Inconsistent Bengals Give Texans the Edge in Week 12 Betting

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 3:45 PM GMT

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 3:45 PM GMT

The AFC showdown between the Bengals and Texans highlights Sunday's early gridiron card. Join us as we breakdown this must-see game and serve up our value NFL picks.

Bengals vs. Texans Preview
Both the Bengals and Texans bounced back with pivotal road wins in week 11, setting up a pivotal AFC showdown between two playoff hopefuls. Cincinnati Bengals are back atop the AFC North standings following an upset win over the Saints at the Superdome while the Texans improved to second place in the AFC South behind an upset win over the Browns on the road, thereby keeping their postseason bid alive.

That Bengals are back to the top of the AFC North, tied with Pittsburgh Steelers, who are coming off a come-from-behind win over the Titans on Monday Night, improves their estimation, all of a sudden, in NFL betting circles. Last week, they were drastic road underdogs. This week they are just nominally at the disadvantage, almost to make it a moot point. Of course, that has something to do with betting perceptions on both sides of the coin, the intrinsic value of the Bengals and Texans, respectively. Still, it's a dramatic change of outlook, prompting the question: are bookies overestimating the Bengals once again, putting too much stock in their win over a Saints' side that frankly isn't nearly as good as it was last year?

By that same token, are the bookies underestimating the Texans as the 1-point home chalk on the NFL odds board? Undervaluing their qualitative and quantitative value for NFL bettors quite severely. The daring decision to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick in favour of the untried Ryan Mallet clearly paid off as the Texans romped to a 23-7 win over the Browns on the road. Mallet  went 20-of-30 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns; his first ever NFL touchdown, a two-yard touchdown pass, went to J.J. Watt. Actually, the defensive-end practically beat the Browns singlehandedly with five tackles, a strip sack and a fumble recovery. He gave Brian Hoyer no respite when he was on the field, forcing the Browns' starter to make numerous bad throws and mistakes.
 

 

Bengals (6-3, 2-2 away)
The ever inconsistent Andy Dalton and Bengals masterminded one of several week 11 upsets in the league when they dealt the Saints a home defeat, New Orleans' second straight loss at the Superdome in as many weeks.

Bengals entered week 11 NFL betting as one of the early season contenders to have fallen out NFL betting favour. On the decline since coming off a week 4 bye with a 2-3-1 SU mark, their season was in danger of taking a nosedive after the 24-3 embarrassment at home to the Browns. Of all the divisions in the NFL, the AFC North is the most competitive with all four teams sat at .600 or higher. Losses in such a tightly packed division come at a high premium. But it's not just that they lost to the Browns in week 10 NFL betting. It's the way they did, without putting up any resistance or offense for that matter. It was also their second offensively challenged account in four weeks after the previous debacle in a 27-0 loss to the Colts.

To say the convincing 27-10 victory over the Saints came out of nowhere is no understatement. After opening as the 7-point road pups, they were bet up to 8.5-points by closing time. Tale told, they proved the biggest road underdogs (according to closing NFL lines) to cash in week 11 NFL betting. Dalton went 16-of-22 for 220 yards, an average of 10 yards per pass attempt, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

The timing of their rebound couldn't have come at a better time had they scripted it. From week 12 onwards, Bengals' schedule includes four road games and just two home games. Ahead of week 11, they were only 1-2 SU on the road – 23-16 win in Baltimore 23-16 (week 1) and 43-17 loss at New England (week 5) and 27-0 loss in Indianapolis (week 7). In beating the Saints, though, the Bengals improve to 2-2 SU on the road, kick starting a three-game road stretch on a win. It also sends them into their upcoming clash with the Houston Texans on a wave of optimism.
 

 

Houston Texans (5-5 SU, 2-2 home)
Houston Texans got back on the winning track behind the debut of Mallet and a monster game by J.J. Watt. They are back in the AFC South conversation with a 5-5 SU record and potentially still in the running for a playoff berth. Confidence is high in Texas and with a home game against a notoriously inconsistent Bengals, the Texans have room for optimism.

According to the early activity on the online sports betting exchange, the NFL betting public is split right down the middle, 50-50 between the Bengals and Texans. NFL lines opened with the Texans as the 1.5-point favourites , but since trading began the line has been oscillating up and down by a half-point to a point at some books. It's quite certain the NFL line on this game will receive no respite until closing time, continue to hop as more NFL betting action comes down the wire. Understandably so, there's plenty to recommend both teams in this game for your NFL picks.

If there were an aspect that tips the scale over and above home advantage, it's consistency and attitude.  The Texans are more consistent, whether winning or losing they seem to always compete. The Bengals, by contrast, are a hit-and-miss. One game they light up, another they flip the switch and trundle along. Just the idea that they could spark out in Houston is enough to send us to the cash window with the hosts checked on our NFL picks both SU and ATS.

Free NFL Pick: Texans SU and at -1.0 at BookMaker

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