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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 5:00 PM

Even though the Cincinnati Bengals are double digit favorites Monday night against the Houston Texans in a game you’ll all be watching on ESPN, the hosts have to recognize that this is a big danger spot on the schedule.

*Cincinnati is due for a flat performance, because nobody’s immune in the NFL

*Houston is coming off a bye week, giving them extra rest and prep time

*Houston just won their last game, and isn’t thinking about tanking

*Houston has a few players who would love making statements in a big TV game

Cincinnati’s obviously better. But, we’ve all seen situations like this in the past. The superior team comes in overconfident and ill-prepared, only to find a visiting underdog loaded for bear (or Bengal!). It’s the calling card for many midseason upsets.

Let’s run through JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats to see how those intangibles may (or may not) counteract what’s been happening on the field so far in the 2015 season…


Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)

Houston: 3-5 (#28 schedule according to Sagarin)

Cincinnati: 8-0 (#15 schedule according to Sagarin)

Here’s a strike against Houston doing anything dramatic. They’re actually worse than their disappointing record! Cincinnati is perfect against a league average schedule. Houston has been bad vs. a soft schedule. The Texans would be 2-6 or possibly 1-7 against a league average slate. Anything can happen in the NFL of course. But, this may ultimately look more like Jacksonville visiting New England unless Houston brings a new sense of purpose.



Houston: 5.0 on offense, 5.5 on defense

Cincinnati: 6.1 on offense, 5.6 on defense

This stat has been relatively tight this year in the NFL. So, +0.6 is a sign of clear quality even if the differential doesn’t knock your socks off at first glance. Houston’s -0.5 is awful considering their schedule. The offense has been mostly inept. Good luck beating Andy Dalton that way! The defenses mostly cancel out, with the edge going to the Bengals after you adjust for strength of schedule.


Turnover Differential

Houston: -2

Cincinnati: +4

Could be worse for Houston. They’re not imploding even though quarterback play has been sub-par. You have a chance to score upsets if you can avoid turning the ball over. Cincinnati may be a little too pass happy to thrive in this statistic come playoff time. Once the elite are playing each other…Dalton will start to look at lot more mistake prone. In terms of Monday night’s handicapping, this stat only matters if the Bengals come in flat. Actually, it’s the main stat that will tell you if they came in flat.


Market Performance

Houston: 3-5 ATS (5-2-1 to the Over)

Cincinnati: 7-0-1 ATS (5-3 to the Over)

Oddsmakers, sharps, and pretty much everybody who bets has been underestimating Cincinnati this year. They haven’t failed to cover a game yet! Always a first time. But, people have been saying that for a month. We included the Over counts because that could be a factor if weather doesn’t come into play. Andy Dalton is having such a big year that Bengals and Over backers are 12-3-1 on their tickets. Houston has no running game…so a pass-focused approach has lengthened games in a way that’s also creating Overs. The market is trying to adjust…and may have finally made it there with this line…


Current Line: Cincinnati by 10.5, total of 47

Clearly, the marketplace isn’t expecting Houston to get a boost off their bye and show up strong. That gives you some room to play with if you’re thinking about the dog. Just remember that bettors thinking about Cleveland as a dog on this field watched a 31-10 yawner. We have very volatile potential here because the best of Cincinnati can probably name the score, while the long overdue flat spot that should hit the Bengals eventually could trigger an upset.

JIM HURLEY knows that Monday is the most important betting day of the week. And, he’s very pleased that basketball has come along to intensify the schedule. You can purchase the final word for Monday (football and basketball) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours Monday. The start of college basketball always open doors to even bigger riches. Ask your representative how to include hoops with any football purchase.  

Back with you midweek for more football analysis. Here’s what’s on tap in the coming days…

Midweek: NFL TV Preview…Tennessee at Jacksonville

Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview…Michigan State at Ohio State

Sunday: NFL TV Preview…Cincinnati at Arizona

Monday: NFL TV Preview…Buffalo at New England

You’re forgiven if you decide not to watch Titans/Jags! But…right after that we have the game of the year in the Big 10 followed by both Cincinnati and New England from the top of the AFC standings in interesting challenge games. You’re going to get great tips in the TV games here in the NOTEBOOK…and then you’re going to GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!


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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

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