New York Jets at Tennessee Titans: 2014 Week 15 NFL Pick

New York Jets (2-11) at Tennessee Titans (2-11)

The Titans are a really bad team, moving within percentage points of a Raiders team that previously seemed untouchably in last place in rate of moving the chains, after a blowout home loss to the Giants last week. They move the chains at a 66.57% rate, as opposed to 76.11% for their opponents, a differential of -9.53% that ranks 31st (Oakland is at -9.61%). However, the Jets have no business being favored by a field goal on the road against anyone. They rank all the way down at 28th in rate of moving the chains differential, moving them at a 67.89% rate, as opposed to 72.70% for their opponents, a differential of -4.81%.

The Jets being favored by a field goal is a drastic shift from last week, when the early line had them as field goal underdogs. I love fading massive line movements because they’re almost often huge overreactions and in this case I think it’s an overreaction to the Titans 36-7 home loss to the Giants. That was an ugly loss, as was their 45-21 loss to the Texans the week before, but teams actually cover at a fairly high rate off of back-to-back losses by 21 or more points, as teams are 41-23 ATS in that spot since 2002. It might seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it as teams are often overlooked, undervalued, and embarrassed in that spot. They’re definitely undervalued and they’ll almost definitely be overlooked and embarrassed.

Adding to the theory that the Titans will be overlooked this week is the fact that the Jets have a much bigger game next week with the Patriots coming to town. Teams are 60-94 ATS since 2012 before being 3+ point home underdogs, including 31-65 ATS before being 4+ point home underdogs, 9-24 ATS before being 7+ point home underdogs, and 1-7 ATS before being 10+ point home underdogs (the early line in New England -10.5). On top of that, road favorites are 77-120 ATS before being home underdogs since 1989. Combining the two, road favorites are 6-18 ATS before being 7+ point home underdogs since 1989. It’s a very small sample size, but the logic definitely makes sense.

The only reason this isn’t a bigger play on the Titans is because the Jets are in their 2nd straight road game this week, which is an added benefit. Teams are 46-31 ATS as road favorites off a road loss since 2008, including 38-26 ATS when it’s their 2nd straight (and not 3rd straight) road game and they next play a home game. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 182-195 in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.32 points per game, as opposed to 269-385 in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.28 points per game. However, that aforementioned 38-26 ATS trend is just 5-9 ATS since 1989 when the previous game was an overtime contest and teams in general are 79-97 ATS since 1989 off of a road overtime loss. The Titans should be the right side.

Tennessee Titans 16 New York Jets 13 Upset Pick +130

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +3

Confidence: Medium




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