NFL Expert Picks: Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Rams Best Bet

Texans vs. Rams best bet and prediction for Sunday afternoon. NFL handicapper Ben Gretch breaks down the game and how he's betting it.
Ben Gretch
Sat, October 30, 7:23 PM EDT

NFL Expert Picks: Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Rams Best Bet

Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Rams Key Stat

The Texans’ defense ranks 25th in success rate against the pass and 28th in explosive pass play rate allowed. The Rams’ offense is second in passing success rate and fourth in explosive pass rate, per Sharp Football Stats.

Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Rams Game Preview

The Rams head to Houston to take on a Texans team that has scored fewer than 10 points in four of five Davis Mills starts. Tyrod Taylor has been designated for return off IR, but Mills will again start this week, and the Rams are favored by 15.5 points.

Los Angeles certainly has a lot going for them in this matchup, such that the big spread feels deserved. The Rams are second in the NFL in success rate passing the ball, and fourth in explosive pass rate, while the Texans’ defense ranks in the bottom eight in the league in both stats. The Rams are also passing with intent, ranking fourth for the season in Pass Rate Over Expected (PROE), which measures their willingness to pass versus an expected rate that includes factors like down and distance, score, and time remaining.

Los Angeles’s willingness to throw to build a lead has helped them score the sixth-most first half points so far this season, and I’d expect that trend to continue here. Houston has been surprisingly solid in the first halves of games, but a big part of that is due to their success in Weeks 1 and 2 with Taylor under center.

Houston’s most successful game with Mills at quarterback came against New England, and of their 22 points, 14 came on explosive pass plays. Those two touchdowns were a 67-yarder to Chris Moore that was essentially a 50/50 ball in double coverage that Moore came down with and also managed to get free of any potential tackles, on a play where the defensive backs just misjudged things. The second was a 37-yard TD to Chris Conley on a flea flicker. In other words, they weren’t the most indicative plays of future success.

The best thing Houston has going for them is Brandin Cooks, a high-level wide receiver who has played like it so far this year. But Cooks was publicly incensed this week after the team traded Mark Ingram, and the Rams also present a particular challenge for him in that they have Jalen Ramsey, who is playing at a very high level this year. Ramsey is tied for second among the league’s cornerbacks in PFF grade; for a Texans' offense so dependent on their No. 1 wide receiver to provide playmaking, an opposition that boasts an elite cornerback who can limit Cooks in one-on-one coverage is a matchup nightmare. The Texans have basically no one else on offense who can consistently win, especially if the Rams may not have to commit additional resources to containing Cooks.

Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Rams Pick

I’m a little squeamish of a backdoor cover on the 15.5-point full game line, but the matchups are squarely in the Rams’ favor, and their play style and the things they do well should help them build an early lead. I like the first half line, banking on the Rams to build an early lead through their passing game before potentially taking their foot off the gas in the second half.

  • The Bet - LA Rams first half -8.0
Ben Gretch
@YardsPerGretch
Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.
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