NFL betting: The 17.5-point spread on Bills-Texans is a lot more uncommon than you'd guess

·2 min read

The Buffalo Bills' spread for the Houston Texans keeps getting bigger. It has reached a level we rarely see in the NFL. 

The Bills are 17.5-point favorites at BetMGM. It had dipped to 16.5 earlier this week but bounced back up above 17 on Friday. 

The Bills are coming off two blowout wins and are among the Super Bowl favorites. The Texans haven't looked great the past couple weeks and will be starting rookie quarterback Davis Mills because Tyrod Taylor is on IR with a hamstring injury. 

That has led to a rare spread in the NFL. 

Bills' point spread is huge for NFL 

According to Stathead's database, which tracks point spreads back to 1978, there have been only 36 NFL games with a spread higher than 17 points. There have been more than 10,000 NFL games spanning 43 seasons since 1978, and only 36 have had a spread as high as Bills-Texans. 

Two of those games happened last season, with the New York Jets being underdogs in both. The Jets lost and failed to cover as a 20-point underdog at the Kansas City Chiefs. They won straight up as a 17.5-point underdog at the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15, ruining many survival pools for anyone who happened to make it that far. 

There were four games in 2019 that saw a spread higher than 17 points, but before that there hadn't been a spread that large since 2013. 

The number hung on the Bills for Sunday is a rare one. The question for bettors is, can the Bills cover it? 

Can Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills cover a 17.5-point spread? (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)
Can Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills cover a 17.5-point spread? (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)

Most huge NFL favorites don't cover

The history of favorites laying more than 17 points is not good. 

The underdogs in games with a spread of 17.5 or more have a 25-11 record against the spread. But don't be scared, survival pool players: only three of those 36 underdogs, including the Jets last season at the Rams, won straight up. 

The Bills could be the rare team to cover that large spread. They are explosive on offense and thee defense has been very good this season. They have won their last two games by 35 and 22 points. Buffalo is capable of covering. 

But that would be rare, like the large spread itself. 

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