NFL Odds: Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans Pick 1/7/12

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The Houston Texans will play their very first playoff game in team history on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals. Check out our NFL betting picks for the first round of the playoffs!

Year To Date Record: 59-61 ATS
Upset Record: 18-35, -$930

Wild Card NFL Matchup: Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans
Date: Saturday, January 7th, 4:30 ET
Location: Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
NFL Wild Card Lines: Houston -3
Over/Under 38.5
Wild Card NFL TV Schedule: NBC

Bengals Notes: The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 1991, and ironically, that win came against the Houston Oilers. This has been an interesting season for Cincinnati to say the least. Many pictured this being a two or a three win team this year with basically an entirely new offense, but we have to tip our cap to OC Jay Gruden and the rest of the staff for building a competitive offense with rookie QB Andy Dalton calling the shots. Sure, Dalton only threw for 3,300+ yards this year, and his TD/INT ratio of 20/13 wasn’t anything to really write home about, but in the end, this was a team that was able to win the games that it should have won. The problem though, is that the Bengals went 9-0 against teams that didn’t make the playoffs this year, and a stunning 0-7 (and just 1-5-1 ATS) against teams that are in the postseason.

Texans Notes: The city of Houston hasn’t won a playoff game since 1992, and for the first time, the Texans will be in the postseason. Again, it has been a tumultuous year to say the least. QBs Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart are on IR, and interestingly enough, rookie QB TJ Yates is going to become the answer to a great trivia question in a few years. The question? Who started at quarterback in the first playoff game in Texans history? RB Arian Foster missed basically three full games at the start of the season, but he still finished the season with over 1,800 total yards of offense. He and RB Ben Tate combined for over 2,100 rushing yards this year, leading this team to the second best rushing attack in football. The defense improved a ton under DC Wade Phillips in 2011. LBs Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin have stepped in well for the injured LB Mario Williams, and the MLBs in the 3-4 scheme, Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans have been monsters. Houston even has its first Pro Bowl member of the secondary in team history in the newly signed Johnathan Joseph, who has had a great first season in the Lone Star State.

The Final Word: Do either of these teams really have a shot to win the Super Bowl this year? No, not really. However, it would be important for both to get this win to give the team yet another shot at taking on a big boy next week. In the end, we just don’t like the way that the Texans closed out the season. They were able to steal a win in a game in which they probably weren’t the better team in the Queen City a month ago, and they haven’t won since that point. Take the points with the Bengals, but we are fully expecting to see an outright upset when push comes to shove.

Wild Card NFL Pick: Cincinnati +3

NFL Football Prediction: Cincinnati 24 – Houston 20

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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