Houston at Cincinnati -3 O/U 38.5
The Bengals (7-5) have fallen off the pace in the AFC North but are in a four-way tie for the final wild card spot. Despite a number of key injuries, the Texans (9-3) lead the AFC Sorth and are still in the running for a top-2 seed and first round bye. Houston wins and covers the way we discuss; by controlling the ball, clock and line of scrimmage on both sides. A top-notch ground game runs for 152 ypg to rank third in the NFL and the Texans defense is first in total yards allowed at just 274 ypg. Both the Texans (90 ypg) and Bengals (96 ypg) feature top-6 run defenses, but the Texans continue to win thanks to their strong play along the line of scrimmage and +12 turnover margin. The Bengals are -1 in TOs, but if they can slow the Houston ground game, perhaps they can create a few TOs from third string rookie QB T. J. Yates as he makes his first road start of the season. The absence of WR Andre Johnson could have a bigger impact this week with the Bengals able to slow the Texans ground game. Houston’s pounded-the-ground game with 44 rushes last week in a 17-10 home win. Tough call, but Bengals are 0-7 ATS as favorite following a game against the Steelers.
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