Titans vs. Patriots Picks with Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
The late Wild-Card game on Saturday features the AFC No. 6 seed Tennessee Titans visiting the No. 3 seed New England Patriots. Felt weird even typing Wild-Card game and Patriots in the same sentence because this is the first time they have played on that weekend since 2009. Did you know the Patriots have never reached a Super Bowl when they didn't have a first-round bye? That's crazy. Part of the benefit of playing in the crappy AFC East is the Patriots usually have the AFC's best record because they often went 6-0 in their own division.
This the playoff debut as a head coach for Tennessee's Mike Vrabel and fitting it's in New England because Vrabel was a beloved former Patriots linebacker who won three Super Bowl rings. He considers Bill Belichick a mentor.
These franchises met in Foxboro in the Divisional Round following the 2017 season. New England rolled 35-14 and the Titans fired coach Mike Mularkey afterward. Pretty unusual a coach gets fired after leading his team to the postseason. Vrabel, who was Houston's defensive coordinator, replaced him.
New England is a +600 third-favorite to win the AFC title and +1000 to win the Super Bowl. The Titans are +2500 and +4000, respectively.
Titans at Patriots Betting Story Lines
Probably not wise to doubt the Patriots as they have looked vulnerable before entering the playoffs and usually would win a Super Bowl. However, this sure does feel like perhaps the end of the dynasty. There has been some scuttlebutt that this might be Brady's last season there. He plans to keep playing but there have been a few subtle signs that he may want to do it elsewhere. That seems hard to believe.
There's also the fact that Brady will be 43 next August and that he showed major signs of regression this season. We know Belichick would not think twice about moving on from Brady if he thought it was best for the team. Who knows, maybe this is Belichick's last season too. Owner Robert Kraft absolutely loves offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is highly in demand as a head coaching candidate. McDaniels is from Ohio and might take the Browns job if offered. Perhaps Kraft gives Belichick a nice $20 million going away present or something to give McDaniels the top job with the Pats?
New England didn't look Super Bowl-caliber in Sunday's shocking 27-24 home loss to the Miami Dolphins that cost the Patriots a first-round bye. New England closed as high as a 17.5-point favorite at some sportsbooks and at that number it tied the biggest pointspread upset in the past 30 years. In 1995, the Redskins were +17.5 against Dallas and knocked off the Cowboys.
All underdogs of at least 15 points had been 5-116 straight up over the past 30 years. At 16 points or more, they were 0-18. The Fins were +900 on the moneyline. Ryan Fitzpatrick largely had his way with that top-ranked New England defense. The Patriots lost three of their final five games. Kansas City was the beneficiary in stealing the second seed. Prior to this season, the Patriots had been one of three teams from 2010-18 that had not played a Wild-Card game, along with the Bucs (last playoff appearance was 2007) and Browns (last playoff appearance was 2002). No team playing on Wild-Card weekend has advanced to the Super Bowl since the Ravens in 2012.
Tennessee was gifted the AFC's final Wild-Card spot by the Texans as they rested most of their starters - including Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins on Sunday in Houston. The Titans won 35-14 behind 211 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Derrick Henry. He came from well back to win the rushing title by 46 yards over Cleveland's Nick Chubb.
The Titans' season turned around when Vrabel benched Marcus Mariota - he'll be elsewhere next season - for Ryan Tannehill. The former Dolphins' first-round bust took over as starter in Week 7 and has been terrific. Tannehill is going to get paid this winter, either with a new long-term deal with the Titans (presuming) or perhaps by being slapped with the franchise tag. Henry, incidentally, also is set for free agency and the Titans can't put the franchise tag on both.
Titans at Patriots Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes, New England is a 4.5-point favorite (-110) with a total of 43.5. On the moneyline, the Patriots are -230 and Titans +190. On the alternate lines, the Pats are -5 (-105), -4 (-118) and -3.5 (-125). New England is 4-4 against the spread at home and 4-4 "over/under." Tennessee is 5-3 ATS on the road and 5-3 O/U.
The Titans are 5-1-1 ATS in their past seven vs. the AFC. They are 1-7 ATS in their previous eight Saturday games. The Patriots are 9-3 ATS in their past 12 playoff games as favorites. They are 0-3-1 ATS in their past four vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 9-1 in the Titans' past 10 games. The under is 16-5 in the Pats' previous 21 after a loss. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
Titans at Patriots Betting Prediction
Tennessee has lost its past six games at New England by an average of nearly 20 points per. Their last meeting, though, was in Nashville in the 2018 regular season and the Titans rolled in a surprise, 34-10. Mariota (two TDs, no picks) was better than Brady (no TDs) that day. Henry rushed for two scores.
While I don't think the Patriots will win next week in Kansas City, I'm not going against them at home here. New England prevails 24-17 so give the 4.5 points and go under the total.
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