williams, and OT Isaiah Wynn. Most are expected to play, but one has to wonder how they’ll feel coming off illness.

Additionally, the Patriots have since downgraded CB Jason McCourty and DT Byron Cowart due to injuries.

Pick against the spread

The primetime home underdog is often an intriguing pick. However, this game beings a different matchup of value. Bill Belichick and Bill O’Brien have squared off five times since the latter took over as head coach of the Houston Texans. The Patriots have won all five games and covered the spread in four of the five games.

Past performance is not indicative of future returns, but this is a matchup that favors the Patriots. Their defense should give DeShaun Watson enough trouble that the Patriots secure the cover. I would have felt less certain about Patriots -3.5, so make sure you keep an eye out for the field goal line.