Houston Texans (6-7) at Indianapolis Colts (6-7)
The Colts lost 51-16 in Jacksonville last week, but the good news is that teams are 51-27 ATS since 2002 off of a loss of 35+ points. It’s counter-intuitive, but it makes sense, as teams tend to be embarrassed, overlooked, and undervalued in that spot. The Colts lost by 35 the week prior as well, in Pittsburgh, and that didn’t help them last week, but that’s just one data point against a trend that’s historically been successful and that makes logical sense. Besides, teams that have lost back-to-back games by at least 21 points are 44-27 ATS over that same time period, for the same reasons.
The Colts also historically cover at home, against divisional opponents, and against sub-.500 opponents, in the Chuck Pagano era, dating back to 2012. They are 21-10 ATS at home, 18-7 ATS against sub-.500 opponents (week 4 or later), and 16-6 ATS against divisional opponents over that time period. Combining all three, they are 5-2 ATS at home, against sub-.500 divisional opponents in week 4 or later, since 2012. The Texans fit all three criteria.
The Texans are the better team, ranking 11th in rate of moving the chains differential, as opposed to 23rd for the Colts, but much of the league is bunched up in the middle and the Texans are actually closer to 23rd than 6th, so the difference isn’t as big as it seems. Besides, the Texans are missing starting quarterback Brian Hoyer, while stud defensive lineman JJ Watt is playing through a broken hand, which seemed to limit him against New England last week. As long as this line stays under 3, I’m taking the Colts. I wouldn’t put money on it though, because the Texans are in a good spot too. Divisional road underdogs are 55-31 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 Colts beat the Texans in Houston earlier this year.
Indianapolis Colts 16 Houston Texans 13
Pick against the spread: Indianapolis -1