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*This is the transcript of our Handicapping group wager chat for this particular game. Taking it as it is, so forgive any typos, etc. It's just casual opinions shared. Also we may veer way off topic, but that's half the fun of it.
-- The team is back, The Impractical Gamblers, Season Two : Katz, Rabbitt, Skolman (defending champion), Savage and RC. Enjoy!... --
Savage:10-5; Blazing 5: 3-2; Best Bet: 1-0
Skolman: 9-6; Blazing 5: 2-3; Best Bet: 0-1
Katz: 8-7; Blazing 5: 2-3; Best Bet: 0-1
RC: 7-8; Blazing 5: 2-3; Best Bet: 0-1
Rabbitt: 4-11; Blazing 5: 2-3; Best Bet: 1-0
Katz: These teams combined to score a whopping seven points week 1...all by the Texans. How will Deshaun Watson fare in his first start on short rest/practice time?
Rabbitt: We already start the slate of terrible TNF games? Is there an over/under on total first downs?
Savage: Wow TNF already in mid-season form! Do I really have to make a pick here? With the line sitting at a dead number it seems like the best course of action is to see if it moves closer to 6 or back towards 3.5.
Regardless, I'm leaning towards the Bengals because their track record gives me a little more hope of turning things around and the short week isn't doing Houston any favors.
Skolman: Yuck. I guess I'll root root root for the home team, if they don't win (by 5) it's a shame. This just feels like it won't be close...a low scoring blowout like 24-10, 21-7...or 6-0. Going nowhere near this disaster with real money though.
Katz: This is deplorable. The Bengals have no business being five point favorites over anybody, but the Texans are really bad. I am excited to not have any players in this game in any of my leagues, but not excited to try and pick a winner against the spread. I guess my lean would be towards the home team, but the Bengals just got shutout at home by the Ravens. The Texans defense got victimized by the offense's inability to move the ball last week. It should be better. The Bengals defense is far less imposing. Did I just talk myself into the Texans?
Rabbitt: How do you not take the points? Both teams looked awful, but Andy Dalton completely melted down due to lack of protection. The Texans have a good defense as well. How can we not expect the same? Those free agent linemen aren't walking back through the door.
On the other hand... Deshaun Watson...
RC: My Week 1 into Week 2 theory is that people so think Jacksonville is awful that they are punishing Houston for daring to lose to them. When in reality the Jags are rough and tumble now. Especially when the Texans had no left tackle.
I don’t know which team is the best bounce back candidate here but in a game where both can claim bounce back/losing to top defensive units…you have to take the bigger points, right? Cincy still no Adam Jones or Burfict, right?
I would never bet this game because Joe Mixon could change it…not starting, but finishing.
D’Onta Foreman could arrive.
Savage or Watson come in to relieve the other and creates confusion.
I hate this game for betting…totally intrigued for fantasy clues and possibilities of what is says about the future for some players.
RC: Maybe Watson is enough of a curve ball running the ball that the Texans can stay close.
If Cincy gets up…the Texans are in trouble.
If the Texans get up they may sit on Cincy for the win/cover.
Katz: This line has now moved to 6.5. Wow.
Rabbitt: Can anyone convince me the bengals are 6.5 points better than anyone right now?
Katz: I can't even call this an overreaction to week 1 because both of these teams looked awful.
Skolman: This is such a throw away game. I didn't get to see much of the Bengals / Ravens but I'm more willing to forgive the high number of Bengals turnovers than I am the awfulness (and injured-ness) that is the Texans. Cushing likely out along with every TE on their roster. Both O-lines are pretty bad but the Bengals secondary played pretty well on Sunday and now likely get Kirkpatrick back. I'm in for the Bengals bouncing back vs Bill O'Brien doing something right. This doesn't have the feel of a close game to me. Feels like whatever goes wrong will go very wrong.
Savage: In terms of overreactions, I kinda think its fair to punish the Texans. I agree that the Jags aren't awful anymore and their defense is legit, but Houston still shouldn't get crushed at home by Blake Bortles. As bad as Houston's offense was, their supposedly great defense wasn't much better. They gave up 150 yards on the ground. The ypc doesn't look that bad, but a lot of those Jags rush attempts were inside the 5 yard line or in obvious run situations when the game was out of hand. Bortles barely had to throw the ball. He didn't get sacked and rarely got pressured.
The obvious counter to this was the Bengals were awful in week 1 too, but to me it seemed more flukey. From what I could tell they were moving the ball, and then Dalton repeatedly screwed things up when they got in or near the redzone. As long as Dalton isn't a complete train wreck again, their offense should be OK.
RC: You know what. I just re-watched the CIN-BAL game for studies – Savage is 100% right, the Bengals loss was fluky.
I will say this – I’d argue the better team was Cincinnati in this game. Dalton was living in the red zone all game…and got zero points. Tipped passes for picks. A bad pick. A strip sack. One of those games where 5:1 turnovers kills you. 17-0 at the half. 3-0 in the second half. A tipped pass pick set up BAL near the goal line for a TD. Illegal pick play got them their other. Dalton just missed Cody Core for two 50+ yard TDs.
Hold the phone, Cincy is not that bad/awful. Just a bad game.
Houston is bad and has no O-Line, no running game, and a rookie QB.
Houston was bad on the second watch. Cincy wasn’t that bad on second watch of Week 1.
I’m going with the home team bouncing back…and covering. I’ll take Cincy by 7+ at home.
Thus, I also like CLE +8.0 a touch more now…
Rabbitt: I just can't talk myself into giving what is now 6.5 points to a team that struggles on the Oline, when the other team has the potential to wreck games on the defensive line. I don't think Cincy can pound the rock the same way the Jags did, unless they suddenly decide to bury Jeremy Hill which Marvin Lewis has proven like 100 times that he wont.