Saturday's AFC wild-card round games between the No. 3 Bengals and No. 6 Steelers, and the No. 4 Texans and No. 5 Chiefs, set up an interesting start to the playoffs, as both road teams are set as betting favorites against their division-champion opponents at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The matchups are even more intriguing considering they are rematches from the regular season. But the question is, will there be any value on the home underdog? The Houston Texans (9–7) and Cincinnati Bengals (12–4) are each dealing with issues at quarterback.
The AFC South champion Texans host the red hot Kansas City Chiefs (11–5), who bring a 10-game winning streak to NRG Stadium. Houston quarterback Brian Hoyer struggled in a 27–20 loss to Kansas City in the season opener, getting benched in favor of Ryan Mallett, who is no longer with the team.
Hoyer missed two of the last three games for the Texans due to a concussion, returning in the season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He completed 25 of 40 passes for 249 yards with one touchdown and one interception as Houston won 30–6 and beat the spread as a 5.5-point home favorite.
The Chiefs are 4-1 against the spread in their past five meetings in Houston, but they have lost their last eight playoff games both straight up and against the spread.
Meanwhile, the AFC North champion Bengals are hoping to have starting quarterback Andy Dalton back under center versus the Pittsburgh Steelers (10–6), who went down with a fractured thumb in the second meeting between the teams in Week 14.
Cincinnati won its first meeting 16–10 at Pittsburgh this season as a one-point road underdog and lost the second 33–20 as a one-point home favorite. Second-year player AJ McCarron has taken over for Dalton and is preparing to start for him again in the third meeting.
Like Kansas City, Cincinnati is looking to snap a long skid in the postseason, dropping seven in a row straight up and against the spread. Dalton has never won a playoff game but still would give his team the best chance to win if he is cleared to play.
The Steelers have owned the Bengals though, going 4-1 straight up and against the spread in the past five meetings according to the OddsShark NFL Database and winning 13 of the last 15 times they have visited Paul Brown Stadium.