Jaguars-Titans TNF Preview: Even Bad Games Present Betting Value
Reinhold Matay, USA Today Sports. Pictured: TJ Yeldon, Kevin Byard
Betting odds: Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
- Spread: Titans -5
- Over/Under: 37.5
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX/Amazon Prime/NFL Network
>> All odds as of 10:45 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: This is what some folks would call “a game only a bettor could love” because there’s really no reason to watch this over, say, “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.”
At the time of writing, two-thirds of the bets are coming in on the Titans, as clearly the public hasn’t bought into the Cody Kessler Experience. The line had been pretty quiet, sticking around 4/4.5 up until Thursday morning, when it bumped up to 5 (see live betting data here).
Trends to know: The Jaguars shut out the Colts in Week 13. Since 2003, teams that allowed no points the previous week are 43-52-1 (45%) against the spread in their next game.
If the team had a losing record, like the Jags, they are 6-15 ATS. — John Ewing
The Titans and Jaguars rank in the top five in points allowed and in the bottom six in points scored. Oh, and their combined totals for points allowed per game + points scored per game are the two lowest in the NFL.
Sounds like an under play right? Not so fast. When a game features two teams that are scoring and allowing fewer than 21 points per game, the over is 77-54 (+18.5 units), per our Bet Labs data. — Evan Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Jaguars Pass Defense vs. Titans Pass Offense
Marcus Mariota is completing a career-best 68.6% of his passes, but he’s mostly done it by taking the Alex Smith route, throwing into tight windows (defender within one yard or less) at a rate of 12.4%, which ranks 32nd of 36 qualifiers, per Next Gen Stats.
While a high completion percentage may be keeping box-score slander at bay, Mariota’s conservative nature has also led to a pass offense that ranks just 23rd in the league in efficiency, per DVOA.
On the other hand, DVOA rates the Jags as the sixth-most efficient pass defense. Jacksonville not only allows the NFL’s second-lowest catch rate (60.6%), but it also ranks top-10 in limiting opponents’ yards after the catch (5.14; ninth overall).
The Titans’ pass game is also over-reliant on second-year breakout wide receiver Corey Davis, who has accounted for 27% of the team’s targets and 36% of its air yards this season — not ideal against a defense that can counter with Jalen Ramsey or A.J. Bouye on the outside.
Even playing Davis the slot, where first-year offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur has smartly moved the WR for 31% of his snaps, may not provide much respite now that Jags slot corner D.J. Hayden is back. Hayden’s 6.2 yards per target allowed inside is a lot stingier than fill-in Tyler Patmon’s 8.1.
Mariota will almost certainly need to rely on his legs to keep his offense on schedule. Despite his team eking out a 9-6 victory in the first meeting between these divisional rivals back in Week 3, Mariota’s 19 dropbacks produced only 92 yards, or 4.8 net yards per attempt. His seven rushes, though, totaled 51 yards, good for 7.3 a tote. — Chris Raybon
Which team is healthier? Titans
The Jaguars have question marks on both sides of the ball. Defensive tackle Abry Jones (shin), slot corner Tre Herndon (ankle) as well as defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle) are each banged up, but Ramsey (knee) is at least tentatively expected to suit up Sunday.
The offense is dealing with injuries to field-stretcher D.J. Chark (quad) along with offensive tackles Josh Walker (foot, ankle) and Jeremy Parnell (knee).
The only players the Titans could potentially be without include linebacker Derrick Morgan (knee), cornerback Malcolm Butler (quad) and wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (ankle). — Ian Hartitz
DFS edge: Davis has been the heart and soul of the Titans’ pass offense all season, as he’s one of just 20 wide receivers with at least 90 targets after 13 weeks.
Next up is a brutal matchup against a Jaguars defense that has held Davis to 2-34-0, 0-0-0 and 1-4-0 receiving lines in three career matchups. It remains to be seen if Ramsey will shadow Davis, but even if he doesn’t, Bouye is also more than talented enough to make life difficult for Davis wherever he lines up.
Bet to watch: Jaguars +5
The Action Network’s simulations make this number Titans -2.7, suggesting there is value getting the Jags through the key numbers of 3 and 4.
DVOA agrees, with Jacksonville ranking 17th in overall team efficiency, compared to Tennessee at 25. While the Jaguars’ defense isn’t playing at the same level of last season, it still ranks fifth in DVOA compared to the Titans’ 26th-ranked offense.
And with an over/under of only 37.5, the betting market is expecting a low-scoring game, providing another reason to take the points in this matchup. — PJ Walsh
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.