Coming off yet another NFL pre-season victory, we will look to keep the momentum going as we head into the Saturday slate of exhibition action.
Yesterday evening Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers came through easily as 1-point favorites against New England. The Panthers did a good job in protection for their talented QB, and showed enough offensive punch to make people believe that they can hang in a competitive NFC South division.
We enter Saturday evening with a 4-1-1 pre-season record this season, and though many see exhibition games as pure degenerate betting, if you do your research, know the playing situations, and the depth charts – the money is there for the taking. In Week 3 especially, it can be even more fruitful as it represents the truest showcase of the regular season ability of these squads, as it’s typically the final tune-up for most starters.
For tonight’s game we’ll look to Los Angeles, where the Super Bowl contender Rams will welcome Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. These are two groups with sky-high expectations in 2018, so read on below the odds for full game analysis and an official betting prediction for Rams/Texans.
Texans vs. Rams Betting Odds:
Houston Texans -2.5 (-125)
@ Los Angeles Rams +2.5 ) (+105)
Over 40.5 (-110)
Under 40.5 (-110)
Texans vs. Rams Pick:
Despite it being the all-important Week 3 of pre-season action, L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay doesn’t seem all that keen in giving his starters a full run on Saturday afternoon.
McVay has spoken openly in the days leading up to this contest about how he plans on still resting a few of his main guys on both sides of the football. Key running back Todd Gurley will miss out, as will offensive linemen John Sullivan and Andrew Whitworth. He has been non-committal on the status of Jared Goff, as well – not a good sign if we’re looking to back the Rams. And though it’s expected that more starters will play for L.A. than in previous weeks, it’s nowhere near the amount Houston is expected to trot out.
Los Angeles has been extremely cautious with their starters so far this pre-season, even more so than many other teams in the league. McVay hasn’t allowed his first-teamers to play very often this pre-season, aside from a couple defensive guys, and it’ll be fascinating to see how they come out in Week 1 vs. Oakland as a result.
The Texans meanwhile are a perfect 2-0 this pre-season, with DeShaun Watson back and looking completely healthy. All of their main guys on both offense and defense should see fairly significant minutes, and coach Bill O’Brien has confirmed this.
While it doesn’t seem like they’ll go for more than a quarter and a bit, the Texans’ starters still gives them a decisive advantage over a mixed-group of Rams’ starters and backups. Beyond that, I like Houston’s organizational depth and that should continue to propel them to an undefeated pre-season record.
After Watson comes out from quarterback, Houston has former starters in Joe Webb and Brandon Weeden that can be serviceable enough to move the chains for Houston. With the Rams, if Goff doesn’t play – it would put a crazy amount of stress and pressure on untested backups in Sean Mannion and Brandon Allen to move the football against an elite Texans’ stop unit.
I’ve shied away at times this pre-season from siding with the road team, but in this spot it is warranted. With the Rams overly cautious about letting their top talents play, expect Houston’s first-teamers to use this game to get in rhythm before Week 1 vs. New England. Look for Houston to cover the number.
PICK = Texans -2.5 (-125)