Still yet to lose a game this season, Andy Dalton and the Bengals entertain the Texans Monday Night. Let's look at the NFL odds for the game closely and come up with our top ATS pick.
As you'd expect, with the Bengals still owning that spotless record of theirs, the home team is favored by a huge margin for Week 10's edition of Monday Night Football. Cincinnati is laying as many as 10 points at the top sportsbooks, with some sites going as high as 10.5 (for those wishing to back the underdogs and get a better number).
As far as the total goes, that number is trading at 47.4 points on the NFL odds board. It may seem like a high number, but just know that the Bengals have scored 27 or more points in six of their eight games thus far this season, and Houston's defense has been underperforming in a big way.
This has been a team on a mission so far this season. The Bengals are a perfect 8-0, and while they've mostly avoided some of the best teams in the NFL, they do have an impressive home win over Seattle on their resume. They've also picked up road victories over Oakland, Baltimore, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
Last Thursday, we saw Cincinnati have no trouble at all getting the better of in-state rival Cleveland at home in a 31-10 victory. The Bengals made life difficult on Johnny Manziel and then were able to move the ball with ease against the Browns defense as well.
It was yet another statement of intent from Cincinnati, a team that's struck an excellent balance when it comes to its offensive and defensive performances. The Bengals are third in the NFL in scoring offense (at 28.6 points per game), but they've been equally as sound defensively, allowing only 17.8 points a contest on average; that ranks them fourth in the league. That, you'd think, spells bad news for a Texans team that's disappointed to this point.
Yes, the Texans have managed to win two of their last three, and thus appear to be playing better football, but we're still not sold on them being a reliable team to trust with our NFL picks.
Want to know why? We've mostly see Houston struggle this season, and those two recent wins came over Tennessee and Jacksonville, who aren't exactly world beaters in the big bad world of the NFL.
Like we did above with Cincinnati, let's look over the Texans' overall numbers. They're 20th in points for (21.8) and 22nd in points against (25.6) per game, suggesting there's not much of anything they've been doing well. Plus, they've lost one of their best weapons in Arian Foster for the season. Needless to say, we're not very high on Houston in general.
We're not crazy about the idea of laying 10 points, but it's certainly a more attractive option than putting our faith in a Texans team that we don't have much confidence in whatsoever.
Houston may have the best defensive player in the league in J.J. Watt, but the Houston D as a whole has struggled, and they haven't been much better offensively either. Foster being out for the season is a massive blow, as it allows opposing teams to pay more attention to Hopkins, as they're not nearly as scared of the Texans run game anymore.
When you throw in the fact Cincinnati will be at home and have shown a tremendous balance on both sides of the ball, you can see why we think they have a good chance of staying undefeated. We'll go a step further there and back them to win big on primetime television; Hopkins may get his regardless (he's that good), but it'll be hard for the Texans to keep pace offensively overall, we imagine.
NFL Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -10 at 5Dimes