Texans vs. 49ers Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Bet Spread With Trey Lance Under Center
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Trey Lance.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Garoppolo is not expected to play this Sunday, according to reports from multiple NFL insiders.
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
According to FiveThirtyEight, the 49ers (8-7) have a 74% chance to make the playoffs. Their odds would undoubtedly improve with a victory at home in Week 17 over the Houston Texans (4-11).
San Francisco will certainly fancy its chances against Houston, but it might have to play without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo is listed as doubtful after picking up a thumb injury on his throwing hand. His injury is likely why the point spread dropped to -12.5 after being as high as -15.5 earlier in the week.
However, I’ve got some thoughts on why I think this was a poor line to start with and why bookmakers now find themselves in a tough spot as a result.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Texans vs. 49ers Injury Report
- WR Chris Conley (knee): Questionable
- DB A.J. Moore Jr. (illness): Questionable
- DB Jimmy Moreland (illness): Questionable
- DL Maurice Hurst (calf): Out
- LB Azeez Al-Shaair (knee): Out
- LB Dre Greenlaw (groin): Out
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo (right thumb): Doubtful
- S Talanoa Hufanga (knee): Doubtful
- RB Elijah Mitchell (knee): Questionable
Texans vs. 49ers Matchup
|Texans Offense||DVOA Rank||49ers Defense|
|Texans Defense||DVOA Rank||49ers Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Mills’ Improvement Gives Texans Hope
Although the Texans are tied for the third-worst record in the league, they’re a respectable 7-8 against the spread. Houston has shown some fight over the last two weeks with back-to-back wins, including a 41-29 upset over the Chargers as 13.5-point underdogs.
The season hasn’t been a complete loss for the Texans as quarterback Davis Mills continues to get valuable playing time as a rookie.
Mills wasn’t just plucked from obscurity into the NFL. While he might not have garnered as much attention as the other quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2021 draft, Mills was considered the top high school quarterback in his senior class back in 2017, a class that included both Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa.
The Stanford product has already made nine starts this season, and there’s been a clear improvement in his passing since he threw four interceptions against the Bills in his second start. In his last six appearances, Mills has thrown only two interceptions, and his 12-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio is much easier on the eyes at the moment.
In Week 16, Mills faced a Chargers defense ranked 23rd in pass DVOA and completed 77.8% of his passes, a career high. The 49ers defense is somewhat comparable to the Chargers in that it ranks 20th in pass DVOA.
I think the Texans have a chance to be competitive in this game, particularly given the experience Mills has gained throughout the season.
How 49ers Will Adjust Without Garoppolo
If Trey Lance gets the start in place of Garoppolo on Sunday, I’d expect the 49ers to give him plenty of run packages. In his lone start in Week 5, Lance carried the ball 16 times for 89 yards, but the 49ers lost 17-10 to the Cardinals. And even with 192 passing yards through the air, Lance finished the game with a 28.9 Total QBR.
Decision-making is always critical for a rookie quarterback, particularly on third down. Part of the reason the 49ers offense stalled at times back in Week 5 came down to poor execution on third down, going just 3-of-11.
The 49ers will need to string some drives together if they’re going to take advantage of their league-leading 71.74% touchdown conversion rate in the red zone. However, getting inside the 20-yard line isn’t necessarily a given for San Francisco.
According to TeamRankings, the 49ers are tied for 16th with 3.1 red zone opportunities per game. That means San Francisco is right around league average, so it might be a bit of a reach to expect Lance to outperform those numbers.
Of the 46 quarterbacks in the league who have logged at least 80 plays, Lance ranks 44th according to the Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) metric, which subtracts a quarterback’s completion percentage from his expected completion rate.
As a result, I suspect we’ll see a conservative game plan by the 49ers. And with the total dropping as low as 43.5, every point becomes even more vital, which creates more value for the road underdogs.
Texans vs. 49ers Predictions
I mentioned in my opening that I felt the bookmakers hung a lousy line for this game.
For some reason, perhaps more than ever this year, it seems there’s been a bit of a rush with sportsbooks to make their lines available to the public. While the increased competition for customers and market share could provide a clue, the reality is that we continue to see more lineup changes due to injuries and COVID-19 than ever before.
As a result, it might be harder for sportsbooks to be even more aggressive with their line adjustments while not leaving themselves vulnerable to a middle job by savvy bettors. That’s why I don’t think we’ve gotten as much line movement for this game on Sunday.
Even though Jimmy Garoppolo receives a ton of criticism, I think he’s worth a bit more to the point spread than the 2.5- to 3-point adjustment. Thus, I think the Texans have value as 12.5-point underdogs.
Since 2019, road teams facing a non-conference opponent after covering a spread by at least 25 points are 6-1 ATS for 4.89 units.
That’s the direction I’ll be leaning in as I plan to take the points with the visiting Texans.
Pick: Texans +13 | Bet to: +12
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