Our Favorite Titans vs. Ravens Betting Picks for Saturday Night’s Divisional Round Showdown
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson
- Our experts reveal how they're betting Saturday's NFL Divisional Round matchups.
- Find their picks on the Titans vs. Ravens spread as well as Derrick Henry and Hayden Hurst props.
The NFL’s Divisional Round kicks off Saturday with a pair of matchups between the AFC’s and NFC’s 6- and 1-seeded teams.
Luckily, our experts are here to guide you through their picks for both games:
- No. 6 Vikings at No. 1 49ers: 4:35 p.m. ET
- No. 6 Titans at No. 1 Ravens: 8:15 p.m. ET
Let’s dig into their favorite bets, featuring spreads and over/unders as well as props.
NFL Divisional Round Betting Picks: Vikings-49ers & Titans-Ravens
Odds as of Saturday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Chris Raybon: 49ers -7 vs. Vikings
Despite the trends working against them, I like the 49ers here. Why? Two words: Kirk Cousins.
No, this isn’t about Cousins’ poor track record in games that start after 1 p.m. ET — though it is, in fact, mind-bogglingly poor at 11-25 straight-up and 12-24 against the spread, per Bet Labs.
It’s all based on X’s and O’s.
The key to neutralizing the Vikings’ pass game is getting pressure on Cousins without blitzing, something the 49ers excel at.
According to Pro Football Reference, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh called blitzes at the fourth-lowest rate (20.9%), yet his defense tied for second in pressure rate (28,7%). This blueprint was laid out most recently by the Packers in Week 16, when they blitzed Cousins just once on 36 dropbacks but still got pressure 47.2% of the time, resulting in a listless 16-of-31, 122-yard performance as the offense was held to 10 points.
Even with the win over the Saints, the Vikings are only 2-4 SU and ATS against teams that finished better than .500, with Cousins struggling mightily against organic pressure in each loss.
The 49ers not only boast a ferocious front four led by Joey Bosa, but also the second-best pass coverage unit in the league according to Pro Football Focus grades. Being able to hold up in coverage will afford the 49ers the luxury of honing in on Dalvin Cook on early downs, which also throws the Vikings off their playaction game, in which Cousins is most comfortable.
In addition to a defense that allowed a league-best 4.8 nets yards per dropback, the 49ers also boast the NFL’s second-highest scoring offense (29.2 PPG). Mike Zimmer’s defense is no slouch, either, ranking fifth in points allowed (18.9) — and I don’t expect Jimmy Garoppolo to play a clean game in his first playoff start. But with ample time to prepare, Kyle Shanahan is sure to have a few creative tricks up his sleeve, namely on early downs, where the Vikings rank just 24th in passing success rate allowed (51%) and 32nd in rushing success rate allowed (55%) (per Sharp Football Stats).
The bye is generally overrated, but there are some situational factors that make me wary of the Vikings on a short week:
- Cousins lost valuable practice time with both Stefon Diggs (illness) and Adam Thielen (ankle) during the week, while offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski took time away to interview for Cleveland’s head coaching gig on Thursday.
- The Vikings have a tendency to struggle outdoors, failing to cover in 4-of-6 outdoor games this season and 7-of-9 dating back to last season, including their past five as an underdog.
- The 49ers are 5-2 SU and ATS this season against teams that finished with a winning record, and a lot of factors point toward each of those marks improving to 6-2 by Saturday evening.
Pick: 49ers -7
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Sean Zerillo: George Kittle Under 77.5 Receiving Yards (-112)
The Vikings allowed 49.1 yards per game to opposing tight ends this season — only the 11th-best mark in the NFL — but no defense was more efficient at guarding the position.
Per Sports Info Solutions, opposing passers had a 58.92 Total QBR when targeting their tight ends against the Vikings, the best mark in the NFL. The closest defense to Minnesota in QBR vs. tight ends was Kansas City (86.82), and the 27.7-point gap between first and second was more significant than the difference between the second-ranked Chiefs and the 29th-ranked Bengals (112.81).
Minnesota’s defense finished first against the position by both points saved (58.9) and expected points allowed (-20.6) while ranking third in positive play rate (48%) and second in yards per attempt (6.14).
The Vikings also have six of the top-seven individual defensive leaders by expected points allowed to tight ends, as Mackensie Alexander (-18.5), Harrison Smith (-17), Eric Kendricks (-16.6) and Anthony Harris (-14.7) occupy the top-four spots.
George Kittle is arguably the best player at his position, but this likely represents his most difficult matchup of the season.
We’re projecting Kittle for 72.9 receiving yards; I would bet the Under down to 75.
Zerillo is 294-217-11 (57.5%) overall betting on the NFL. Follow his picks in our free app.
Matthew Freedman: Titans +9.5 at Ravens
The Ravens are the best team in the NFL, but the Titans are no pushover.
Since Ryan Tannehill became the starter, they are 7-3-1 against the spread, good for a 35.4% return on investment.
Their splits with him are notable.
- Tannehill’s starts (11 games): 29.5 points scored, +5.6 point differential
- Other starts (six games): 16.3 points scored, +1.0 point differential
On top of that, in the entire history of our Bet Labs database (since 2003), Divisional Round road underdogs have a 36-24-1 ATS record (16.3% ROI), perhaps because bettors have overvalued home-field advantage and the bye week for the favored teams.
Lamar Jackson has been sensational for the Ravens, and it would be a true upset if he weren’t the NFL MVP, but he’s by no means a guarantor of success.
Road underdogs are 8-3 ATS (40.6% ROI) against the Ravens in Jackson’s starts.
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Pick: Titans +9.5
Freedman is 563-440-22 (56.1%) overall betting on the NFL. Follow his picks in our free app.
Sean Koerner: Derrick Henry’s Longest Rush 10-19 Yards (+152)
PointsBet is offering a fun market for Henry’s longest rush with odds for various bands such as 0-9, 10-19, 20-29, 30-plus. I crunched the numbers to project the odds of each bucket hitting.
The 10-19 yards bucket hit 48.8% of the time in my sims, as his median is 18 yards for the longest rush. The +152 odds for this band is definitely offering enough value to warrant a bet.
Koerner is 190-135-3 (58.5%) overall betting on the NFL. Follow his picks in our free app.
Zerillo: Hayden Hurst Over 15.5 Receiving Yards (-126)
Remember when the Ravens selected Hurst seven spots ahead of Jackson in the 2018 NFL Draft? Yes, they did that — and it feels like a lifetime ago.
But Hurst’s presence could prove extremely valuable against the Titans defense, which has struggled when seeing multiple tight ends in their opponent’s formations.
The Titans permitted a 133.78 Total QBR (31st) to tight ends when opponents lined up with exactly two, suitable for -2.6 points saved (30th) on 8.75 yards per attempt.
The Ravens targeted their tight ends on 81 dropbacks — second to only the Eagles (154) — when lining up with two tight ends, and Jackson was nearly flawless when targeting a tight end on plays with two or more at his disposal: 68-84 (80.9%), 859 yards and seven touchdowns.
Hurst has recorded 14 targets in his past five games, compared to 12 for starter Nick Boyle, who plays the majority of snaps while deployed as a blocker.
Baltimore’s other tight end, leading receiver Mark Andrews, has turned in limited practices all week and is listed as questionable, meaning that Hurst should continue to see a role in the passing game even if Andrews plays.
We’re projecting Boyle for 20.1 receiving yards, and Hurst for 21.1, so there’s actionable value in betting the over for both players — and especially if Andrews is inactive.