Expert Final Thoughts for Thursday Night Football: Texans vs Bengals

Deshaun Watson

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 6:19 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 13, 2017 6:19 PM GMT

With these two teams totalling just 7 points combined in Week 1 and the Under 7-4 the L11 in this series, is backing the Under the best plan of attack?

Thursday Night Football Odds Preview—NFL Week 2

Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals: JJ Watt and the Texans head to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati to bang helmets with AJ Green and the Bengals in big early season AFC matchup on Thursday Night Football. Offshore sportsbooks currently have the host Bengals as 6 to 6½-point favorites after opening at 3, then seeing a flood of Bengals money with Houston deciding to bench starting QB Tom Savage after just one game and go to Rookie Deshaun Watson in this game.

The Total currently  is at 38  in every sportsbook. The Money Line market odds see Cincinnati priced in a -250 to -290 range of 60 cents. The First Half odds see the Bengals as 3½-points chalks—more than the original opening line—with the First Half Total at 19. These two combined to score just 7 points in 8 quarters of play in Week 1.

 Houston Texans

Fourth-year Head Coach Bill O’Brien (25-25-2 ATS) and the Texans had a nasty Week 1, losing at Home to Jacksonville, 29-7 as memories of Brock Osweiler must have been dancing through the mind of the Houston Head Coach when his starting QB, Tom Savage, prompting his subsequent benching and reports that Clemson Rookie Deshaun Watson will be getting the start. Watson did come in against Jacksonville and suffered a mild Ankle Injury but two-time Heisman Trophy nominee was upgraded to “full” participant in the Texans’ practice on Tuesday and definitely offers the Texans a more versatile player at QB in his time playing in his first NFL game. So any perceived nervousness that might come with being named starter should end with the first snap with Watson getting that valuable experience. Watson will be the 9th starting QB under HC O’Brien, long considered a guy who specializes in QB coaching. With Watson, at least the Texans Offense shouldn’t be so one dimensional. Or zero dimensional, if there is such a thing.

The Texans will also need a better game from their Defense, and they definitely have the able horses on that side of the football with Watt, LB Jadeveon Clowney and underrated LB Benardrick McKinney. But JJ Watt and the Defense can only take so much unnecessary Playing Time on the gridiron as the Texans Offense can’t have 4 Turnovers as it did against the Jaguars, and this is a Houston squad that’s used to being on the positive side of the TO ledger, finishing tied for first in the NFL in 2016 in Takeaways/Giveaways (+16). Houston and Watson need to get WRs DeAndre Hopkins, Jaelen Strong and Braxton Miller and RB Lamar Miller involved early on with quick plays with positive yardage and 1st Downs the end intent to build some Confidence needed for both the OL and Rookie QB Watson.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Fifteenth-year Head Coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals had an equally crappy Week 1, scoring as many points as your dog did as the Ravens shut out the Bengals, 20-0 in Cincinnati. So even though he has been roaming the Bengals sidelines before the advent of SmartPhones, Lewis could be on the proverbial “hot-seat” should the Texans hand them a second straight setback at Home to open the 2017-18 NFL Regular Season. After going 11-6 in 2013, 10-6-1 in 214 and 12-5 in 2016, Cincinnati went 6-9-1 last season and seems to have regressed much in the L2 years. But even with the Cleveland Browns in your division, it ain’t easy playing in the rugged NFC North with the Steelers (1-0) and Ravens (1-0) pretty consistent and having better QBs with Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco respectively, with Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton seemingly needing the TCU product to be perfect behind Center every game in order for the Who Deys to have any shot to win.

AJ Green, Rookie WR John Ross (Washington) and Cincinnati is 2-7 ATS its L9 (4-7 ATS) against Houston and 1-4 the L5 in the River City with the Texans winning 12-10 in Week 16 last season but failing to cover (by a ½) as 3-point Home Favorites (41½). The Bengals are 23-14-3 ATS L10 years versus Non-Conference foes, 33-33-4 ATS L70 Off a SU Loss, 54-55-6 on Turf and were 3-6 ATS as Single-Digit favorites last season. It seems the 3- to 3½-point move on Bengals money seems like potential value created for Texans backers, with that extra ½ possibly being the difference in the end. One thing about these Cats though of late, when they do win they do seem to win by double-digits with their L5 Wins coming by a respectable 17, 13, 18, 14 and 15 points.

 Weather, Thursday Night Football, Series and Overall Trends, Texans-Bengals Handicap and Analysis

The TWS Forecast for Thursday night in Cincinnati is currently calling for Cloudy skies with a slight chance of a Rain Shower (81% Humidity), a High of 72° with light and variable W 3 mph Winds. The feeling here is points will be really scarce with two nervous teams (who could only product 1 TD between them in Week 1) and fears of that aforementioned 0-2 start. Toss in a couple of really early near-QB Controversies (Savage-Watson, Dalton-AJ McCarron), and you have the makings of a low-scoring and close contest with maybe 4 total TDs mustered tops. The TNF Trends from the Marc Lawrence Playbook show the Texans to be a dismal 1-6 SU/ATS on Thursday nights and 1-3 ATS as an Underdog and 0-5 ATS as a Road side. Not profitable. Cincinnati is 6-4 SU/ATS on Thursdays and 4-1 ATS L5 at Home and 4-2 ATS as a Favorite. Cincinnati is also 6-1-1 ATS L8 week 2 games, 18-7-2 L27 September games but 0-5 ATS L5 after Allowing 150+ Yards Rushing Previous Game). The Under is 5-0-1 L6 Houston September games and 7-1 ATS L8 Texans games Following a Loss while the Over is 4-1 L5 Texans Thursday games. Everything points to a 3-TD, 3 FG-like close, desperation in the air affair.

Maybe the big Trend worth looking at here is the 7-4 Under mark the L11 in the series, including 2 straight and that aforementioned 12-10 game last season but with the Total so low, be cautious and maybe look at the 1st Half Under if you feel this will have a sluggish first 30 minutes. So the strongest pick in this game seems to be the Under with also a slight lean to taking the Texans should the line be at 6½ or even climb to 7. Watson is an upgrade at QB and got plenty of Playing Time in the Preseason and against a team like the Bengals who were 4-3-1 SU at Paul Brown Stadium last season. Still, the Houston OL and consistency of the receiving corps is a question mark. But then again, when Osweiler and Savage were and are throwing short and inaccurate passes, it’s hard to get any kind of flow going on Offense, making the defense have to step up and another reason to like the Total to go Under in what could end up looking like a fairly boring game on your television.

 PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Texans 16 Bengals 13Free NFL Picks: Texans +6½ & Under 38Best Line Offered: at BetDSI

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