5* Wild Card *BEST BET*
Cincinnati vs. Houston,
01/07/2012 16:30 EDT,
Score: 10 - 31
Point Spread: -3½/-110 Houston
5* Wild Card *BEST BET* on Texans -3.5 (recommend buy to key number -3 for insurance)
I like the Texans to cover this number comfortably but buying down to -3 makes sense considering Houston is 6-0 ATS this season when the line is +3 to -3. It is worth noting that Houston has won these contests by an average score of 26.7 to 13.5.
Playing good defense and running the football effectively can win you a lot of ball games. The Texans have edges in both of these areas, which I expect to be the difference in this one.
Houston ranks 2nd in the NFL in total defense with 285.7 ypg allowed and 2nd in rushing offense with 153 ypg. Its running game, especially, and the fact Cincinnati gave up 221 yards on the ground last week bodes well for us here.
Consider that Cincy is 0-7 ATS all-time under coach Lewis after allowing 200 or more rushing yards in its previous game. Also, consider the Bengals are 0-6 ATS in the second half of the season under Lewis when matched up against excellent rushing teams averaging >=150 rushing yards/game. The Bengals have lost to these teams by an average score of 30 to 16.8.
The Bengals are 1-5-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall while the Texans are 6-2-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Bengals are also 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings with the Texans.
The Texans didn't play well in the regular season meeting at Cincy and still managed to get the "W". They'll play better at home today, and the result should be a comfortable win.