Cincy’s Good Shot To Take Down Titans
As the AFC’s No. 1 seed, the Tennessee Titans kick off their playoff run Saturday afternoon. They host the upstart Cincinnati Bengals, who are coming off an impressive but tight 26-19 win over the Las Vegas Raiders in the wild-card round last weekend. The Titans were able to sit back and relax with a much-needed bye last week as they anxiously await the game status of superstar running back Derrick Henry. Henry hasn’t played since Week 8 with an injured foot.
Coach Mike Vrabel’s team ended the regular season playing great football betting. Even without Henry, the Titans won their last three games (four-of-five) to earn their perch. That turned out to be very beneficial, giving Tennessee a week off, but subsequently pairing it with the explosive Bengals. Cincinnati ended the season hot and may have the most talented skill-position group in the NFL.
The NFL betting lines have the Titans as a 3½ point home favorites.
Bengals vs. Titans AFC Divisional Playoffs Odds by BetUs
|Bengals||+3½ ( -110 )||47½ ( -110 )||+155|
|Titans||-3½ ( -110 )||47½ ( -110 )||-185|
Weather Won’t Be A Huge Scoring Impediment
A balmy, 36-degree forecast in Nashville Saturday afternoon with no significant precipitation means scoring shouldn’t be impacted by the elements. It isn’t a particularly big ‘request’ for six touchdowns in the game, especially with the likelihood Henry gives it a go for the Titans. Even if he’s not at 100 percent, the over 5½ touchdowns bet at +115 is a smart move here,
We all know how dynamic the Bengals’ offense is, but the Raiders did a good job limiting Cincinnati, particularly on the ground. While the Titans could do that to Joe Mixon as well -Tennessee had the second-best rushing defense in the NFL this season-it’s going to be really hard for the home team to slow down quarterback Joe Burrow. The Titans allowed the third-most pass attempts and the eighth-most passing yards in the league, so Burrow could have a field day through the air.
If you’re making NFL predictions, expect a lot of points (and touchdowns) to be scored in this one. Both teams have solid overall defenses, but the offenses should rule the day.
Pick: Over 5½ Total TDs (+115)
Could Be A Few Long TD Plays
Between Henry and A.J. Brown for the Titans, along with Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins for the Bengals, some of the fastest and most athletic skill-position players in the NFL are in this game. So, it also could be a smart bet to take the over for the longest touchdown (41½ yards) scored in the game.
Henry is the best runner in the league in terms of difficulty to tackle and ridiculous breakaway speed, meaning he could have a big game against a Cincinnati defense that’s just middle-of-the-pack in yards allowed per carry. The Bengals also have a mediocre pass defense, so Brown should get many targets and could burn Cincy’s secondary over the top for a long score.
The same goes for the Bengals’ weapons. NFL defenses have seen all season what Chase can do if he gets a little space in the open field. Higgins and Mixon aren’t prominent big-play threats, but they both can gaIn yardage quickly with the potential for lengthy touchdowns as well.
Pick: Longest TD Over 41½ Yards (-115)
Cincinnati Should Cover
The Bengals have shown the rest of the league that while young, they can hang with the top teams in the NFL. The Titans are deserved home favorites for this game, but the Bengals should make it close and could even win the game outright, particularly if Henry either doesn’t play or is clearly not close to his usual self.
Cincinnati does have some defensive-line health concerns to consider, as both end Trey Hendrickson (concussion) and defensive tackle Mike Daniels (groin) are questionable with injuries suffered against the Raiders. Hendrickson’s injury really hurts the Bengals’ pass rush, which should play a big role against Temnnessee’s relatively-slow quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.
The Bengals are pretty close to the athleticism of the Titans. The difference in this game will be playoff experience-Tennessee has it on both sides of the ball\, while Cincinnati does not-and, of course, the availability/effectiveness of Henry. With that major question looming over this game, take the Bengals to cover.
Pick: Bengals +3½ (-110)