Remember Matthew Perry’s character on “Friends?” Chandler Bing? And remember he had a particular way of saying certain connective words? Yeah, well, read the next paragraph in that voice. Let’s make it easy: The word “be” will be capitalized so that’s the word you’re really going to want to hammer. OK. Ready? Here we go …
“Can the Titans BE any more annoying of a football team?”
Seriously: Two weeks ago, this team marched into Indianapolis and manhandled the Colts, taking a one-game lead in the AFC South and looking every bit the Super Bowl contender.
Last week, they hosted the Browns. Wasn’t going to be an easy game, but even so-called experts like this writer over here noted the game was going to come down to whichever team could control the air, not the ground. And what happened? The Browns came out throwing, catching the Titans off-guard, and before you could say “Uh-oh” the game was out of hand.
Now all of a sudden, the Titans are back to having the same record with the Colts, although as it stands, the Titans hold the tiebreaker as a result of being 3-1 in the division (the Colts are 2-2).
This week, the Titans head to Jacksonville in a game they should dominate. But this is the 2020 Titans we’re talking about, and thus nothing is guaranteed. Not even close to guaranteed. Anyone who tells you otherwise is clearly not watching this roller coaster.
Titans favored, but dropping
The Titans are -7.5 favorites on FanDuel and -7 favorites on BetMGM and DraftKings. You’re laying -115 on both the -7 lines, and -112 on the 7.5. Clearly, as of this writing, DK and BetMGM are the places to go for spread bets this week. Very notable, however is the following: The Titans opened as -9.5 favorites. This means two things: One, early week bettors — namely, the sharper among us — are also on the “nothing is easy with the 2020 Titans” bandwagon, and two, there’s a decent chance the number could drop to -6.5, which obviously makes a big difference.
On the moneyline, the best price for the Titans is at DraftKings at -345. The over/under sits at a healthy 53 on DraftKings, and 52.5 on BetMGM and FanDuel.
On the field … well, what can we say? The Titans should dominate, especially on the ground. Derrick Henry will be going up against the NFL’s 30th-ranked rushing defense in yards allowed per game. But while the Jaguars are giving up gobs of yards on the ground, it hasn’t stopped them from also giving up gobs of yards in the air. They’re 29th by that metric.
Short and sweet, then: The Titans should not have trouble moving the ball against the Jaguars.
On the other side of the ball, well … this is where things might get a little interesting. All of a sudden, the Titans defense — not exactly a stellar unit to begin with — looks a lot worse. And the Jaguars, with Mike Glennon flinging the ball all over the field and James Robinson having the quietest greatest rookie year in recent memory, could make it a foolish assumption to say the Titans are going to be able to control this game.
Put it all together, and that over/under number looks a little low.
A few other wagering thoughts
Will the Titans take a page out of the Browns book and come out throwing? If that’s something you might be leaning toward, then a first quarter over bet could be in the cards. It currently sits at 10.5, a high number to be sure, but one that can evaporate if the Titans decide to air it out early.
Also notable: Henry has failed to hit 100 yards on the ground in two of the last three meetings with the Jaguars. If Ryan Tannehill sees the Jags defense selling out to stop Henry, the idea of “leaning on the pass” might turn into “over 40 attempts for Tannehill,” which would obviously mean big days for A.J. Brown and/or Corey Davis.
One thing, however, stands out above all else: the uncertainty surrounding this Jekyll and Hyde Titans team. Tread lightly
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