Houston Texans (2-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-0)
The Bengals are one of three remaining 8-0 undefeated teams and rank 3rd in rate of moving the chains differential. The Texans are a solid team, ranking 16th in rate of moving the chains, but this line, at 11 in favor of the Bengals, is pretty fair given the talent levels of these two teams. The Texans will probably be missing outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, but Cincinnati right tackle Andre Smith has yet to be cleared with a concussion. Assuming he’s out, those injuries would cancel out, so this line is pretty appropriate.
The Bengals are in a tough spot though, with a trip to Arizona on deck, one of the toughest games of their season and one of the few games the Bengals have in which they will be underdogs. Favorites of 10+ are 54-71 ATS since 2002 before being underdogs the following week. The Texans, meanwhile, host the Jets, a game in which the Texans could be favored, following the Jets’ home loss to the Bills on Thursday Night. Favorites are 96-166 ATS before being underdogs when their opponent will next be favorites since 2008. Even if the Texans are small underdogs in that one, the logic still holds. The Bengals have an upcoming distraction, while the Texans don’t. Despite that, the public is all over the Bengals. I like fading the public whenever it makes sense and I think it does here. I’m reasonably confident in the Texans.
Cincinnati Bengals 24 Houston Texans 17
Pick against the spread: Houston +11