Texans vs. Chargers Betting Odds & Picks: Count on An L.A. Bounceback?

Texans vs. Chargers Betting Odds & Picks: Count on An L.A. Bounceback? article feature image
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Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Philip Rivers

Texans at Chargers Betting Odds

  • Odds: Chargers -3
  • Total: 48.5
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Odds above as of Thursday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet every NFL spread this season at reduced juice (-105).

Both of these teams are coming off close, low-scoring games. So where’s the value on the spread and over/under?

Our analysts break down the most important angles of this game, complete with Sean Koerner’s projected odds as well as against-the-spread and total picks.

Texans-Chargers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Texans

DeAndre Hopkins (ribs) was limited on Wednesday, but was upgraded to full on Thursday. (The Texans limiting him early in the week is nothing new.)

Keenan Allen (knee) has gotten in back-to-back limited practices, so there’s likely nothing to worry about here either. However, mid-week additions are never good, and the Chargers added C Mike Pouncey (shoulder) on Thursday after he missed practice with a shoulder injury. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Chargers -4
  • Projected Total: 46.5

The Chargers could be one of the few favorites sharps are going to back in Week 3.

An opening number of -3.5 is always a good way to tell what side sharps are on. If it quickly gets bet down to -3, the sharps are on the dog and wanted to lock such a key number at +3.5. If the line hovers around 3.5 or starts to trend toward -4, it’s a sign the sharps are more in line with the favorite.

So with the line sticking around -3.5 despite 64% of tickets and 83% of money being on the Texans as of writing (see live public betting data here), all signs point to the sharps on the Chargers, which lines up with my expected line of -4. Look for pass-rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa to wreak havoc on Deshaun Watson, who has been sacked a league-high 10 times. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Defensive Lines

These two teams are very similar.

On offense, you have two plus-quarterbacks with top-tier No. 1 wide receivers trying to work behind poor offensive lines. (They each are also down their starting backs heading into the season.) And on the other side of the ball, you have two elite defensive lines that can wreak havoc in opposing backfields.

Yes, the Texans signed Laremy Tunsil, but they’re still ranked 32nd in adjusted sack rate. And without Russell Okung, the Chargers might have the worst set of pass-blocking offensive tackles in the NFL.

I expect both defensive lines to own the trenches on both sides of the ball. With the new emphasis on holding — we’ve seen a significant spike with a 65% per-game increase so far this season compared to 2018 — Bosa and Ingram should eat for the Chargers while Whitney Mercilus and J.J. Watt should torment Philip Rivers.

Fantasy-Defense-Rankings-Week 1-2019
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa

That will leave it up to which quarterback can make more plays down field.

And if you look at the matchups on the outside, I actually fancy the Chargers a little more, primarily due to Allen. The Texans’ secondary remains a liability and I don’t think they have anybody that can check Allen (and presumably now a healthier Mike Williams).

Yes, the Chargers’ secondary has been depleted with the loss of star safety Derwin James (and now his backup Adrian Phillips) and cornerback Trevor Williams, but they still have two stellar cover corners in Casey Hayward and Desmond King in the slot. Brandon Facyson is the weak link and could get picked on by Watson with Will Fuller or Kenny Stills. But overall, I think Rivers can make a few more plays.

Still, the margins are thin, and the Chargers don’t have much of a home-field advantage. So I don’t see a ton of value on the spread.

I actually prefer the under (but not much lower than 48). Both defensive fronts could control this game, which will lead to more than a handful of drive-killing and big-play-mitigating holding calls. Stuckey

Expert Picks

Chris Raybon: Texans +3

I’m gonna disagree with Stuckey — I do see value on this spread.

The Texans are coming off an ugly performance in which they barely squeaked out a win at home against a rookie QB, while the Chargers fumbled and kicked and threw a close game away against Detroit on the road.

Easy bounce-back spot for the Chargers, right?

I’m not so sure.

Bosa and Ingram will surely wreak their fair share of havoc. But the Chargers’ depleted secondary combined with the Texans’ addition of Tunsil and their healthy top-four wide receiving corps featuring Hopkins, Fuller, Stills (the No. 1 rated WR by Pro Football Focus through two weeks!) and Keke Coutee — plus Watson’s ability to escape pressure and deliver on the run — the Texans should give the Chargers problems.

The Chargers’ ongoing kicking issues make them absolutely liable to not cover, if not lose this game outright.

They’re at home, but so what? It hasn’t been an advantage for them in the Anthony Lynn era, as their 40.0% cover rate in their own building is tied for the sixth-lowest since he took over in 2017. Oh, and by the way, Watson is 6-2 against the spread as a road underdog — the line tends to sell him short in these situations, and it’s been the most profitable spot to back the Texans (Watson is 7-8-1 ATS in all other situations).

Another trend working in Houston’s favor? Road underdogs are 115-93-6 ATS since 2003 when both teams failed to cover in the prior week, including 58-40-2 when +4 or less (per Bet Labs).

I got this at +3.5, but big bets have pushed this line to +3. I would still bet it there, but would consider the Texans’ moneyline if the line goes to +2.5 or lower.

John Ewing: Over 48.5

Thanks to a goal-line fumble and two missed field goals, the Chargers scored just 10 points in their Week 2 loss to Detroit. The Texans also struggled to get their offense going last week — the 13 points they scored were tied for the fewest in a game that Watson has started.

Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles and Houston each went under their totals, so it’s natural that bettors would want to wager on this under. And nearly 60% of bettors are banking on these teams to combine for fewer than 48 points. But history says the over has value.

Since 2003, the over is 480-437-12 (52.3%) in games when both teams went under the previous week.

Oddsmakers know recreational gamblers tend to chase results. If both teams went under in their past game, the bookmakers will shade the total to the under anticipating public money.

This strategy works the best early in the season, when we can take advantage of bettors putting too much emphasis on a small sample of team performances.

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