Las Vegas oddsmakers opened the Chargers, who have extra rest after facing the Chiefs on Thursday night last week, as 10.5-point road favorites. Early money actually came in on the Houston Texans to lower the line to 9.5, but it has since leveled off at Chargers -10 with a few books (Circa and Treasure Island) going back to -10.5 as of Thursday afternoon.
VSiN’s Dave Tuley breaks down the matchup and gives his preferred way to bet the game.
Chargers (-10, O/U 46) at Texans, 10 a.m. PST Sunday, CBS
At first glance, especially for Chargers fans, this looks too easy. The Chargers are fighting for a playoff spot and must win this game to keep pace while the Texans are among the worst teams in the league, so of course the Chargers are going to win in a rout, right?
These things aren’t always so simple, especially in the NFL this year where we’ve seen a lot of shocking results to show that parity is alive and well. While two of the Texans’ wins have come against the even more lowly Jaguars, they also had that 22-13 upset of the Titans in Week 11 that is cause for concern.
And I wouldn’t feel comfortable laying the 10 points (and especially not 10.5) as the Chargers have a long history of being unreliable favorites going back through the Philip Rivers era. You say this is a new era with Justin Herbert? Well, the Chargers are just 4-5 ATS as favorites this year and 1-3 ATS in their last four games as favorites, including outright losses vs. the Vikings at home and the Broncos on the road, plus a non-covering win at home against the Steelers.
Instead, we’ll look to the Over/Under where we think we find a better edge. The Chargers used to rank last in the league against the run but now are No. 28, while the Texans have fallen to No. 32. Both teams should be able to run the ball and keep the clocking running.
That effectively shortens the game and should keep this game under the betting total, especially as the Texans average just 14.8 points, so we don’t expect them to get into a shootout. Also helping our cause is the fact that the Chargers’ main objective isn’t to win by margin but just to get out with a win and as many healthy players as possible.
Pick: Under 46
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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.