NFL: Defences to prosper as Texans travel to Cincinnati

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NFL nut Kyle Robbins (@AhhYeahKyleYeah) shares his expert opinion on the best bets from Thursday night’s action involving the Texans and Bengals.

Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals | Friday 15th September 2017, 01:15 | Sky Sports

After both sides suffered embarrassing home defeats last weekend, Cincinnati and Houston will be looking to kick-start their campaigns at the Paul Brown Stadium.

Fresh off a five turnover performance, Andy Dalton will be at least looking to put some points on the board this week after a wretched 20-0 shutout at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens.

Dalton threw four picks, but his defence still managed to contain the Ravens to just two offensive touchdowns, and they’ll be looking for a similar type of performance against the stuttering offence that is the Houston Texans.

Dalton has plenty of weapons around him, but he’ll need to involve them an awful lot more if he has any hope of igniting his offence. Tyler Eifert had just one catch for four yards on Sunday, and seen as one of the league’s elite tight ends, that sort of production isn’t going to win football games.

Now they are up against a slightly better defence than the Ravens (statistically anyway) but they too will be looking for a stronger performance Thursday night.

Although they performed pretty well against the pass – holding Blake Bortles to just 125 yards – they allowed 155 total rushing yards. So maybe Cincinnati will be looking to exploit that again here.

Bernard shines brightest

However, they don’t even seem to know who their lead running back will be. Giovarni Bernard shone brightest last weekend, with 40 yards rushing and 39 yards receiving – he’s my fancy, if any, for a Bengals touchdown.

Bernard’s ability catching balls out of the backfield offers him big upside, and if his usage goes up after Jeremy Hill’s struggles last week, he should have a good chance at getting in the end zone. He’s best-priced 11/4 with Bet365.

Texans require an improvement

Houston’s offence didn’t fair too much better than Cincinnati’s last weekend, and like the Bengals, most of their opponents’ points came off their own turnovers.

They still have a strong defence, led by J.J Watt (who will certainly be looking for a much better individual performance), and they’ll certainly be wanting to apply more pressure to the quarterback, having not registered a sack last weekend.

Rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson was called on sooner than expected, after Tom Savage’s disastrous display. And whilst he did lead the Texans on their only scoring drive, given the Texans’ injuries at receiver and tight end, I don’t envisage him putting up too many points in his first start against a team that allowed only 121 yards to Joe Flacco.

Therefore, Under 16 Texans Points at 10/11 with PaddyPower looks a good bet.

Go low on points

If both teams can limit their turnovers, I still see this being a low-scoring affair, fought in the trenches, given both teams struggles in the passing game.

But, if anything, Cincinnati’s passing offense still fills me with more confidence. Rookie receiver John Ross returns after missing week one, and his deep threat might give the Bengals the opportunity to stretch the field and give more looks to the likes of AJ Green and Tyler Eifert.

Under 38.5 Points can be backed at 10/11 with Marathon, and if the Bengals can convert on their trips to the Red Zone, unlike against the Ravens, I think they’ll bounce back with a victory Thursday night.

Best Bets

Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals – Giovarni Bernard to score a touchdown (11/4 Bet365)

Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals – Under 16 Houston Texans Points (10/11 Paddy Power)

Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals – Under 38.5 Points (10/11 Marathon)

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