NFL Underdog Betting Report: Houston Texans are paying off in a big way

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Nov 28, 2023

The Houston Texans continue to pay bettors, but league-wide there has been a drop-off in road underdogs covering the spread.

As the 2023 NFL season shifts into Week 13, we decided to take a deep dive into the numbers to focus on underdogs and more specifically, which dogs are paying off for bettors.

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NFL underdog betting trends SU

Through the first 12 weeks of the season, underdogs are 58-122-0 straight up, which is a 32.2 win percentage. The only thing that win percentage does is reaffirm that underdogs are obviously the riskier choice straight up. Still, there are a few teams that are bucking the trend and rewarding bettors. The chart below shows the three teams in the NFL with the best straight up records this season:

*Team records at the end of Week 12 

TeamUnderdog Record SUWin Percentage
Houston Texans4-3-057.1%
Pittsburgh Steelers4-3-057.1%
Minnesota Vikings3-3-050.0%

The dynamic play of rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud has led Houston to a surprising 6-5 record this season. The Texans upset Jacksonville by 20 points in Week 3 despite being listed as 7.5-point underdogs and while they won’t catch the Jags in the race to win the AFC South, they have a solid chance to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team. Houston has also earned upset victories over Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New Orleans and Cincinnati.

NFL underdog trends ATS

Underdog teams haven’t fared as well against the spread in 2023 as they have in recent years. The dogs are 80-90-10 ATS this season, which is a 47.1 win percentage. A big reason underdogs haven’t paid as well is the struggle of road dogs specifically. The chart below shows the record for road underdogs ATS for this season and the three previous years:

*Team records at the end of Week 12

YearUnderdog Teams ATSWin percentage

The win percentage for road underdogs ATS was fairly consistent between 2020 and 2022, but it’s dipped below the 50 per cent mark this season. One reason for the change could be the way games are handicapped. Home field advantage is becoming less of a factor in recent years, so oddsmakers have adjusted the advantage they usually give home teams.

Home teams have historically been given a three-point advantage by oddsmakers. For example, if a team is a three-point favourite at a neutral location, they would be a six-point favourite at home. With home field advantage less of a factor, that three-point advantage has generally shrunk to two or 2.5 points.

Don’t completely swear off road underdogs, however, as there are a few teams that still manage to consistently cover the number as a road dog. The chart below shows the three best teams to bet as a road underdog:

*Team records at the end of Week 12 

TeamUnderdog Record ATSWin Percentage
Washington Commanders5-1-083.3%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers5-1-083.3%
Houston Texans3-1-075.0%

No surprise that Houston is on the list, but Washington and Tampa Bay have actually been an even better cover option as a road underdog. As with the Texans’ success, the Commanders have benefitted from a young quarterback. While Sam Howell has an iffy TD-INT ration of 18-13, he’s leading the NFL with 3,339 passing yards and has shown growth in his first full season as Washington’s QB1.