Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1, 5-4-1 ATS) @ Houston Texans (5-5, 6-4 ATS)

*ATS= against the spread

BETDAQ Line: Houston -1.5 (43.5)

Significant Injuries

Cincinnati: CB Terence Newman (questionable– knee), RB Giovani Bernard (questionable– hip), LB Vontaze Burfict (questionable– knee), OT Andre Smith (questionable– ankle)

Houston: RB Arian Foster (questionable– groin), CB Kareem Jackson (questionable– knee)

Recent Trends

Cincinnati is 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games after allowing fewer than 15 points in their previous game

Cincinnati is 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. AFC opponents

Houston is 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings between these 2 teams

Houston is 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a win of more than 14 points

Houston is 3-9 ATS in their last 12 home games

Houston is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games following a win

The UNDER is 5-2-1 in Cincinnati’s last 8 road games

The UNDER is 5-2 in Cincinnati’s last 7 games following a win

The OVER is 4-1 in Houston’s last 5 games overall

Three reasons to back Cincinnati

1. The Bengals are coming off an impressive 17-point victory in New Orleans that put them at 6-3-1 on the season, while the Texans are 5-5 and have covered just 3 times in their last 12 home games. The wrong team is favored here.

2. The Cincinnati defense seems to be regaining their swagger now that they’re relatively healthy again, as they smothered the high-powered New Orleans offense last week, limiting them to just 10 points and harassing Drew Brees all game long. You have to like their chances this week against a one-dimensional Houston offense that will feature a quarterback– Ryan Mallett– who will be making his 2nd career NFL start. The Texans rank 28th in pass yards per game this season.

3. The Houston secondary is a bumbling unit that has surrendered more passing yards than all but one team leaguewide. That’s problematic when you’re going to face a Cincinnati passing attack that features All Pro wideout A.J. Green, one of the very best in the game at his position. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton traditionally shines against soft defenses, and the Texans certainly qualify.

Three reasons to back Houston

1. The Texans are just a 1.5-point favorite over a Cincinnati team that has been mostly awful over the past six weeks, with last week’s win over New Orleans standing out as the notable exception. Prior to that game the Bengals had lost their previous two road games by a combined score of 70-17 and they were beaten 24-3 by the Cleveland Browns in Week 10. Houston is 6-0 against the number in the last six meetings between these two teams.

2. Houston ranks 3rd in the NFL in rush yards per game, as Arian Foster and the rookie Alfred Blue have both proven capable of carrying the load effectively. They should have a big day against a Cincinnati defense that has been utterly unable to stop the run this season, ranking 28th in rushing defense. This is a great matchup for the Houston offense.

3. The Bengals have a pedestrian offense that is averaging just 16.7 points per game on the road this season, as quarterback Andy Dalton has further demonstrated his inadequacy. Dalton should not be relied upon against a Houston defense that ranks 9th in points allowed and features the NFL’s best defensive player– one-man wrecking crew J.J. Watt.


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