Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans (12/15/19): NFL Betting Picks, Lines

Last Week: 9-3-1
All Time Results: 87-79-2, +10.81 Units

Houstons Texans +3 @ Tennessee Titans – 1 Unit

Houstons Texans -2.5 (+150) @ Tennessee Titans – .1 Unit

Classic “Buy Low, Sell High” situation.

The Tennessee Titans are flying high.  They are favored to make the playoffs for the first time all season after posting their 3rd straight double-digit win last week at Oakland.  Meanwhile, the Texans, a viable AFC contender all year, come into this week reeling from one of the most humiliating results of the season.

Historically, this is a great bounceback spot for the Texans.  Teams in the following game after losing against the spread by 21+ are 53.5% ATS since 1989 (h/t @BradPowers7).  When playing on the road, that number increases to 55.7% ATS.

While 54% and 56% may not seem like overwhelming figures, when we’re talking about hundreds of games throughout multiple eras of NFL football, it clearly illustrates houston texansthat the betting market regularly overreacts to these lopsided results.

Additionally, DeShaun Watson is 12-4 ATS as an underdog in his NFL career.  While obviously not a huge sample size, Watson has proven he is not a guy you want to count-out.

Road Teams Surging in 2019

Road teams in the NFL this year are 59% ATS with an average ATS margin of +2.1.  Underdogs on the road have posted even better results: 61% ATS.  We cashed in on this trend this past Monday Night.

While splits for home vs. road teams will ebb and flow over time, in the NFL and in sports in general, I think there is something to be said that traveling has become easier and less burdensome.  In the NBA for example, no road team won a Game 7 from 1951 to 1965 or from 1984 to 1994.  But nowadays – the last 3 years anyway – road teams are about 50/50 in double elimination games.  With the Washington Nationals winning the World Series in Game 7 this year in Houston, MLB road teams now have a positive record in double elimination games since 2000.

NFL Division games, in particular, have less of an advantage for Home teams.  Bro bettor Steve Fezzik says a wiseguys secret is that normal NFL HFA is 3 points, but it is better to use 2.5 points for HFA in any division game.  This adjustment makes a lot of sense to me.  Think about it: the Texans go to the same hotel and have the same game day routine twice a year, every year in Memphis.

Tennessee also has poor historic results at home compared to other teams.  Since 1989, the Titans have covered only 48% of their games at home, with a straight-up margin of +1.5.  The league average for home teams over that time span is +2.8, nearly double.

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Houston Texans to Win AFC South -139 – 1 Unit

The Colts shocked the world the first half of the season, exceeding everyone’s expectations without their best player, Andrew Luck.  But they’ve spun out, and the south has become a two-team race.  Adding to the drama, the Titans and Texans – currently tied for 1st in the division – play each other twice over the final three weeks of the season.

houston texansOf course, each of these bouts will be hugely pivotal.  But just to put some numbers on it: If the Titans lose this game, their chances of winning the division (per 538) plummet from 45% to 11%.  Conversely, if the Texans lose this game, their chances of winning the division fall from 53% to 34%.  I like this bet because I think the Texans win this game, giving them a stranglehold over the Titans in this race.  If they lose, however, I still like Watson and company to pull the upset and fight their way back into the #1 spot in Week 17.

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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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