November 16, 2015 (2:00 PM ET)
Take Houston Texans at +11 spread against Cincinnati Bengals for 3% of the bankroll.
This Monday Night football clash is an interesting one as we feel the perception of these two teams has significantly skewed the number. The Cincinnati Bengals remain as one of the 3 unbeaten teams in the league and while the public has no doubt jumped on the bandwagon, this is a team that has not exactly been the most reliable when it comes to high pressure situations. They have been questioned before about their early exits in the playoffs in recent years and now holding the undefeated tag as well will only add to the pressure on the player’s shoulders.
The average bettor only looks at surface numbers and is no doubt remembering the Bengals most recent win against the Cleveland Browns and how they covered an even bigger spread than the one they are being asked of them tonight however we believe it is the wrong move. The Bengals have only managed to win 3 of their 22 appearances on Monday Night by double digits and we wouldn't be surprised to see Cincinnati put in a less than stellar performance tonight. It's important to remember that the Texans, despite their struggles this season have won three of last four post-bye games and have actually won 5 of 6 in this series with the Bengals. Cincinnati managed to win the series meeting last season so there is no doubt the Texans will have revenge in mind for this contest. While Andy Dalton is much improved, he has certainly struggled against JJ Watt and Texans defense in recent meetings going just 1-3 in his career, averaging 201.5 yards per game with just 2 TDs while giving up 5 interceptions for a passer rating of 66.5!
The Houston Texans were a team that was projected to do big things this season, however they have severely underperformed. That being said, they are still a very dangerous team with a very capable offense. Brian Hoyer has regained his job as starting QB for Bill O'Brien's offense and has done very well in last few games. He's actually thrown 2 or more touchdowns in 5 straight games which is actually a franchise record! He's regained his confidence and will no doubt be motivated to put in a solid performance with the hopes of knocking the Bengals from the ranks of the undefeated.
For all their struggles this season, the Texans are not out of the running of getting a potential playoff spot this season. The AFC South division is the weakest one in the league and still wide open. The Colts (4-5) are struggling and with Andrew Luck out for the foreseeable future, if the Texans can pick up a win tonight, they will be joint at top and suddenly right in the thick of the race. Bengals defense is solid but one important fact that most people don't know is that they currently allow a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry to opposing RBs! Alfred Blue has had an up and down season but he may well take advantage of the somewhat suspect run defense of the Bengals.
Complacency could certainly be a factor tonight for the Bengals. They are coming off an easy victory in their last contest against a divisional opponent, have a big lead in the AFC North standings while also come into this game undefeated against one of the lower-tiers teams in the league. It wouldn't be that difficult for the Cincinnati players to assume that this game will be a cake-walk and somewhat overlook their opponents. If that is indeed the case, it will make it difficult to cover this large impost. It's important to realize that this is the second largest spread that the Bengals have been asked to cover this season. They have routinely been listed as small favorites (more than -3.5 only once) but because they are undefeated the oddsmakers know that they can somewhat inflate the number knowing much of the betting public will still want to bet on them. At the end of the day we do believe that that the Texans probably fall short but they should be competitive and keep the final score within 10 or less, giving us the cover. This is a game where sharps and average bettors are split on. There are many different ways that Texans can stay within this generous spread and cash out tickets even if they end up losing.
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