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Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals Point Spread - Pick

Houston Texans (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
Week 2 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, September 14, 2017 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: NFL Network

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: HOU +3.5/CIN -3.5
Over/Under Total: 38.5

The Houston Texans come to Paul Brown Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football. Neither team had a good time of it in week one. In fact, it couldn't have been worse if you drew it up on paper. Cincinnati was shut out at home by division rival Baltimore, 20-0. For a team trying to bounce back from a tough season, that's as demoralizing as it gets. Houston at least scored a touchdown, but were otherwise dominated on both sides of the ball by a visiting Jacksonville Jaguars team, 29-7. Who can rebound on the short week and get the win on Thursday Night Football.

Houston really stunk it up on home on Sunday. Their new starting quarterback Tom Savage got the hook after one half, with Deshaun Watson playing in the second half. All told, the Texans put up 203 yards, turned the ball over 4 times, and allowed rookie Leonard Fournette to go over 100 yards for the Jags. A fumble was returned 53 yards for a touchdown. Even when things aren't going horribly, the Texans can be a difficult team on which to bet. They will look bad, but hang in there, before trying to get you at the end. In other words, they're going to lose a lot more games games in lopsided fashion than they win. Still, to lose by 22 at home as two-time defending division champs to the last-place team that won 3 games last season is a rough start to the season.

Whoever ends up behind center, it's not going to be an experienced guy for the Jaguars. They have done well in recent seasons without having standout play at the position, but game one showed there might be a downturn at the position with Savage and Watson, at least until they get more experience. Lamar Miller should help them run the ball, but the line will have to do a lot better than they did against the Jaguars. They couldn't open holes and they allowed an alarming ten sacks. Not having LT Duane Brown in there really showed. DeAndre Hopkins caught a TD pass from Watson in Houston's only score, but both tight ends Ryan Griffin and CJ Fiedorowicz were taken out of the game with suspected concussions. Let's just say that more often than not, putting up points won't come with ease with this bunch.

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Houston's defense will be the key to their success. They did give up 100 yards to Fournette, but held Jaguars' QB Blake Bortles to just 125 yards through the air. They had no sacks on Sunday, despite having a strong line anchored by JJ Watt. It looks like Brian Cushing went down with a concussion in the costly loss to the Jags. The "D" got no support on Sunday. It's also worth mentioning that after tragedies, such as Houston's flooding, you usually see a team try really hard to give the city something to cheer. It made Houston's flat showing on Sunday all the more troubling.

The picture doesn't get much rosier when one turns their attention to Cincinnati. With Andy Dalton at QB, a trio of backs in Gio Bernard, Jeremy Hill, and Joe Mixon, along with receivers like AJ Green and TE Tyler Eifert, it's hard to score zero points. It's depressing. You think a team coming off a bunch of consecutive playoff appearances has a bad season, they'd be shot out of a cannon to turn things around. Baltimore is probably an improved team, especially on defense. But there's no way to sugar-coat the disappointment in Cincy's week one home performance.

With a forced fumble and 4 picks, Dalton had one of his worst-ever games. The offensive line was a part of the team that looked worse to start the season. Now they're even more banged-up up front and that's after looking pretty bad in that area against the Ravens. Baltimore sacked him five times and the line struggled opening holes for any of their backs. Rookie Joe Mixon really struggled in his debut. AJ Green had a decent game with 74 yards, while no other ball-catcher made an impact. Tyler Boyd and Eifert each had only one catch. It was really flat.

Perhaps the Cincy defense wasn't so bad, considering how little they were supported on the other side of the ball. Giving up 20 to a Ravens team perhaps isn't so bad. Joe Flacco completed just 9 balls for 121 yards. They allowed less than 4 yards per carry. Geno Atkins had a sack. They get Adam Jones back at corner this week. And we should expect more from the Cincy defense incoming weeks. It will be all for naught, however, if the offense can't get their act together.

Houston seems to face a major challenge this week, coming off a demoralizing loss on a short week in a road game. Usually when teams open a season in awful fashion, there can be some good value in the next few weeks with so many people down on that team. With these two squads, they both had terrible regular season debuts. But the public might actually be more down on Houston, getting run out of their own building by the Jaguars. We see the Texans hanging in there against the Bengals and covering the spread.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Houston Texans plus 3.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Houston vs. Cincy Thursday night game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!

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