The New York Jets may be fighting for a playoff spot, but NFL betting fans preferred the Tennessee Titans in the early trading for Monday Night Football.

Jets vs. Titans: Betting the Spread 

The New York Jets may be fighting for a playoff spot, but NFL betting fans preferred the Tennessee Titans in the early trading for Monday Night Football. 

Jason’s record on NFL picks for 2012, up to December 15 inclusive: 

42-29-3 ATS

10-5 ML (+6.82 units)

13-16-1 Totals

There’s an old football betting adage that goes something like this: Don’t put your money on a bad team to cover. That idea has some merit, but “bad” is relative, and compared to the Titans (4-9 SU and ATS), the Jets (6-7 SU, 7-6 ATS) look like Super Bowl contenders.

Narratology

Wait, let me check my Rolodex… Titans… Titans… ah yes, a football team in Tennessee to which nobody outside of Tennessee pays any attention. This small-market club is playing very poorly this season – even worse than that 4-9 record would suggest. According to the updated efficiency charts, the Titans are No. 29 overall this year, and their performance stats add up to 2.3 Estimated Wins on the Forest Index.

That’s why fading Tennessee has been so profitable this year. Meanwhile, the Jets are playing out their assorted crises in front of a national audience that just can’t seem to get enough drama. The lamestream media obviously knows what’s good for ratings, treating athletes/singers/everybody with either absolute reverence or total disdain. C’mon, man.

Here are the cold numbers: The Jets are No. 24 in overall efficiency, and they’ve played well enough to earn 5.8 Estimated Wins, pretty much in line with their actual win-loss record. And as I’ve already pointed out in my earlier pieces on Monday night’s matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), New York had an incredibly difficult schedule until recently. Tennessee did not.

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We, the Sheeple

Given the iron grip the media has on the hearts, minds and wallets of its audience, it’s no surprise that the betting public was on the Not-Jets when the NFL odds opened. Tennessee was initially a pick ‘em at –125 juice, drawing about 61 percent support according to our consensus numbers.

The market leveled off afterward with the Titans at –1 (–120), which, again, is virtually the same price. Now the Titans are –2 at the standard –110 as I write this on Saturday night. Still not a big difference; however, the fair price for moving from –2 to –1 would be 8.5 cents, so why pay more?

Our expanded consensus figures show a very slight edge toward the Jets as far as money wagered is concerned, about 51-49. This would normally suggest the sharps are leaning just a smidge toward New York, since the sharps have deeper pockets and tend to make bigger bets. However, the action on this game has been really light – only the Jacksonville-Miami matchup has pulled in less money thus far. Small sample size warning is in effect.

Braylon Mercy

So, I guess nobody’s ears perked up when Braylon Edwards found himself back in New York on Tuesday. Edwards had a combined 88 catches and 11 touchdowns for the Jets in 2009 and 2010, then got waived by both the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks before getting another shot at the Big Apple. Does he have anything left in the tank? Is his hamstring still an issue? We shall see, but for football betting purposes, having Edwards available adds value to the Jets.

I still see no reason to support the Titans in this situation – other than for entertainment purposes, of course. And I haven’t even talked about their offensive line injuries, but that’s a story for when I make my final picks for Monday night. 

NFL Picks: Take the Jets +1 (+111) at betonline