Sunday football, week 15 - Texans @ Jaguars

Time: 1:00 PM ET, Dec. 19, 2021
Location: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
Current Line: JAX -3  Total: 39.5


Despite two pretty bad football teams playing each other on Sunday, there is value on Houston. Back the Texans at +3.

Back the Texans +3

Sunday’s game in Jacksonville pits two of the worst offenses in the NFL. The Jaguars and Texans are two of the worst teams in the league, but the game has some serious betting value.

Jacksonville, which has lost five straight and failed to score a single point last week, is a 3-point favorite over Houston. It’s an interesting line for a couple reasons. One is the Texans earlier victory over the Jags in the season opener. Houston won 37-21 and while it’s been roughly three months since that game, the two teams aren’t that much different compared to the beginning of the season.

Another reason why Sunday’s betting line seems puzzling is the Jags recent lack of offense. As mentioned, last week  the Jags failed to score in a 20-0 shutout loss to Tennessee. The week prior, Jacksonville managed a touchdown in a 37-7 loss to the Rams. Over their last seven games, the Jaguars have managed just 64 points. That’s an average of just over seven points per game. That doesn’t win a lot of games in the NFL and it makes one wonder why the Jags are given a field goal’s edge in Sunday’s matchup.

There’s also the history of this AFC South rivalry. Houston has swept the season series three years in a row. With the win in the season opener, the Texans now have seven straight wins over Jacksonville. In that season-opening game, Houston was a 3.5-point underdog at home.

Since that win to open the season, the Texans have just one more victory. It was actually a rather impressive win over AFC South Division leader Tennessee. The Texans won 22-13 and covered as a 10-point underdog.  Since that win, Houston has lost three straight and, like Jacksonville, has struggled on offense.

The Texans lost 21-14 to the Jets then failed to score in a loss to Indianapolis. Last week, it was a 33-13 defeat at the hands of Seattle and Russell Wilson. And that is where we can find some real value on Houston.

It’s no secret that road teams have done pretty well against the spread this season in the NFL. Overall, teams playing away from home are 116-91-1 ATS this season. When you drill it down even further and focus in on road underdogs, the numbers are even better. Underdogs playing away from home are 70-51-1 ATS this season. That’s a cover percentage of 57.9 percent.

But wait, there’s more. If you like trends, here’s a really interesting one. Road underdogs of +3 to +6 that are on a three-game losing streak are 42-27 ATS in their next game (since 2003). History and trends make backing Houston look like a great pick, but history and trends don’t win games in the NFL.

Houston is dead last in scoring offense averaging just 13.6 points per game. The running game is also last in the league (77.5 ypg) and the passing game averages 186.6 yards per game which puts the Texans at No. 31.

What the Texans do have though is a young quarterback in Davis Mills that is improving. Houston decided to finish the season with Mills as the starter and last week he threw for a career-high 331 yards and one touchdown in the loss to Seattle.

Houston also has a top-15 pass defense which should be able to wreak some havoc on Jags rookie QB Trevor Lawrence. The Jacksonville quarterback has struggled for most of the season. Last week, Lawrence threw four picks and was sacked three times in the loss to the Titans. He has only thrown one touchdown pass in his last five games and his completion percentage for the season is just 58.2 percent.

Neither of these teams are all that great at covering the number. Houston is just 1-4 ATS in its last five games. Jacksonville has an identical 1-4 ATS record in its last five games. If we go back to history, we see that Houston has won five of the last six times it has played the Jags in Jacksonville. The Texans are also 5-2 ATS in their last seven overall games against the Jags.

Despite two pretty bad football teams playing each other on Sunday, there is value on Houston. Back the Texans at +3.

Back the Texans +3

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SUNDAY schedule on Paramount+, December 19

Titans at Steelers
Texans at Jaguars

4:05PM ET
Bengals at Broncos
Falcons at 49ers

Full  schedule for week 15 here can be found here!