Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is an iconic attraction at Disneyland. The Tennesee Titans’ ground game has become just as iconic during this postseason and this NFL betting preview looks at that aspect of the game as well.
The formula for winning the AFC Championship game will mimic Tennessee’s strategy thus far. Keep Kansas City’s explosive offense on its home sidelines and shorten the game with a clock-grinding rushing attack. This game will come down to which team is best able to exploit the other’s weaknesses.
NFL betting preview of the 2020 AFC Championship game
Simply put, if the Titans’ running game has been able to eviscerate the defenses of the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots on their home fields, doing the same in Kansas City should be relatively easier. The question is whether Tennessee will have the opportunity to do so.
Nate Weitzer of The Lines laid out how the Titans’ passing defense has been suspect. If Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce are able to get loose and find the end zone, that could take Tennessee out of its game plan entirely.
On the other hand, it’s easy to make a similar argument for the Titans. Kansas City’s run defense was far from formidable during the regular season and Tennessee running back Derrick Henry already torched it for 188 yards plus two touchdowns. That was on the Titans’ home field and all the way back in Week 10 of the regular season, however.
There’s no better way to limit the Chiefs’ passing attack than to keep it in a spectator role. The determining factor of which team imposes its will may come down to which team wins the opening coin toss.
As that’s not very helpful in terms of how to bet this game, the better angle for bettors might be looking at the overall performances of these teams. Unfortunately, that doesn’t provide a clear direction for wagers on this game either.
Both teams are above average against the spread
Tennessee comes into this game 7-3 against the spread on the road. The Titans are also 6-4 ATS after a win and 5-3 ATS as an underdog.
Kansas City also boasts a strong track record ATS, however. The Chiefs are 9-4-1 ATS when listed as the favorite this season and 9-3-1 ATS against other AFC teams.
DraftKings, which operates in Mississippi and may someday do the same in Tennessee, puts the Titans as 7.5-point dogs on this game as of Jan. 13. If Kansas City is able to force the Titans to play catch up, it’s possible the Chiefs cover. However, that spread is too generous if Tennessee can keep Mahomes on the sideline.
The current point total of 52 is worth a look as well. The Titans’ defense has been stingy in road games this year, allowing just 17.3 points per game. The under is 5-5 in away games for Tennessee.
At the same time, the under has prevailed in five of the last seven Chiefs games, last Sunday’s high-scoring bout being an obvious exception. If any team seems primed to make that six of the last eight, however, it’s Tennessee. If Mr. Henry’s Wild Ride continues on into Super Bowl LIV, it’s a good bet that the under will hit again.