Oct 192012

Tennessee Titans (2-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-3)

These two teams are actually very, very similar. Tennessee ranks 29th in yards per play differential and Buffalo ranks 30th. Buffalo also ranks 30th in rate of sustaining drives differential, while Tennessee ranks 31st. I picked both teams for big plays last week because, in addition to other reasons, both teams were coming off back to back losses of 21 or more. Teams in that situation are 33-16 ATS since 2002 and are now 35-16 ATS after both pulled off upset victories last week.

However, both teams are now in bad spots because of how they won last week. Both teams won by a field goal late. Tennessee won at home by a field goal as dogs. Teams are 28-50 ATS in that spot since 2002. Buffalo won in overtime on the road as dogs. Teams are 16-31 ATS the following week as favorites since 2002 as Buffalo is indeed favored in this one.

So if these two teams are so similar, why do I like Tennessee? Well, there are 6 reasons. For one, Tennessee is better rested. Teams are 112-92 ATS off Thursday Night Football, which isn’t huge or anything, but it’s notable and it definitely makes sense. A bigger trend is that underdogs before being favorites are 81-43 ATS since the start of last year, including 13-5 ATS off a win as dogs. If you go back to 2008 to get a larger sample size, teams are 38-19 ATS as dogs before being favorites off a win as dogs.

The 3rd reason is that, while these two teams match up similarly statistically, look who these two teams have played. Buffalo has played the Jets, Chiefs, Browns, Patriots, 49ers, and Cardinals, while Tennessee has had to deal with the Patriots, Chargers, Lions, Texans, Vikings, and most recently the Steelers, a much tougher schedule. The 4th reason is that we do have a substantial public lean on Buffalo right now and I love to fade the public, especially on substantial leans. The 5th reason is that teams coming off a victory off of two straight losses by 21 or more, like both of these teams are, are 15-9 ATS as dogs, but 3-5 ATS as favorites the following week.

The final reason is that, we’ll these teams are even, we’re getting a half point more with Buffalo than we should. I know that may sound insignificant, but since 2002, 15.5% of all NFL teams have been decided by a field goal or more. At some places, this line is +3 (+105) and some it’s -3.5 (-120). I recommend paying for the extra half point if you can. It’s valuable and you’ll probably need it with two teams as evenly matched as these. The money line is a good value too.

Public lean: Buffalo (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if Tennessee covers)

Sharps lean: TEN 12 BUF 9

Final update: No change

Tennessee Titans 24 Buffalo Bills 23 Upset Pick +165

Pick against spread: Tennessee +3.5 (-120) 2 units

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