Bengals vs. Titans Odds, Picks, Predictions: How Our Analyst Is Betting Saturday’s Divisional Round Spread
Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals QB Joe Burrow and WR Ja’Marr Chase (left) and Titans RB Derrick Henry and QB Ryan Tannehill (right)
Bengals vs. Titans Odds
|Time||4:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Titans take on the red-hot Bengals in the Divisional Round of the 2022 NFL playoffs this week. Cincinnati has won four straight (not counting Week 18 in which they rested their starters), including wins over the Chiefs and Raiders. The Titans had an easier go of it down the stretch, holding onto the AFC’s top seed with wins over the Dolphins and Texans
This game also likely features the long-awaited return of Derrick Henry. Securing the top seed was crucial for the Titans, as it allowed them to get their star runner back. Henry hasn’t played since Halloween but should be a major boost to the Titans offense.
Oddsmakers have the Titans as slight favorites, as questions about Henry’s effectiveness play a major role in handicapping this game. Will the Titans have enough firepower to keep up with the Bengals’ explosive offense?
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Bengals vs. Titans Injury Report
We’re tracking practice participation and statuses of every player on the Bengals’ and Titans’ injury reports here.
Bengals vs. Titans Matchup
|Bengals Offense||DVOA Rank||Titans Defense|
|Bengals Defense||DVOA Rank||Titans Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Bengals Getting Their Stripes
The Bengals offense finally lived up to its preseason hype down the stretch, with Joe Burrow looking like the next superstar NFL quarterback. He finished the season with the best Adjusted Yards per Attempt of any quarterback in the NFL despite playing behind the league’s 31st-ranked offensive line (by Adjusted Sack Rate).
Of course, throwing to (arguably) the best trio of receivers in the league makes life much easier for a quarterback. Ja’Marr Chase broke the rookie record for receiving yards, Tee Higgins had a great sophomore campaign, and Tyler Boyd continues to be a reliable option in the slot. Chase and Higgins were both top 10 receivers by PFF grade this season, and Boyd ranked a respectable 46th.
The Bengals’ ground game is solid as well, with Joe Mixon ranking third in rushing yards and fourth in rushing touchdowns on the season. Neither unit stands out from a DVOA standpoint, but that’s misleading.
The Bengals offense averaged roughly 26 points through the first half of the season. In the second half (including playoffs, not including Week 18), they’re averaging over 29. This is a team hitting its stride at the perfect time.
Titans Getting Their Star Back
The Titans are hoping they hit their stride at the right time as well, thanks to the return of their top offensive players. Ryan Tannehill only had the trio of Derrick Henry, Julio Jones and AJ Brown available for 11% of his dropbacks this season. He averaged 9.4 yards per attempt during that time — better than Burrow’s league-leading 8.9.
He was fairly mediocre the rest of the time and downright bad with all three missing from the lineup. Fortunately for the Titans, all three should be back in the lineup — though Henry is officially questionable, he got in a full contact practice on Tuesday. They should have no problem putting up points against the 19th-ranked Bengals defense in this one.
Of course, Henry is the real story. He ranks ninth in the NFL in rushing yards despite only playing half a season. The next closest player to play fewer than 10 games ranks 41st.
It’s also a winnable matchup on the defensive side of the ball. The Titans defense is ranked 12th by DVOA, but more importantly Tennessee possesses a solid pass rush. The Titans rank 10th in Adjusted Sack Rate on defense and should be able to get after Joe Burrow behind a bad Bengals line. That limits how long the secondary has to cover Chase, Higgins and Boyd.
Bengals vs. Titans Predictions
The spread suggests these teams are roughly evenly matched. However, the Titans rank seven spots better in defensive DVOA, and only two spots worse in offensive DVOA — despite missing key pieces for most of the year. They also won two more games than the Bengals and have a 7-3 home record.
The week of rest is important for the Titans as well. Cincinnati was able to rest some starters in Week 18, but that’s not the same as having a bye week for the whole team.
This would make the Titans a solid value here, even if their season-long averages were representative of the team. They aren’t though, particularly on offense. I’ll take the Titans -3.5, and I’d bet it down to -4.5 (shop for the best real-time line here).
Pick: Titans -3.5 | Bet to: -4.5
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