NFL Picks: Bet 'Over' 47 as Texans Defense Struggles Monday Night

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 12, 2015 7:07 PM GMT

The Houston Texans offense is better now that Ryan Mallett is gone, but it's their defense that makes the Over the right NFL pick versus the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 11: 30-30-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 21-27 Total

There isn't much room for patience in the NFL. The regular season's only 16 games long, so if things go pear-shaped right off the bat, coaches sometimes make poor decisions when it comes to their starting quarterbacks. The Houston Texans may have cost themselves a game or two in the standings by giving Brian Hoyer the quick hook in the season opener; Ryan Mallett started the next four weeks, and Houston went 1-3 SU and ATS. Whoops.

Since Hoyer's return, the Texans have won two of three SU and ATS to climb back into contention (chuckle) in the AFC South. But what happened to that awe-inspiring defense? Houston has given up 25.6 points per game this year, and the OVER is 5-2-1 going into Monday night's matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) with the Cincinnati Bengals. There's a total of 47 points on the Week 10 NFL odds board as we go to press; our consensus reports show a very slight lean toward the OVER at 51 percent.

 

Brian's Song
Let's get back to Hoyer for a moment. He started 13 games for the Cleveland Browns last year, and was doing a decent job – until the Houston Texans came to town in Week 11. Houston won that game 23-7 (UNDER 42), and Hoyer failed to throw a TD pass in his next three starts before hitting the bench.

For whatever reason, the Texans decided that Hoyer would be a better fit for them than Ryan Fitzpatrick was last year. Turns out they were right after all, if you go by the efficiency stats at Football Outsiders:

2014 Fitzpatrick: +6.7% passing DVOA (No. 13 overall)
2015 Hoyer: +7.3 passing DVOA (No. 11 overall)

To be fair to Fitzy, he's doing even better (+13.7% DVOA, No. 8) now that he's with the New York Jets. But as Hoyer has gotten familiar with his new team, Houston's offense has indeed shown some signs of life in recent weeks. Granted, it's still a bad offense at No. 26 overall, thanks in part to the league's No. 31-ranked ground game. Things are improving, though.

 

That's a Clowney Question, Bro
The Bengals (OVER 5-3) have the No. 2-ranked offense in the NFL, so there's hardly any comparison. They could end up rolling the Texans Monday night; Houston's defense has fallen from No. 6 on last year's efficiency charts to No. 21 this year. There's a long, long lineup of injuries that just got a bit longer – LB Jadeveon Clowney (back) has been listed as questionable after sitting out Thursday's practice.

You could make an argument for adding the UNDER to your NFL picks this week. There's a 15-percent chance of rain over Paul Brown Stadium, and Houston has some other injuries on the offensive line to deal with. But we'll stick with the game plan and take the OVER. May the prolate spheroid be with you.

NFL Picks: Take OVER 47 at 5Dimes

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2837135, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,349], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]