Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Houston Texans (0-2)
Ordinarily, I love fading significant week-to-week line movements because they tend to be overreactions to one week. For example, the Buccaneers were 8.5 point underdogs in this game in the early line last week, but now they’re only getting 6.5 points, as a result of an upset win in New Orleans against a Saints team that isn’t that good and whose quarterback was playing hurt. However, I actually think this line is still too high. Houston isn’t a very good team, especially with left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Jeff Adams, and running back Arian Foster all hurt. They don’t deserve to be favored by 6.5 points against anyone, especially not Tampa Bay, who proved last week that they are far from the worst team in the NFL.
One of the most powerful trends in betting is the six and six trend, which is very simple. Teams that finish with 6 or fewer wins only cover about a quarter of the time as favorites of 6 or more. It makes a lot of sense, but it’s usually very tough to know whether or not a team is going to finish with 6 or fewer wins. However, I think the Texans have a very good shot to. I had them at 6 wins in my season preview and they’ve ranked 26th in rate of moving the chains differential through 6 games, despite playing Kansas City and Carolina, who aren’t exactly elite teams. Even if the Texans do end up with 7 wins, it’ll be as a result of their weak division and I still don’t think they deserve to be favored by more than even 4 points in this one. Tampa Bay is improved over their 2-win 2014 team and also could win 7 games as a result of a weak schedule. These two teams are way more even than this line suggests, so I’m taking the 6.5 easily.
Houston Texans 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay +6.5