Texans vs. Cardinals: NFL Week 7 betting odds, preview, and pick

Profile Picture: Jason Ence

October 22nd, 2021

The Arizona Cardinals will seek to extend their unbeaten start to the season Sunday, when the lowly Houston Texans visit town.

Let's examine this matchup, beginning with the latest betting odds.

Sun, October 24 2021, 8:25 PM

ARI Cardinals






O 47.5

HOU Texans






U 47.5

Texans winless since opener against Jaguars

Since Houston convincingly defeated the Jaguars in Week 1, the Texans have lost five straight and failed to reach double-digit points in three of those games.

Quarterback Davis Mills has struggled since he replaced the injured Tyrod Taylor, with five touchdown passes and seven interceptions in five games. Last week, the offense was held out of the end zone by the Colts, and Mills turned it over twice. Houston ranks in the bottom seven in every major offensive metric and has the second-lowest scoring average in the league.

Over the last three weeks, only eight teams have allowed more sacks than the Texans. Now they must try to protect Mills against a pass rush that has made life miserable for every quarterback it has faced this season. Last week, Arizona registered five sacks, forced three turnovers, and knocked Baker Mayfield out of the game with an injury. Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil will be out four to six weeks, with a torn UCL in his thumb, which will make things even more challenging.

Defensively, the Texans have struggled just as much. Their run defense is second-worst in the league and allows the fifth-most yards per play. The Texans surrendered 174 rushing yards to Indianapolis last weekend, have allowed at least 21 points in every game, and lost by double-digit margins in four of their last five games.

Cardinals dominated Browns to remain undefeated

Every time I think the Cardinals might slip up, they go out and prove me wrong. Last weekend was no different, as they dominated Cleveland as a road underdog in a 37-14 win. They did so without their head coach, offensive coordinator, and numerous players, who were out because of positive COVID-19 test results.

Quarterback Kyler Murray is putting together an MVP season, and he threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions in the win. Murray has not thrown for more than 268 yards in his last three games but also has a 7-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio against three solid defenses. Already blessed with a plethora of weapons, he has a new target to work with, following Arizona’s trade with Philadelphia to acquire tight end Zach Ertz.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is Murray's deadliest weapon, and the former Texans receiver will look to have another big day, after he hauled in two touchdowns receptions against Cleveland. Hopkins' six touchdowns matches his mark from last season, and he will want to put up big numbers against the team that dealt him.

Another former Texan will be lined up on the other side of the ball Sunday, as defensive end J.J. Watt will seek to increase his low sack total. With just one sack this season, he will be joined by Chandler Jones, who sat out last week’s game because of a positive COVID test.

Arizona ranks second in turnover margin and will face a Houston offense tied for the worst turnover margin over its past three games.

Texans vs. Cardinals injury report

Houston TexansArizona Cardinals
C Justin Britt: Questionable (knee)
G Justin Pugh: Questionable (back)
WR Brandin Cooks: Probable (undisclosed)
T Kelvin Beachum: Questionable (ribs)
WR Chris Conley: Questionable (neck)
LB Jordan Hicks: Doubtful (toe)
S Terrance Brooks: Out (injured reserve)
TE Darrell Daniels: Questionable (hamstring)
T Laremy Tunsil: Out (thumb)

Texans and Cardinals betting trends

  • The Texans are 1-10 SU over their last 11 games.
  • The Texans have lost their last five road games.
  • The Cardinals are 5-1 ATS in their last six games.
  • The Over is 6-2 in Arizona’s last eight games.
  • The Cardinals have covered the spread in three of their last 11 home games.

Arizona will dominate Houston

Nobody expects Houston to have a chance in this game, but laying 17.5 points is a lot to ask, even for a home team.

Houston would need Mills to suddenly figure things out, on the road, against a pass rush that has made life miserable for every quarterback it has faced this season. The Texans would also need their defense to suddenly figure out how to stop the run, against an offense that has a quarterback who can destroy you with his legs.

I expect Arizona to cover, but there is a much safer play available.

Arizona is a 10.5-point favorite in the first half, and it is difficult for me to envision Houston trailing by fewer than two touchdowns at the break. The Texans trailed the Colts by just seven points at halftime last week, but the Indianapolis offense is nowhere near the level of Arizona’s.

Four of Houston’s six opponents have scored at least 10 points before halftime this season. Arizona has scored at least 20 first-half points in four of its six games this season, and I expect Hopkins and Watt to come out fired up against their old team and put Houston in an early hole.

Avoid getting hurt by a back-door cover and take the first-half spread instead.

Score prediction: Arizona 37, Houston 6

NFL Week 7 pick: Arizona -10.5 1H (-114)

Texans vs. Cardinals pick powered by The Quant Edge

Our predictive engine is calling for the Cardinals to win but for the Texans to cover the 17.5-point spread. It also predicts the total will go Under 47.5 points.