Bengals, Texans betting underdogs in AFC Wild Card matchups

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The Cincinnati Bengals will be looking to halt a seven-game straight-up losing streak in the postseason, including Wild Card Weekend losses in each of the past four years, when they play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night as 2.5-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The 12-4 Bengals enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the conference, and as AFC North champs for the second time in three years. However, Cincinnati struggled in the second half of its campaign, going 4-4 SU in its last eight ahead of Saturday’s Steelers vs. Bengals betting matchup at Paul Brown Stadium, failing to tally a victory against a playoff-bound team during that stretch.

Compounding matters for the Bengals has been the absence of quarterback Andy Dalton, who suffered a broken thumb in the club’s 33-20 loss to Pittsburgh four weeks ago, and remains questionable for this weekend’s contest.

The 10-6 Steelers needed to overcome serious adversity before capturing a playoff berth with last weekend’s 28-12 win over Cleveland. Struck by injuries to rusher Le'Veon Bell and pivot Ben Roethlisberger, who was sidelined twice early in the season, Pittsburgh stumbled to a 4-4 start before coming to life in the second half.

The Steelers are enduring a playoff losing streak of their own, coming up short in their last three, also taking against the spread losses as betting favorites in their past two, but are a solid 4-1 SU and ATS in their past five against the division-rival Bengals according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

In the other AFC Wild Card Weekend matchup on Saturday, the AFC South champion Houston Texans will be gunning for their fourth straight SU win when they welcome the Kansas City Chiefs as 3.5-point betting underdogs.

The Texans have won seven of their past nine games both SU and ATS, and have been dominant during their current hot streak, allowing just 7.3 points per game in crucial wins over divisional rivals.

The 11-5 Chiefs reached the postseason on a torrid 10-game SU win streak, and also posted a 27-20 victory in Houston back on the opening weekend of the NFL season. However, Kansas City has consistently failed to meet increased expectations at the sportsbooks, losing three of their last four ATS, and are 2-4 ATS this season when favored by more than three points.

The Chiefs must also overcome an eight-game playoff losing streak dating back to 1994, scoring 10 or fewer points in five of those contests, and losing three outright as betting favorites.

Watch Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts live on TNF

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The Indianapolis Colts host the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football in a battle of two former contenders whose seasons have gone wrong.

Following a strong start, the Broncos went 1-8, as their typically astute defense has struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone. Denver’s offense has not helped the team’s cause either. The Broncos have failed to find clarity at quarterback with Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch all seeing time.

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The Colts have had their own deficiencies this season without star quarterback Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett has provided admirable coverage under center with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but he has not been able to keep up with a Colts defense that has let up the second-most points in the NFL this season.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Broncos vs. Colts

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Watch Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders live on SNF

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The Oakland Raiders host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football as both teams look to keep their playoff hopes alive.

With a win, Dallas will maintain its chances of sneaking into the playoffs as a wild card. After struggling initially, Dak Prescott has been able to adjust to life without Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott threw for three touchdowns and a season-high 332 yards in the Cowboys win last week over the New York Giants.

If the Cowboys can hang around, Elliott can give them a boost when he returns from suspension next week heading into the final stretch of the season.

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The Raiders also find themselves in need of a win as they are in the middle of a contested AFC West battle with the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense will need to improve after dropping from the league’s sixth-best offense in 2016 to 19th this season.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Cowboys vs. Raiders

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app