Rams-Texans Odds, NFL Picks, Betting Preview, Predictions: Which Team Has Edge To Cover Double-Digit Spread?
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.
- Looking for Rams vs. Texans odds? We've outlined the over/under and spread in our betting preview of this Week 8 NFL matchup below.
- With a double-digit spread, which team has the edge to cover? Our analyst makes a case for backing the favorite.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Last week, the Rams took a huge sucker punch from the Lions early in the game. From onside kicks to fake punts, Los Angeles wasn’t ready for the curveballs Detroit was throwing at it. However, we saw the talent and confidence the Rams have as they didn’t falter and eventually earned a 28-19 victory.
As the heavy favorite again, we’ll see if Los Angeles is better prepared for any tricks and gimmicks Houston tries.
Similar to the Lions, the Texans had fans thinking upset early last week, but ultimately ended up taking the loss. Houston’s defense looked well-prepared for Arizona, as it held the Cardinals to one net yard on its first three drives.
Unfortunately, after those three possessions, Arizona found its rhythm and scored 24 points on its next four drives. The only optimism on the horizon for this team is quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s return, as it should spark the offense. That, however, is still another week away.
The announcement of Taylor being held out this week moved the line another couple points in the Rams’ favor. Let’s look further to see if they have what it takes to cover this huge spread.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Rams vs. Texans Injury Report
- OT Andrew Whitworth (knee): Out
- WR DeSean Jackson (rest): Out
- CB Jalen Ramsey (Illness): Questionable
- S Jordan Fuller (knee): Questionable
- DB Robert Rochell (knee): Questionable
- LB Christian Kirksey (thumb): Questionable
- TE Pharaoh Brown (thigh): Questionable
- OL Justin Britt (knee): Questionable
- OL Justin McCray (ankle): Questionable
- DL Jaleel Johnson (back): Questionable
Rams vs. Texans Matchup
|Rams Offense||DVOA Rank||Texans Defense|
|Rams Defense||DVOA Rank||Texans Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Rams Are Riding Efficient Pass Offense & Red-Zone Defense
Super bowl odds and DVOA are validating the Rams’ move to bring in Mathew Stafford: They rank first in pass DVOA and have the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl heading into Week 8, per DraftKings.
The switch from a team dependent on the run and play-action pass to more spread concepts is because of the things Stafford can do that Jared Goff could not.
In addition to the team accomplishments, Stafford also has the fifth-best MVP odds. He hasn’t raised the level of play on his own, though — Cooper Kupp has emerged as one of the top receivers in the league thanks to his new quarterback, with at least 90 yards receiving in six of seven games and multiple touchdowns in four games.
While their passing attack has been unstoppable, the Rams’ DVOA shows there is room for improvement on the ground. Looking further, we see the blocking and the runners both have room to grow. Per Pro Football Reference, the Rams have the sixth-lowest yards before contact per carry and ninth-worst yards after contact per carry.
The struggles in the run game have allowed teams like the Lions and Seahawks to be within one score of the Rams late in ball games. If the run game doesn’t improve, it will be difficult to secure victories as their schedule gets harder this season.
Defensively, their DVOA rank is up to fourth because of their bend-but-don’t-break style. Los Angeles ranks 28th in yards per drive allowed, but only 10th in points per drive allowed.
The key to the Rams’ success has been their red-zone efficiency: They’ve allowed only 11 touchdowns on 26 red-zone possessions, the second-best rate in the NFL. Against the struggling Texans, the Rams are likely to continue the trend of preventing touchdowns.
Texans Offense Sorely Misses Tyrod Taylor
Since Davis Mills has taken over at quarterback, the Texans’ offense has looked terrible. They’ve averaged 7.8 points per game and gained fewer than 200 total yards three times. Needless to say, Taylor’s return can’t come soon enough for this offense.
The one glimmer of hope this offense has shown was against the Patriots, as the Texans scored 22 points on their first four drives. However, even in that game, four of their final five drives went for less than 10 yards.
Making matters is the departure of starting running back Mark Ingram, who was traded to the Saints. Phillip Lindsay will likely take over most of the early-down work and continue leaving the passing downs to David Johnson.
Transitioning from Ingram to Lindsay could be a big step backward for this run game. Ingram’s 3.2 yards per carry was far from impressive, but still much better than Lindsay’s 2.6 in the same category.
Defensively, the Texans rank well against the pass per DVOA, but that might be a matter of circumstance. Houston has held impressive offenses, like Buffalo and Arizona to fewer than 300 yards passing, but that’s not totally to the Texans’ credit. In those games, the Bills and Cardinals built commanding leads and then leaned on their running games down the stretch.
When teams start running the clock, Houston has been able to do little about it. The team allows 4.7 yards per carry and has given up more than 150 rushing yards in four games. Without their offense being able to force shootouts, the Texans will likely continue to receive heavy doses of running games.
Rams vs. Texans Picks
The Texans have been double-digit underdogs in four games this season and are 1-3 against the spread (ATS) in them. The only one of those four contests they covered was against the Browns (+13.5) in Week 2. However, Taylor played half of that game and Baker Mayfield suffered his shoulder injury in the second half.
This week, there will be no Taylor, and Stafford at least enters the game fully healthy.
I expect the Rams to come more ready to play than they did last week. Even though they were able to come back and win, I doubt they want to test those waters again. Plus, with the Cardinals’ loss Thursday night, the Rams control their destiny for the NFC’s top seed.
This is a clear mismatch in talent as shown by the almost three-score spread. Typically, with double-digit spreads, I fear a backdoor cover when the game is far out of reach. However, Houston has shown no sign of being able to do that in recent weeks. Add to the equation Los Angeles has the best defensive grade per PFF, and that backdoor might as well be locked.
The other fear with large spreads is the offense scoring enough. Fortunately for the Rams, they feature the best passing attack to run the lead up early. Then, late in the game, the Texans’ inability to stop the run will help the Rams maintain and potentially even extend their lead.
Had Taylor returned this week with a two-touchdown spread, I likely would have leaned the other way. That’s not the case, though, so back the Rams to take care of business and roll to an easy road win.
Pick: Rams -15.5 | Bet to: -16.5
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