The Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals are both coming off disappointing Week 1 showings – and would love nothing more than to atone in short order as they face off in this week’s Thursday night game. The Texans were thoroughly outclassed in a 29-7 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the Bengals couldn’t do much of anything on the offensive side of the ball as they dropped a 20-0 decision to the visiting Baltimore Ravens.
Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Point Spread: Bengals -5
Date: Thursday, September 14, 8:25 p.m.
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Bengals opened as a 3-point favorite on Sports Interaction, but that edge has grown amid reports the Texans could be without rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and the top three tight ends on their depth chart. Early-week betting trends favor the Bengals, who are seeing 55 percent of the action at the current line despite having lost seven of the last eight meetings.
A rock-bottom total of 38 might invite some over action, but considering how dreadful both offenses looked last week – and the fact that Thursday night games are offensive slogs more often than not – bettors should be wary of a potential total trap. It’s also worth noting that these teams have played to the under in each of their last four encounters dating back to 2013, though none of those games featured a total lower than 41.5.
This offense has nowhere to go but up after last week’s dreadful performance, in which the Texans’ overmatched offensive line surrendered a whopping 10 sacks to the Jaguars. Houston gained just 93 yards on the ground in defeat, prompting head coach Bill O’Brien to say that running the football better was a top priority. To that end, he suggested that rookie running back D’Onta Foreman would be more involved Thursday after getting just one carry last week.
As bad as things were for the Texans, they were even worse for the Bengals – and quarterback Andy Dalton in particular. Dalton had one of the worst games of his career, throwing four interceptions and getting sacked five times as the Ravens’ pass rush had a field day with Cincinnati’s poor pass protection. With an angry Texans defense on the horizon, Dalton will need to be much sharper to avoid losing as a home fave for the second straight week.
Texans vs. Bengals Prediction
Bengals 20, Texans 17