To take down the New England Patriots on their home field last week, the Tennessee Titans required an impressive performance from its running game. To make Titans playoff betting pay off this week, they need more of the same.
Running back Derrick Henry and his teammates on the offensive line have to take over if Tennessee is to pull off its second consecutive road playoff win. The host Baltimore Ravens will move on instead if Henry’s output is anything less than dominant.
Titans playoff betting comes down to who runs wild
If either Henry or Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson gets loose against the opposing defense, that team will likely win Saturday night’s divisional-round playoff contest. Both players are the strengths of their offenses.
Juan Carlos Blanco of The Lines points out that the Titans’ defense has been vulnerable to fleet-footed quarterbacks this season. Quarterbacks average 4.11 yards per carry against Tennessee so far.
There’s no greater way to contain Jackson than to keep him on the sidelines. That’s where Henry and the Tennessee running game come in.
That group showed up big time in the Titans’ win over New England, rushing for 182 yards on the home field of the defense that came into the contest as the stingiest against the run. Fans shouldn’t assume a repeat performance, however.
The Ravens will load the box and try to force Tennessee to move the ball with the passing game. That would play right into Baltimore’s strength, as its defense is better against the pass.
If the Titans can get Henry into triple-digits again, their chances look good. That would not only shorten the game but could work out well for some bettors too.
A generous spread and total for this game at sportsbooks
As of Friday, Jan. 10, a consensus spread on this game sat at Baltimore at -9.5 points, with Tennessee as the underdog. The total at DraftKings, which operates in nearby Mississippi, was 47.
That situation suits the Titans just fine. Tennessee is 6-3 against the spread on the road so far this season.
To make taking the Titans with the points even more enticing, Baltimore was just 4-4 ATS in home games during this past regular season. There are similarly convincing stats on the under.
The under went 4-4 in Ravens’ home games and 4-5 in Tennessee road games. Both defenses were unforgiving to opponents’ scoring chances in the upcoming venue as well.
The Ravens allowed just 18.6 points per game at home. At the same time, Tennessee gave up a mere 17.6 points on average as the road team.
If the Titans’ game plan to control the clock works out, that makes the under in this game even more likely. While it’s still possible for Baltimore to cover in a low-scoring contest, a winning margin of more than a touchdown is rare when both teams only have a few possessions.
If the Titans move on to face the winner of the other AFC divisional playoff game, Henry could be the big reason why. It will certainly take a big performance from the running back to beat the heavily favored Ravens.