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Browns vs. Texans 2024 NFL Wild Card Odds, Preview & Pick

By Hank Blaine

The first game of the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend features two of the four active franchises never to make a Super Bowl as the Cleveland Browns visit the surprising AFC South champion Houston Texans and rookie QB CJ Stroud on Saturday with the Browns as short favorites.

It’s the first-ever playoff meeting between the Texans and Browns.

Browns vs. Texans 2024 NFL Wild Card Game Information

  • When: Saturday, January 13th, 2024. 4:30pm EST.
  • Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
  • TV: NBC
  • Radio: 98.5 WNCX (Browns) // 100.3 The Bull FM (Texans)
  • Live Stream: NFL+
  • NFL Odds: Browns (-3) // Texans (+3)

Why Bet on the Cleveland Browns?

Cleveland is the AFC’s No. 5 seed and didn’t play most starters in Sunday’s 31-14 loss in Cincinnati as the team was locked into its playoff seed. Quarterback Joe Flacco, signed off the street a couple of months ago, was among those out. He’s a top NFL Comeback Player of the Year candidate.

Offensively, the Browns have committed a league-high 37 turnovers this season. They’ve overcome them to this point, in part, because the Cleveland defense has forced the sixth-most turnovers (28). The Browns enter the postseason with arguably the NFL’s top defense. Myles Garrett is one of the league’s elite pass-rushers, while cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Martin Emerson Jr. have locked up opposing wideouts all year.

Kevin Stefanski is expected to be named NFL Coach of the Year as the Browns are in the postseason despite losing starting QB and former Texan Deshaun Watson after six games due to injury and starting a total of five QBs this year. It was the first time a team has started five passers in a single season since the strike year of 1987.

This season, the Browns run game has gone through its ups and downs, not always finding a high level of success in games. For four consecutive weeks starting in Week 13, the Browns failed to reach 100 net rushing yards. Against the Bears in Week 15, they rushed for only 29 net yards, which was their lowest of the season.

The Browns also lost starting right tackle Jack Conklin to a knee injury in Week 1 and star back Nick Chubb to a torn ACL in Week 2. Left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. has been sidelined for half the season, while replacement right tackle Dawand Jones hit injured reserve in December. Cleveland has thrived in one-score games, going 6-2.

Cleveland wideout Amari set a franchise record with 265 yards receiving in the first meeting and scored two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. It was also the most receiving yards in an NFL game this season. It was Cooper’s third 200-yard receiving game, and he joins Terrell Owens as the only players to do it with three teams. Cooper had a 226-yard game with the Cowboys and a 210-yard game for the Raiders. Flacco threw for 368 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Why Bet on the Houston Texans?

The Texans first clinched a playoff berth with their 23-19 win over the Colts in Week 18. Then, as the Jaguars lost to the Titans on Sunday, the Texans claimed the AFC South title and the No. 4 seed. Houston’s CJ Stroud has had one of the best seasons of a rookie QB in NFL history. In the win over Indy, Stroud completed 20 of 26 passes for 264 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Stroud finished the regular season with a 23:5 TD:INT while averaging 8.4 yards per attempt and will lead the Texans into the postseason.

Stroud threw interceptions on only 1.0% of his pass attempts, which finished as the lowest rate in the league and the second-lowest interception rate for a rookie in NFL history, behind Dak Prescott’s debut 2016 season. Stroud ranks fourth in first down rate (37.7%), third in adjusted net yards per attempt (7.3) and fifth in EPA per dropback (0.12).

Stroud’s top target Nico Collins recorded nine catches on nine targets for 195 yards and a touchdown against the Colts. With both Noah Brown (back) and Robert Woods (hip) inactive, Collins was left as the Texans’ clear top pass catcher. He had three catches of more than 20 yards — the longest of which was a 75-yard touchdown on Houston’s first play from scrimmage. The performance marked Collins’ third game with over 160 receiving yards in what has been a breakout campaign, and he’ll conclude the regular season with 1,297 yards despite missing two contests. It’s not clear if Brown and Woods will play this week.

The Browns beat the Texans at NRG Stadium on Christmas Eve, 36-22. But Stroud and excellent rookie defensive end Will Anderson, Jr. were among several players who were inactive that day. Defensive end Jonathan Greenard, who leads the squad with 12.5 sacks, left the game early in the first quarter with an ankle injury that’s sidelined him since that contest. Case Keenum started that day at QB for Houston and was terrible.

Browns vs. Texans Betting Trends

  • Cleveland is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
  • The Browns are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.
  • The totals went over in 6 of Cleveland’s last 7 games.
  • Houston is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The Texans are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games.
  • The totals went under in 6 of Houston’s last 8 games.

Browns vs. Texans Expert Betting Predictions

Browns 24, Texans 23.

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*All stated odds are subject to change without prior notice.

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