AFC Playoff Betting: Titans Try to Pull Another Upset vs. Ravens
Last week’s victory for the Tennessee Titans in New England was considered something of an upset, although not by everybody. Critics were forecasting that the Patriots’ “dynasty” was crumbling. So some of the “smart” people from the NFL best betting sites gave Tennessee a good chance.
This week may be a different story. The Baltimore Ravens come into Saturday’s game rested, as they are off a bye week. They have also won 12 games in a row and covered nine of their last 10. They have the top offense in the National Football League. And they have run for more yardage than any other team in league history. This does not bode well for the Titans unless they play one of their very best game of the season.
The AFC Divisional Playoff game starts at 8:15 PM ET in Baltimore. And as BetAnySports customers watch it on CBS, they can also place wagers in real-time using the state-of-the-art software from Sports Betting Ultra.
Baltimore Offense – Simply Awesome
It seems a foregone conclusion that Lamar Jackson is going to be the league’s Most Valuable Player. Not only has he set an all-time record for rushing yards by a quarterback, but he led the league in touchdown passes as well. He is one of two 1000-yard rushers for the Ravens. And they both happen to be Heisman Trophy winners (Mark Ingram being the other).
Baltimore scored a staggering 64 touchdowns from scrimmage this season. And Jackson worked the medium-range passing game masterfully. Three of his top five receivers are tight ends. But at the same time, that brings up a question. Can he throw the ball down the field with consistency, if the opposition forces them to do that?
Tennessee Defense – A Big Task on Saturday
Naturally, the Titans’ defense has to find some way to contain Jackson and prevent him from running wild. Of course, that may leave Ingram with a lot of openings. But we would not be surprised if defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who held that job at the Ravens at one time, locked down on the tight ends and made Jackson throw the ball a distance. He was just 20th in the league in “air yards” this season. That means he much preferred to keep the routes short.
One thing that has to be noted about the Titans is that in terms of allowing touchdowns in red zone situations, they were the second most permissive team (on a percentage basis). And Jackson has 24 touchdown passes without an interception on red zone trips this year.
Here are the numbers…..
In the AFC playoff betting odds on this game, the Ravens are laying nearly double digits:
|Titans||+10 (-112)||47½ (-111)||+357|
|Ravens||-10 (-108)||47½ (-109)||-459|
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Baltimore Defense – Big Strides Made
Things were little shaky in the Baltimore secondary in the early part of the season, but acquiring cornerback Marcus Peters was a big plus. Peters was let go by the Rams when they acquired Jalen Ramsey. And what he gave the Ravens was a true shutdown corner, who made the job easier for guys like like Jimmy Smith, for example. With Earl Thomas back there at safety, you get a pretty solid secondary there.
It is possible, however, that Baltimore can be penetrated on the ground. When it comes to holding the opposition to no gain or a loss on running plays, they are just 16th in the league. And they only have 36 quarterback sacks, although Tennessee’s offensive line is the NFL’s worst at pass blocking. Please note that the Ravens gave up only 29 touchdowns from scrimmage.
Tennessee Offense — The Legend of Tannehill & Henry
In the seventh game of the season, head coach Mike Vrabel made the decision to bench Marcus mariota, who was getting sacked too much and couldn’t make plays, and replaced him with Ryan Tannehill, who had come from Miami in a trade. Tannehill had a season that was simply sensational. He led the National Football League in yards per attempt and yards per completion. He was also the league leader in quarterback rating, compiling, in fact, the fifth highest number ever. He was deadly just about everywhere. Tannehill averaged 14.3 yards per attempt working off play action. He was 69.6% accurate against the blitz. And Tennessee was a simply sizzling 87% in scoring touchdowns in the red zone with him in charge.
Derrick Henry, yet another Heisman winner, became an absolute beast in the season’s second half. He was a little sluggish in the beginning, and under-used. But over the last seven games, he ran for over 1000 yards. If he isn’t stopped completely by the Ravens, Tannehill should be able to work his play action.
It is true that Tennessee will have to stiffen up in the red zone a little. And they were one of the five most generous teams to opposing tight ends the season. Those are just two of the fundamental advantages Baltimore has in this matchup.
But consider that the Ravens traded on very fast starts this season, outscoring opponents by 97 points in the first quarter. After having three weeks since his last game, Jackson might be faced with having to adjust quickly. We say that acknowledging that the Titans may demand that he do something different to beat them. That might eat into the “fast start.” .
If you look at the kind of team Tennessee is RIGHT NOW, they really aren’t the people you want to overlook. And they are better than this number. Therefore, we see value in taking the points.
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