Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans Week 1 Predictions: Against the Spread, Total and Props
If you like offense, you will likely be intrigued by the season opener between the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans. The game has one of the highest totals of any game in the Week 1 slate, as oddsmakers believe we could be in store for fireworks.
Arizona Cardinals Preview
The Arizona Cardinals finished 8-8 last season, but it could have been a much more successful season if not for their five losses decided by one score. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s seat may be getting a little warm after a 13-18-1 record in two seasons at the helm, which followed a run on two winning seasons in six years as head coach at Texas Tech. Kingsbury will try to lead Arizona to their first winning record since finishing 13-3 in 2015.
For Arizona’s offense, last season was a tale of two halves. Through the first nine weeks of the season, Arizona ranked sixth in points per game, fourth in yards per play, and seventh in EPA per game. However, from weeks 10-17, Arizona ranked 22nd in points per game, 22nd in yards per play, and 24th in EPA per game. That dropoff is one of the biggest reasons why they added veteran wide receiver A.J. Green in the offseason and drafted Purdue’s wide receiver Rondale Moore in the second round of the draft.
Tennessee Titans Preview
The Tennessee Titans won their first division title since 2008 after finishing the regular season 11-5 last year. The formula was familiar as they rode the legs of Derrick Henry to 2,027 yards on the ground, and he took home his second straight rushing title. Though Henry gets much of the credit, Tennessee would not have finished fourth in points per play if not for the consistency of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. His 33 passing touchdowns were a career-high, and he now adds wide receiver Julio Jones as a reliable target.
Tennessee should be in line for a big day on offense, as Arizona ranked 22nd in run defense and allowed 4.6 yards per carry. However, the Titans may choose to attack the Cardinals secondary more, which is littered with inexperienced players. Arizona’s most experienced cornerback is Byron Murphy, who was a second-round pick in 2019. They also have Robert Alford, who did not play in 19-20, Marco Wilson (rookie), Tay Gowan (rookie), and Luq Barco, an undrafted free agent in 2020. That group does not inspire confidence to slow down the likes of A.J. Brown and Julio Jones.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans Betting Predictions
The Titans tended to play high-scoring games at home last year, as overs went 6-1-1 in their eight regular-season home contests. Of those six overs, four games went over the projected total by at least 17 points. To contrast that trend, the under is 8-0 in Arizona’s last eight road games. However, their offense was humming at the beginning of last season, and we trust they will start the 2021 campaign in a similar fashion while doing their part in scoring points in the opener. It is more than enticing to bet this over at 52 points, as it would not be a shock to see this game get into the 60s.
From a spread perspective, it seems that oddsmakers are tempting bettors to lay the -2.5 points with the favored Titans at home. That may be a trap, though, as Arizona is 4-0 ATS in their last four season openers as underdogs. The only thing preventing us from having more confidence in taking the underdog Cardinals is that they have to travel across the country for a 1:00 PM ET start. Arizona finished last season 2-7 ATS in their previous nine games, while Tennessee is 1-5 ATS in their previous six games in September. In addition, the Titans are 1-4 ATS in their last five season openers. Thus, the more trusted play is on the over as two electric offenses face two suspect defenses.
Arizona Cardinals vs Tennessee Titans Picks
- OVER 52
- LEAN AZ +2.5