Chargers vs Texans Week 16 Picks and Predictions: Houston's Problems Are Insurmountable

The Justin Herbert-led Los Angeles Chargers shouldn't have any trouble covering a 10-point spread against the Houston Texans, who have largely given up on 2021. We expect L.A. to win big while still hitting the overall Under in our betting picks.

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2021 11:43 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers NFL
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The Los Angeles Chargers head into Houston to face the Texans as they continue to fight for their postseason lives. The 8-6 Chargers are two wins behind the Chiefs but have a chance of a wild-card spot. They face a Texans team already in the prep stages for next season.

Here are our NFL betting picks and predictions for the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans on December 26.

Chargers vs Texans odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The total number has dropped to 46 after opening at 47.5. Meanwhile, the Texans opened as 10.5-point underdogs, but that’s now shortened to just 10 points.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Chargers vs Texans predictions

Predictions made on 12/23/2021 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Chargers vs Texans game info

Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Date: Sunday, December 26, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
TV: CBS

Chargers at Texans betting preview

Weather

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Key injuries

Chargers: Austin Ekeler RB (Out), Mike Williams WR (Out), Joey Bosa DE (Out).
Texans: Brandin Cooks WR (Out), David Johnson RB (Out), Vincent Taylor DL (Out), Laremy Tunsil OL (Out), Marcus Cannon OL (Out), Deshaun Watson QB (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Chargers are 6-1 against the spread in their past seven games. Find more NFL betting trends for Chargers vs. Texans.

Chargers vs Texans picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

These are two teams in very different positions in their development. The Chargers are currently where the Texans want to be in the next year or two after finding their franchise QB in Justin Herbert and making progress with every game. It wasn’t long ago that the Texans thought they’d found their man and the shadow of Deshaun Watson has been cast over the Texans season. 

Herbert’s arrival in Los Angeles has been a resounding success. There were never any doubts that he had the physical tools and big arm to play on the grand stage, but there were question marks over his decision-making. Those early concerns were perhaps overstated. He’s smart, makes great reads, and is arguably the best young QB in the league not named Patrick Mahomes.

The question isn’t about whether or not the Chargers win this game, we know they will, it’s about whether they’ll cover the lofty spread. The Chargers are ranked third in offensive DVOA, ahead of the likes of the Chiefs, 49ers, and Bills, while only the Cowboys, Bucs, and Chiefs put up more yards on offense per game. The Chargers also rank seventh in points scored per game (27.1).

At the other end of the spectrum, the Texans are averaging just 14.8 points per game, the second-lowest in the NFL. It’s also worth noting that nobody in the NFL puts up fewer yards on offense per game than the Texans (265.4). Houston's offense is also dead last in offensive DVOA and it will likely be missing WR Brandin Cooks.

Neither team is elite on defense, but Houston's is far better than its reputation. The Texans are ranked 17th in defensive DVOA, putting them firmly in the middle of the pack, and the Chargers sit seven spots back in 24th. The Texans defense is generally harmed by their turgid offense, which keeps them on the field far longer than they’d like.

Herbert's incredible arm plus his superior supporting cast should propel the Chargers to cover the spread, even if it is a big one.

Prediction: Chargers -10 (-110)

We can expect the Chargers to put up some big numbers. They average 27.1 points per game and you’d expect them to match, if not exceed that, against the Texans, even with some players out. With Herbert’s arm, they’ll be able to cause damage and score touchdowns through the air, but they’re also likely to see some success on the ground, given that nobody in the league gives up more rushing yardage than Houston.

With doubts over Cooks' availability, Texans QB Davis Mills might be without his top receiving option. That’s going to be hard to overcome and I can’t see the Texans putting up enough points to go Over here. The Under is 5-1 in the Texans past six against AFC opponents, and there's little reason to expect them to buck that trend on Sunday.

Prediction: Under 46 (-110)

The Texans will work hard and make some good defensive plays, but they’re lacking an X-factor on offense and will struggle to push downfield. The Chargers ground game will stomp all over the Texans and Herbert will slice up their defense through the air. It’s not the wildest bet but backing the Chargers to cover is the safest play here, especially when so many potentially interesting player props have question marks over them down to illness.

Pick: Chargers -10 (-110)

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