A post-holiday treat arrives Sunday night for Tennessee football fans and online sports bettors: a prime-time Titans game against the NFC’s No. 1 seed with postseason hopes at stake in a storied stadium.
The Titans are a field goal (or slightly more) underdog while visiting the Green Bay Packers. The temps will be in the 20s with a chance for swirling flurries — just the way things are supposed to be at Lambeau Field in late December.
Regardless of weather, it is expected to be the highest-scoring NFL game of the weekend, with the over/under set at 56.5 by two of Tennessee’s online sportsbooks (FanDuel and BetMGM, with FanDuel cutting a vig break at -105 for betting that steep over). DraftKings and TN Action247 both set the points total at a mere 56.
This prediction of explosive entertainment for viewers of the NBC telecast — whether they’ve got bets down or not — comes because the 10-4 Titans are the highest-scoring team in the NFL, with 436 points (31.1 points per game) this year. The Packers, 11-3, are very close behind with 434. (The Kansas Chiefs, who get a lot more attention for their offense than do the Titans, are very, very close behind with 435.)
To take Titans getting 3 or 3.5? Hmmm
DraftKings, BetMGM, and TN Action247 all make Tennessee a 3.5-point underdog, with TN Action247 actually the best play of the three for a Titans bettor as of Wednesday morning by offering the standard -110 vig. BetMGM requires -115 and DraftKings -118.
As veteran sports bettors know, 3 is a key number in football betting lines. And FanDuel lists the Titans as a 3-point underdog (meaning a push, instead of win, if they lose by a field goal), but at reduced juice of -102.
The best moneyline for those believing in a Titans upset is the +160 offered by BetMGM.
Tennessee actually had a better win than the Pack last weekend, easily dispatching the Detroit Lions, 46-25, while Green Bay had a tougher time beating the Carolina Panthers, 24-16. Still, that was the fourth straight win for the Packers, who have clinched the NFC North and are ahead of the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks on the path to securing the NFC’s postseason bye.
The last time these two teams met at Lambeau Field eight years ago, Green Bay won, 55-7. The Titans are hoping for something a little closer this year — something more like what the rival Colts did in nipping the Packers in a 34-31 overtime thriller in Indianapolis a month ago.
Matchup of two QBs having stellar seasons
A lot has changed for the two franchises since 2012, obviously, but there’s been one constant in Green Bay who may remember that game against Tennessee since he threw for 342 yards and three TDs in it and ran for another score.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is having one of his finest seasons and is second in current odds for league MVP. FanDuel has him +400 compared to -400 for Patrick Mahomes.
But statistically, Ryan Tannehill (60/1 for MVP at FanDuel) is not far behind Rodgers.
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Both quarterbacks have terrific receiving options, with Davante Adams (98 catches/1,186 yards/14 TDs) an elite target for Rodgers and the A.J. Brown/Corey Davis tandem leading plenty of choices for Tannehill.
But the Titans have one thing the Packers do not: the NFL’s rushing leader. Derrick Henry now stands at 1,679 yards, still with a chance to become the eighth runner to surpass 2,000 in a season. Green Bay’s Aaron Jones did run for 154 yards against Carolina Saturday during a subpar game for Rodgers, but it’s hard to foresee him matching Henry this week.
It should be noted, however, that the Packers have played in prime time five times already this season, and they have won all five.
Titans still favored to win division
While some divisions, like the Packers’ NFC North, are already decided, there are futures odds offered for competitive ones such as the AFC South.
The Titans and Colts share common records at the top, at 10-4, but a better divisional record at present gives Tennessee a tie-breaker advantage. The Colts are a 1.5-point favorite visiting swooning Pittsburgh Sunday, however, and they have an easier final game, hosting the Jaguars while the Titans visit the Texans.
Even with those caveats, the sportsbooks deem Tennessee the divisional favorite. The best price a bettor can get to back them is the -134 offered by DraftKings, compared to the Colts at +110.
DraftKings also offers the best reward for someone willing to invest in the Titans as a longshot to win the Super Bowl, at 25/1. It has the Packers at +550, behind only the Chiefs, at +170.