- The Bengals have lost three of their last five by more than 10 points
- The Texans defense has allowed over 25 points in the last three games
This is an extremely tough game to call between two teams playing for nothing more than pride. This is likely a game that will garner little national attention outside of splash highlights. From a fan perspective, the only reason you are likely even watching this game is for fantasy or gambling implications, because outside of draft order it impacts very little.
The Bengals offense appeared to explode into life in Week 15 against the Steelers. However, despite scoring 27 points they had only 230 yards of offense in total. With just 78 passing yards, they leaned on their defense, three interceptions, and their running game, 152 yards. That will likely be a similar story in Week 16 as well.
The Texans have committed seven turnovers in the last three games. They have also allowed over 100 yards rushing in their last four games, and all but three games on the season. If the Bengals are to win this game, turnovers and the run game have to be the key.
The concern for the Bengals is that their defense forced a fifth of its season turnovers against the Steelers, and the run game has averaged just 3.8 yards per attempt on the ground this season. Having Ryan Finley running option plays and QB keepers helps boost the run game efficiency, but the Bengals offense is hardly explosive.
The Texans have been a frustrating team. DeShaun Watson is playing well, but he has little around him in terms of support. The defense is allowing opponents to rack up yards and points, not something that is conducive to being 8.5-point favorites. This is a tough game to call because both defenses have their struggles and neither offense is consistent.
The Texans are rightly favorites but 8.5 feels far too high. If I am playing the Texans it is either as part of a six or 10-point teaser. However, I am equally not trusting the Bengals to make this competitive, given they have scored under 10 points in three of their last five.
If you are playing this game, then taking the under on the total is probably the way to go. The only concern is that we saw the Texans and Lions combine for over 60 points indoors on thanksgiving. The Lions offense has more explosive players than the Bengals, but the Bengals should be able to get yardage on the ground in this one. My over riding advice would be to avoid this game outside of prop bets, but if you are making a play, go for the under.
NFL Expert Picks
1u – Under 46 total points @ -108
1u – Under 44.5 total points @ -108
NFL Free Picks
It's a festive week and we have plenty of football to get stuck into. There's no Thursday Night Football this week but we have the Vikings travel to New Orleans to face the Saints on Christmas Day. Saturday gives us a triple threat of football to wager on. The Bucs can secure playoffs if they beat the Lions. Elsewhere the Dolphins face the Raiders and the 49ers play the Cardinals.
Sunday sees a number of matches with playoff implications, the Rams @ Seahawks being the most important. We'll also see the Jets and Jaguars play, with fans of the New Yorkers praying that Jacksonville wins and puts them back in the hotseat for Trevor Lawrence. The Titans face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. Monday's game is a dead rubber in all reality, as the Bills travel to play the Patriots, with New England officially out of playoff contention.
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