Los Angeles Chargers vs Houston Texans Matchup Preview - October 2nd, 2022

Editor

Sunday the Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) will battle the Houston Texans (0-2-1). Oddsmakers peg the Chargers as the big favorite with an implied win probablity of 68%, leaving the Texans with a 32% chance to record a win. The current spread is the Chargers -5.5 with a Game Total of 45.5.

Houston's primary disadvantage this season has been their offense, which has ranked #30 in football with a low 278 yards per game. They've been so ineffective on offense in large part because of their ground attack, clocking in at #32 in the league with just 3.17 yards per carry. The most important component of a strong ground game is a good offensive line. If the line isn't opening up holes and creating space, it doesn't matter how good a team's running backs are. Unfortunately for Houston, their line ranks #1-worst in the league in run blocking. Perhaps because they routinely failt to successfully establish the run, Houston has also lacked effectiveness through the air. They've scraped together a measly 6.38 yards per target, ranking the bottom 10 in football. When it comes to their defense, the Texans check in at #31 in football when it comes to total yards allowed per game. Opposing air attacks have notched 241 yards per game against Houston this year (#22 in football). Opposing ball-carriers have ranked #25 against them with 5.24 yards per ground attempt. This Texans defense hits their peak effectiveness when it comes to defending opposing running backs, keeping them in check at just 27 yards per game (#2-best in the league). Houston's defensive effectiveness bottoms out when it comes to defending opposing wide receivers, who have scorched them for 9.28 yards per target (#2-worst in the league).

Los Angeles's biggest weakness has been their run defense, ranking #32 in the league while allowing 4.94 yards per game on the ground. Perhaps part of their struggle has been because they haven't stacked the box the way teams often do to try and plug up their run game issues. They've brought up a safety or extra defender just 13.8% of the time this year, #10-least of any team in football. The Chargers defensive ends have played a big part in their inability to stop the run, ranking #7-worst in the NFL by this measure. In terms of their offense, the Chargers have ranked #9 in the league in total yards per game. They've passed for 285 yards per game (#9 in football). On the ground they've ranked #16 with 4.28 yards per carry.

Los Angeles Chargers Insights

  • The Sharp Model projects the Chargers to call the 4th-most total plays on the slate this week with 67.9 plays, accounting for their underlying tendencies and game dynamics.

  • Justin Herbert has been among the leading QBs in football since the start of last season, averaging a terrific 286.0 yards per game while ranking in the 100th percentile.

  • The Los Angeles Chargers pass defense has excelled when opposing wide receivers have gotten into space, giving up an average of 4.47 yards-after-the-catch this year: the 4th-least in football.

Houston Texans Insights

  • The Houston Texans boast a new play-caller this season in offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, and The Sharp Model projects their pass/run mix to skew 4.0% more towards passing than it did last season (context-neutralized).

  • Rex Burkhead has accumulated a monstrous 5.0 air yards per game since the start of last season: 93rd percentile among running backs. (That may not sound like a lot, but most RBs have negative air yards because they are targeted behind the line of scrimmage).

  • The Houston Texans have risked going for it on 4th down a mere 14.3% of the time since the start of last season (2nd-least in the league), which generally means less offensive volume, less touchdown potential, and lower offensive metrics across the board.

Betting Trends

  • The Houston Texans have hit the Moneyline in 3 of their last 11 games (+3.05 Units / 27% ROI)

  • The Los Angeles Chargers have scored first in 4 of their last 6 away games (+1.85 Units / 24% ROI)

  • Gerald Everett has hit the Receptions Over in 9 of his last 13 games (+5.80 Units / 37% ROI)