The Math Behind the Texans' Improbable 0-13 Streak in Indianapolis
In a league rife with parity, where any team can beat any other team on virtually any Sunday, the element of sheer luck inherently baked into NFL football makes it statistically almost as difficult to "sustain" long streaks of failure as it is to compile long streaks of success.
Just look at the standings this season. Even the ultra-crappy teams in the league have all won at least two games. Hell, in my football-watching lifetime, I've only seen two winless teams in full NFL seasons (1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2008 Detroit Lions). My point is that even a blind squirrel finds a nut.
Unless that blind squirrel is sporting a Texans jersey and playing the Colts in Indianapolis, in which case the squirrel is working a 13-year streak with no nuts.
The Texans fell to 0-13 in Indianapolis in their franchise history on Sunday, losing a hard-fought 17-10 battle and effectively falling out of the AFC playoff race at 7-7. On top of all that, they lost their top two quarterbacks in the game when Ryan Fitzpatrick broke his left leg and Tom Savage sprained his left knee.
Really, it was just the latest in a 13-year string of frustration that you'd think would've ended by accident at some point. After all, to my previous point, even bad teams get over on good teams every once in a while. But for whatever reason, not the Texans in Indy.
In this week's "4 Winners, 4 Losers" for the Colts game, I mentioned that the odds of the Colts beating the Texans 13 straight times (based on the moneylines for all 13 games) was 143/1. I had a handful of people ask me for more detailed math on how I arrived at that number.
Good question! There are a few steps involved, and while time-consuming, they're mindless enough steps to where I was able to complete them and cohost the Texans' post-game show simultaneously on Sunday. (I'm really that damn good.)
First, I went to covers.com and got the spread for every Texans-Colts game in Indianapolis ever. (2014...the era in which degenerates can get spreads on every game for the past 13 years.)
Next, I went to sportility.com and found this conversion chart where it tells me the moneyline equivalent for each and every spread. (I have no idea how to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, but converting any NFL spread to a moneyline? Honestly, I think I could come close.)
By the way, here are each of those figures. Let's partition this off into a few distinct eras in Texans football history:
DAVID CARR INFANCY ERA 2002: COLTS 19, TEXANS 3 (Indy -10, -505) 2003: COLTS 30, TEXANS 21 (Indy -13.5, -805) 2004: COLTS 49, TEXANS 14 (Indy -8.5, -395) 2005: COLTS 31, TEXANS 17 (Indy -17.5, -1600) 2006: COLTS 43, TEXANS 24 (Indy -11.5, -645)
EARLY SCHAUB/KUBIAK PURGATORY 2007: COLTS 38, TEXANS 15 (Indy -6.5, -275) 2008: COLTS 33, TEXANS 27 (Indy -9, -425) 2009: COLTS 20, TEXANS 17 (Indy -7.5, -345)
PEYTON'S FINISHING MOVE 2010: COLTS 30, TEXANS 17 (Indy -5.5, -240)
THE BIG MISS 2011: COLTS 19, TEXANS 16 (Indy +7, +260)
BAD LUCK ERA 2012: COLTS 28, TEXANS 16 (Indy +6.5, +235) 2013: COLTS 25, TEXANS 3 (Indy -6, -245) 2014: COLTS 17, TEXANS 10 (Indy -7, -305)
(NOTE: Saving you the time, I can tell you the Colts are 8-4-1 against the spread. You're welcome.)
The final step in all of this was plugging the moneylines into a parlay calculator, of which the Internet (not shockingly) has several. Admittedly, it's not easy to find one that goes up to 13 games, so the Texans will need to beat the Colts in Indy sometime soon or else we will be unable to continue calculating the parlay streak the Colts are on.
In the end, a $100, 13-game parlay with the Colts winning straight up each time would pay $14,277.50, hence the 143/1 odds on the Colts doing what they've done to the Texans.
Weird. It's felt a lot easier than that.