Los Angeles Rams vs. Houston Texans Odds & Pick 10/31/21
Los Angeles Rams (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (1-6 SU, 3-4 ATS)
Week 8 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 1 PM EDT
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Point Spread: LAR -14.5/HOU -14.5 (BetNow)
Over/Under Total: 48
The Los Angeles Rams take on the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Sunday. It’s a game that features a stark contrast with the freefalling Texans, losers of six straight. On Sunday, they fell to the Cardinals by the appropriately-ugly score of 31-5. The Rams, meanwhile, are sailing at 6-1, winners of three straight coming off a nice 28-19 win over the Lions in a game that started all wrong. It’s a bit of a foreign road spot for the Rams, but can the Texans realistically put up resistance in this spot after getting their clocks cleaned in four of their last five games? Let’s break it down!
Houston: Trying to Build a Case
When looking at the Texans this week, their best case lies in things that don’t even have much to do with what they do well. First of all, you could say that taking the Rams here is too obvious. Laying a bunch of points on the road and just deferring to the vastly superior team just can’t be the way that making money at sports betting is done. But one has to figure facing the Texans fails to elicit the urgency in the Rams at this point. It’s the third road game for the Rams in four weeks, they might be shot from a cannon, and the few times the Texans have been vaguely-respectable this season were at home. There have been brief glimpses where we’ve seen Houston QB Davis Mills getting things done aerially this season, and maybe against a LA pass-defense that has been leaky in spots, they can get some things done. But suffice to say, this isn’t a spot that seems all that appealing on the surface.
The Harsh Realities for the Texans
We saw the Rams’ defense start off last week in bad shape, with the Lions looking like they were going to run away with it early. And there have been other times this season when they were dicey in spots. Still, in the last three weeks, they’ve given up a total of 47 points. There is juice on all levels of this Rams’ unit, they make a lot of game-changing plays, and other than some weird impasses, they’ve generally been pretty solid. They now face a Houston team that cannot run the ball and has deadweight throughout this offense. Nobody eats. That goes for the running backs, receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks. There are some talented guys, and they’re all dying a slow death in this offense, from Mark Ingram to Brandin Cooks. In four of their last five games, they’ve scored nine or fewer points, with eight total points in their last two games. It’s almost comical to say that in their last two games, an NFL team has averaged four points of scoring.
Therefore, a backer of the Texans needs to prepare for the very real possibility that offensively, it’s just not going to happen. You’re banking on a defense that rarely makes an impact to deliver on some big plays. You need a run-game that hasn’t gotten any push this season to suddenly take hold against a Rams’ front. You need a passing game that manifests sparingly to thrive. On one sideline, you have a team finally getting capable quarterbacking with Matthew Stafford seeing their team recipe for success taking hold. The offense is an embarrassment of riches. Then you see a Houston offense working with a QB where everything had to go wrong for him to be seeing this many starts, along with a group of offensive pieces that would struggle to find time in most offenses around the league.
Getting into the psychology of this game a bit, you have to figure it’s not easy to entice action on the Texans. Sportsbooks don’t survive giving away freebies, even though big favorites certainly do, in fact, cover on a regular basis. There is still a certain obviousness to betting on the Rams this week. Without even getting into the merits of Houston as a football team, which is a bleak situation, laying more than two touchdowns on road teams out-of-conference isn’t something you should breaking down the door to do theoretically. Just last week, the Rams were snuck up on by a winless Lions team, who took a 13-3 lead into the second quarter. Now on the road, a similar start this week would make covering a tall task.
Then again, with this being Stafford’s first season and the Rams still working things out, this isn’t a time to catch them sleeping, perhaps. The Cardinals are still ahead of them in the division standings, and some real tall tasks lay ahead on their schedule. This is a team with big goals, and for the most part, this season, they don’t let off the gas much when holding the lead. Backdoor covers are less likely with their aggressive approach because it’s seldom one-way traffic with this Rams’ offense in the equation.
Take the Points on the Home Dog
Maybe the combination of a tough game last week, a strangle locale this week, and the underwhelming nature of this matchup will result in something less than a 5-stars Rams’ showing this week. It might just take a few Houston scores, not a given with their recent form, to cover the spread. In their first road game against an AFC South opponent this season, the Rams barely nosed the Colts, and that wasn’t their only subdued road performance this season. There have been enough troubling sequences from a top-heavy Rams’ secondary to give credence to the suspicion that maybe Mills is due to connect some aerially this week. In any event, I see the Texans keeping this one from getting out of hand and covering the spread on Sunday.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Houston Texans plus points.