Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Rams
Date and Time: Saturday, August 25, 2018, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
Opening NFL Odds: Rams -2.5, 43.5
Texans vs. Rams TV Coverage: Local TV
There’s so much intrigue attached to the Texans entering the regular season. From the return of Deshaun Watson to the offense, to a healthy JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus on the other side of the ball, things are looking real good for Houston right now. It’s reflected in their futures odds across the board. Their semi co-favorites to win the AFC South, +985 to win the AFC and owners of the eighth shortest odds to win Super Bowl LIII.
Though Watson is a huge piece to the puzzle, the defense is what will ultimately allow this franchise to attain its highest level of success. The Texans are flat out loaded on that side of the ball so long as the injury bug avoids Houston in 2018. It’s shown in the preseason as well with the Texans allowing a grand total of 23 points through two games to rank No. 2 in scoring defense.
If hopes are high for the Texans, they’re through the roof for the Rams who put forth an excellent campaign a short season ago. They got a brief taste of the postseason and will no doubt be highly motivated to get back. As it stands, Todd Gurley and company sit only behind the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles to win the NFC, and are heavy -212 chalk to come out on top of the realigning NFC West.
We haven’t seen much from the reigning NFC West champs in the preseason thus far, so it’s safe to say the starting units will get some heavy burn in Week 3. After getting their clocks cleaned by the Ravens in Baltimore, McVay and the coaching staff showed us as little as possible last week against the Raiders with a Week 1 regular season clash all lined up with Oakland on Monday Night Football.Player to Watch
Todd Gurley - The league’s most versatile running back hasn’t gotten much work done in preseason games the last couple seasons. He didn’t take a single snap in 2016 and only lined up in the backfield six times last season. However, when asked if Gurley would take the field in Week 3, McVay had this to say.
“Yeah, we’re going to lean towards playing those guys, but again, nothing is finalized yet. I think in a perfect world, you want to be able to get these guys some work, get them out there, going through the routine of being able to get a few snaps and different things like that,” McVay said. “So, I would say leaning towards playing them. But again, that’s something that we’ll discuss as a staff and then we’ll talk to the players about it and we should have a decision on that, but I would say definitely leaning towards playing them.”
Houston has been very tough defending the run so far, so this will be the ultimate test for Gurley to see exactly where he stands with the regular season only weeks away.Texans vs. Rams Free Picks
In reading the newswire offerings for both teams, the Texans come off as being excited to go all out in this matchup, while the Rams are taking a bit of a more reserved role. As time goes by, coaches are continuing to voice their displeasure about the length of the preseason. Some are going as far as resting their regulars for a bulk of it. Cough. Sean McVay. Cough.
Oakland didn’t have the backup talent to see it all the way through against Los Angeles last week. Houston does. With that, I recommend taking the points with the Texans and fading the public who has pounded the Rams on the NFL odds at a 70 percent clip in early betting. It’s possible this line jumps to 3.5 or higher once news breaks that LA will indeed finally get its starters into a game, and I’m all for more line value!NFL ATS Pick: Texans + at BookMaker.euNFL Score Prediction:
Texans 23 – Rams 20