Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) at Houston Texans (8-7)
I ordinarily never do this, but I need to lock this one in now. If the Bengals beat the Broncos tonight, the Texans clinch the AFC South. It might sound weird, but a Cincinnati victory over the Broncos clinches the tiebreaker for the Texans because it would come down to strength of victory, which would essentially give the Texans a two game lead with one game left to go, rather than a one game lead. If that happens, the Texans will be locked into the #4 seed and this game will be meaningless for them. The Texans could rest their starters if that happens, particularly key players dealing with injuries like quarterback Brian Hoyer (ankle/concussion), outside Jadeveon Clowney (foot), and defensive end JJ Watt (hand). That would drop this line from 6 in a hurry. I’m actually shocked a line is posted for this one anywhere.
The Bengals are underdogs in Denver and I don’t expect them to win, but they’re only 4 point underdogs and could certainly pull off the upset. Besides, I’m taking the Jaguars either way, so I want to get this line as high as possible. The Jaguars are in a pair of good spots. For one, divisional road underdogs are 57-31 ATS in a same season regular season rematch against a team they previously lost to as divisional home favorites, since 2002. Revenge is far from uncommon in divisional matchups similar to this one and the Texans beat the Jaguars as underdogs in Jacksonville earlier this year.
On top of that, the Jaguars are in their 2nd of two road games, coming off a loss in New Orleans. Teams are 130-94 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 106-64 ATS when it’s their 2nd of 2 road games. Historically, teams cover at about a 65% rate in that situation. 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 225-227 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.51 points per game, as opposed to 321-438 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 2.75 points per game. I’d put money on Jacksonville now.
Houston Texans 20 Jacksonville Jaguars 19
Pick against the spread: Jacksonville +6