New York Jets (6-7) at Tennessee Titans (4-9)
The Titans are 4-9, which isn’t very good at all, but if you can believe it, they’re even worse than their record. Of their 9 losses, 5 have come by 21 or more and only one of their 4 wins have come by more than a field goal. As a result, they rank 29th in net points per drive, DVOA, and weighted DVOA. The Jets aren’t as good as their 6-7 record either, as they are 24th in net points per drive and DVOA and 25th in weighted DVOA, but the Titans don’t deserve to be favorites here.
Using the net points per drive method, the Jets should be 1.5 point favorites here. The Titans are at -0.76 in points per drive and the Jets are at -0.38. If you take the difference, multiply by 11 (the average amount of drives per game per team), and add 2.5 to Tennessee’s side for home field, you get that the Jets should be 1.5 point favorites, rather than the Titans being that.
The Jets also have the trends on their side. Teams are 105-62 ATS as dogs before being favorites in 2011 and they host the Chargers next week. That trend becomes 116-59 ATS since 2008 when their opponent will next be dogs and the Titans have a much bigger game in Green Bay next week. When all 3 games (current, next, and opponent’s next) are non-divisional, that trend is 35-15 ATS since 2008.
Speaking of that Green Bay game, teams are 25-48 ATS as favorites before being double digit dogs, which they should be in Green Bay next week. Going off that, the Titans are in the sandwich situation. Teams are 59-85 ATS since 2008 as favorites off a loss as dogs before being dogs, including 44-67 ATS as favorites of less than a touchdown. For good teams, this is a huge breather spot. For bad teams, well they don’t deserve to be favorites and the Titans fall into that latter category. It’s also worth noting that the Jets are 5-1 SU (4-2 ATS) as dogs or favorites of 3 or less and 0-6 SU (2-4 ATS) as dogs of more than 3. They’re beating up on mediocre and crappy teams this season and I expect that to continue this week.
Rather than putting 3 units on the spread and 1 unit on the money line, I’m going to put all 4 on the money line. I was burned doing this a few weeks ago because the Buccaneers lost by 1 as 1.5 point dogs and I took the money line instead. However, that was just the 8th time in the last 23 years that a 1.5 point or 1 point dog had lost a game by exactly 1 point. Going into that game, since 1989, there had been 414 teams who have been favorites of less than 2. Of those 414 teams, only 7 of those teams lost by exactly 1 point, about 1.7%. I still say that was the smart move after some thought and I’m going to do that again here. It’s not worth the extra 20 cents on the dollar for something that will hurt me about 2% of the time, however terrible I feel when it does.
Public lean: Tennessee (50% range)
New York Jets 20 Tennessee Titans 16 Upset Pick +110 4 units
Pick against spread: NY Jets +1.5 (-110) 0 units