Cincinnati at Houston Lines, Betting Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Thursday,December 22, 2016 9:38, EDT in

With the majority of NFL games on Saturday, Christmas Eve, this week, that means there’s also a Saturday night game and it features a matchup between 2015 playoff teams in Cincinnati and Houston. However, the Bengals already have been eliminated from the 2016 postseason. The Texans, who are in control for the AFC South, can clinch the division this week with a win and a Tennessee loss. Houston is a small NFL betting favorite.

Cincinnati at Houston Lines, Betting Pick & TV Info

When: Saturday, Dec. 24, 8:25 PM ET
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston
TV: NFL Network
Radio: Cincinnati / Houston
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Texans -1.5 (41)

Why Bet on Cincinnati?

The Bengals lost 24-20 at home to Pittsburgh last week. Running back Jeremy Hill had a memorable moment as the Bengals scored on each of their first four possessions for a 20-6 lead. As part of his touchdown celebration, he grabbed a Terrible Towel a fan threw on the field, tried to tear it, and then threw it to the ground. But that seemed to only fire the Steelers up. Cincinnati wouldn’t score in the second half.

Andy Dalton completed 16-of- 27 passes for 157 yards and one interception. He had Brandon LaFell open on third down to extend a drive late in the game, but he threw the ball too far up field under pressure and the pass was broken up. The Bengals did not get the ball again. LaFell opened the game on fire, catching four of Dalton’s first five completions and finishing the half with 77 yards on six receptions. He also drew a long defensive pass interference in the end zone which set up Dalton’s rushing score. WR A.J. Green was inactive for the fourth straight game with a strained right hamstring.

Green (hamstring) will play Week 16 against the Texans barring “an unexpected setback.” Green is just 36 yards from his sixth 1,000-yard season in a row to open his career. That milestone likely played a role in his desire to return this year. Green and defensive tackle Geno Atkins are Bengals heading to the Pro Bowl. Atkins didn’t quite reach the highs he did last season when he had double-digit sacks. However, with 7.5 sacks, 23 quarterback hits and 12 tackles for loss, Atkins still is one of the best interior linemen in the league.

Coach Marvin Lewis says the Bengals “owe it to everybody” to try to win their final two games and that means playing their best players. That thought applies to Green, who Lewis has said repeatedly could come back before the season ends, regardless of the Bengals’ playoff chances.

Why Bet on Houston?

The Texans rallied for a 21-20 win over Jacksonville last week behind backup QB Tom Savage, who has been named the starter going forward. Coach Bill O’Brien benched starting quarterback Brock Osweiler midway through the second quarter, with Houston trailing the Jaguars 13-0. Savage finished 23-of- 36 passing for 260 yards after entering in the second quarter. Before he was benched, Osweiler was 6-of- 11 for 48 yards and two interceptions. Neither quarterback threw a touchdown pass.

Prior to Sunday, Savage had not played in a regular-season NFL game in more than two years. He spent last season on injured reserve after spraining his shoulder during a preseason game. The biggest checkmark in his favor for Saturday is that he didn’t turn the ball over. In 14 games, Osweiler has thrown 16 interceptions while completing just 59.6 percent of his passes.

Along with Osweiler, running back Lamar Miller was a key offseason target for the Texans in signing a $26 million deal. Unlike the QB, Miller has been consistent. He only has four, 100-yard games but has rushed for 1,073 yards (sixth in the NFL) on 268 carries (4.0 average) while catching another 31 passes.

Miller (ankle) didn’t practice Wednesday. He limped off the field on the Texans’ final drive of last week’s win over the Jaguars and has promised to play Week 16. If Miller is unable to play, Alfred Blue and Akeem Hunt are next up on the depth chart. If the Jaguars beat the Titans on Saturday afternoon, and Houston takes care of the Bengals later that evening, the Texans will be the division champs. The Texans and Titans currently have identical 8-6 records. Houston won the first encounter with Tennessee in Week 4 at NRG Stadium, and has a spotless 5-0 record within the division. Tennessee, meanwhile, has a 1-3 record against the AFC South. If both teams win Saturday, then the winner of their season finale in Nashville will take home the AFC South.

Cincinnati at Tennessee Betting Pick: Houston Texans

Bengals are 0-7- 1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Under is 8-3 in Texans last 11 home games.

Go Texans and under on NFL odds.