A Titans team with everything to play for takes on a Jacksonville team with nothing to lose in this contest.
The Titans would win the AFC South by running the table over the final four weeks, but even one defeat could prove too costly, as the 8-4 Colts are tied with Tennessee now. The Titans' tiebreaker edge is based on division record, which means Sunday's game against AFC South foe Jacksonville is that much more significant.
Here's what the betting data says.
Moneyline: 73.1% of bets have been on the Titans to win
Had the Titans not been thrashed last week at home by Cleveland, it might have been tempting to go with the Jaguars here. Tennessee would have been coming off three straight wins over quality opponents – Baltimore, Indy and Cleveland – and might have been looking past a Jacksonville team that has lost 11 straight contests. But the Browns didn't do the Jaguars any favors by hammering the Titans last week – overwhelming Tennessee in a first half that finished with Cleveland ahead 38-7. Much of the talk from the Titans this week has understandably centered on getting off to a quick start and not overlooking opponents, even if they haven't won since the opening week of the season – as is the case with Jacksonville. With so much on the line for the Titans, I have to believe they'll come out eager to wash away last weekend's memory. They've won six of the last seven meetings against the Jaguars, so I think they're a safe bet to make it seven-of-eight.
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Spread Odds
Spread: 54.6% of bets have been on the Titans -7 points
Convinced as I am the Titans will win this game, I'm not so sure I'd jump in on Tennessee covering the spread. Sure, as noted above, the Titans have much more motivation for this contest. But that doesn't necessarily mean we'll see a two-score victory for the visitors on Sunday.
The Titans' weak defense – exploited for 45 points last Sunday – has kept most of the team's games close this season. In fact, six of the Titans' eight wins this season have come by seven points or less. Jacksonville, meanwhile, has been doing a lot of close losing lately. In four of their last five games, the Jaguars have finished within five points of their opponent. The only exception during that stretch was a 27-3 loss to Pittsburgh. The last time these teams met, way back in September, the Jaguars easily could have won before falling 33-30. I suspect we'll see another close game Sunday, so to me, logic dictates not taking the Titans minus seven.
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Total Points Odds
Total points: 51.6% of bets have been on the game going UNDER the total points line of 53.5
I'm a little surprised at the wagering on this one, considering the Titans are averaging 29.9 points per contest – third in the NFL. That number is even bigger when looking at Tennessee's last three games, as the Titans have posted an average of 36.7 points against three good defenses – Indy, Baltimore and Cleveland. The Titans will welcome tight end Jonnu Smith (eight touchdown catches) back to the lineup this week, and the offense overall should have plenty of opportunity to ring up points against a Jacksonville defense that's allowing 29.3 points per contest.
But what about Jacksonville's part of the bargain, you might be saying? While it's true the Jags haven't shown much of a potent offense, it's also true the Titans haven't shown much of an overpowering defense. Jacksonville should manage enough points against a Tennessee defense ranked 25th overall – 28th against the pass – to help the teams combine for at least 54 points. Both teams had trouble stopping one another back in Week Two, when they combined for 63 points. It wouldn't be surprising to see a similar pattern on Sunday.
|Team||ML Odds||Point Spread|
|Tennessee Titans||-335||-7.5 (-110)|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||+290||+7.5 (-110)|