Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1) at Houston Texans (5-5)
I love fading the public whenever it makes sense. The odds makers always make money in the long run and they always have a much better sense of how good each team actually is because it’s their job to set these lines. I especially love fading the public when they’re on an underdog. They very rarely are, but if they are, chances are it’s because they’re falling into a trap by the odds makers. If the odds makers pick one team to be favored, but the public thinks another should be favored, chances are it’s not going to end well for the public.
The Bengals are a public underdog here and I can understand why. After all, Houston is just 5-5 while the Bengals are 6-3-1. However, the Texans are favored for a reason and it’s because they’re actually a better team than the Bengals, especially the Bengals on the road. The Texans rank 21st in rate of moving the chains differential, moving the chains at a 70.92% rate, as opposed to 72.92% for their opponents, a differential of -2.00. The Bengals, despite their record, rank 23rd, moving the chains at a 71.43% rate, as opposed to 75.07% for their opponents, a differential of -3.64%. That gets even worse on the road, as they move the chains at a 65.71% rate on the road, as opposed to 78.00% for their opponents, a differential of -12.29%. Since the start of last season, they are 4-7-1 ATS on the road.
I’m hesitant to take the Texans because the Bengals are in their 2nd straight road game and historically teams do better in their 2nd straight road game than their 1st. Teams are 181-184 in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.10 points per game, as opposed to 254-364 in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.28 points per game. Teams tend to adjust to the road in their 2nd of two road games. However, the Bengals are coming off of a big upset win in New Orleans last week as touchdown underdogs and teams are 39-47 ATS since 1989 as road underdogs off of a road win as underdogs of 7 or more. They could be overconfident here after that, which would nullify any advantage they get from being in their 2nd straight road game. As long as this line is less than a field goal, I like the Texans here.
Houston Texans 24 Cincinnati Bengals 20
Pick against the spread: Houston -1.5