Game: Houston Texans (2-3, 2-3 ATS) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-1, 3-2 ATS)
Spread: Bengals -4.5.
Overview: This game features two teams that, to some degree, are headed in opposite directions. The Bengals are one miracle play away from being 5-0, and it appears coach Marvin Lewis has turned things around just in time to save his job and give Bengals fans some long-elusive hope.
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The Texans were supposed to be much improved, and some predicted this would be the year they challenge for the division title and a playoff spot. Thus far, they have simply failed to meet expectations.
But the fortunes of each team could change quickly. If the Texans are able to manage a win and get to 3-3, they still have time to salvage their season, while the Bengals still get in their own way often enough to potentially ruin their promising start.
The 4.5-points spread is a nice cushion here, and the number appears to favor the Texans. Although they have been vulnerable on defense, quarterback Matt Schaub has directed the league’s fifth-best passing attack at 274 yards per game. Conversely, the Bengals are No. 22 in the league at stopping the pass, allowing 229 yards per game.
So far this season, the Bengals have covered all three games in which they were the underdog, and failed to cover twice as a favorite. In other words, they are a lot better when not much is expected from them. Facing a hungry Houston team desperate to turn its season around, it’s fair to expect more of the same.
Trends: The Texans are 4-0 ATS following an ATS loss and 4-1 ATS in their last five as a road underdog. The Bengals are 1-5 ATS in their last six as both a favorite and a home favorite.
Pick: Texans +4.5.
Game: Kansas City Chiefs (0-5, 1-4 ATS) at Washington Redskins (2-3, 1-3-1 ATS)
Spread: Redskins -7.
Overview: If this game fails to entertain, there’s a good chance watching it could be a good cure for insomnia. The Redskins and Chiefs have both plodded along like snails in a relay race. They seem to know where they want to go, but have a difficult time managing to get there.
Under first-year coach Todd Haley, the Chiefs were expected to be in rebuilding mode, and they have lived up to this billing. It still remains to be seen if Matt Cassel can turn into the franchise quarterback worthy of the hefty contract he signed. Meanwhile, the Redskins again appear headed toward an underachieving season, despite their annual big-name free agent signing in Albert Haynesworth.
The Chiefs are No. 30 in total offense and No. 24 in points scored at 16.8 per game. The Redskins counter with 14.6 points per game. No. 27 in the league, while fielding the league’s No. 22 overall offense.
The minute this line was released, many bettors observed that the Redskins aren’t good enough to be laying a touchdown against anybody. They are right. Take the points here, and chances are you have a good chance at the cash.
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Trends: The Redskins are 6-16-4 ATS against teams with losing records, and 2-8-3 ATS in their last 13 overall. The Chiefs are 3-8 ATS as a road underdog of 3-10.5 points.
Pick: Chiefs +7.