NFL Wild Card Betting Preview and Picks: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
It’s time for the NFL Playoffs. There are eight teams in action on Wild Card Weekend, with two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday. That provides all of us sports bettors out there with a lot of postseason betting action to enjoy. The second game on Saturday, January 4, 2020, sees the Tennessee Titans take on the New England Patriots. Here’s a look at the odds, a betting preview of the game, and some of our best bets.
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-5)
Saturday, January 4, 2020, at 8:15 p.m. ET
The New England Patriots are playing on Wild Card Weekend for the first time since 2009 because they suffered a shocking home loss to the Miami Dolphins last week. For their disappointing performance, they are rewarded with a feisty Tennessee Titans team, led by coach Mike Vrabel, who has a long history with the Patriots.
Will Ryan Tannehill be the quarterback that officially ends the Patriots dynasty, or will New England live to fight another day? Let’s break it down.
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Derrick Henry Continues To Dominate
The main reason that Tannehill has enjoyed so much success is because of the pressure relieved by the production of running back Derrick Henry. Henry ran for more than 100 yards in five of his last six contests, peaking last week in a 32-carry, 211-yard, 3-touchdown performance over the division rival Houston Texans. Henry will need to be at his best this week, as the Patriots still have the No. 2 passing defense in the league according to yards per game.
Knowing this, Bill Belichick will focus on stopping the run, stacking the box early and often to try to force Tannehill to beat them through the air. Even with their huge edge in experience, it’s hard to have much confidence in this Patriots team the way they have been looking.
What Happened To the Patriots Defense?
Tom Brady and this offense that is lacking weapons has struggled all season long, but their ineptitude has been more amplified in recent weeks now that the defense seems to have lost a step or two. They still lead the league in points allowed per game, at just over 14 points, but that includes their last five games, when they’ve allowed 27, 17, 13, 23, and 28. Perhaps more importantly, the defense isn’t creating big turnovers and touchdowns like they were earlier in the season.
This leaves us wondering if the Patriots defense will be able to stop Henry and company, even when they know what the Titans will want to do against them. Despite all of the negatives surrounding the Patriots, we have to take a step back and remind ourselves that this is still Foxboro in January.
Best Point Spread Pick: Patriots (-5)
There’s little doubt that the Patriots run of four straight Super Bowl appearances will be coming to an end this year. If they win this game, they’ll have to go to Arrowhead to face the Kansas City Chiefs and then likely to Baltimore to take on the Ravens after that. It’s viewed as simply too tall of a task for this year’s version of the Patriots. However, they should have enough firepower, and more importantly, enough intimidation factor to be able to handle this young, inexperienced Titans team, regardless of what might happen next.
If Tennessee is able to keep their young core together, they will likely be a title contender next year. However, the Patriots will bully the Titans around this time, so go with old reliable one more time.
Best Over/Under Pick: Under 44.5
The Titans might have a playmaking defense, but surprisingly, they are 10-6 on the over this season. That young defense will be flying out there on Saturday, but so will the New England defense. Combine that with the fact that both offenses are fairly one dimensional, the run for the Titans and the pass for the Patriots, and we expect both defenses to dominate. We will gladly take the under in this one.
Best Player Prop: Sony Michel Over 62.5 Rushing Yards
After struggling all season long, Sony Michel seems to have rounded into form, logging 74, 96, and 89 yards in the last three New England contests. The strength of the Titans defense is their young, playmaking secondary, so look for Brady to hand the ball off all night long. Knowing Belichick, he will likely roll out Rex Burkhead for most of the game, but assuming Michel is the bell-cow back, he should reach this number for the fourth straight week.