Tennessee Titans (3-6) at Miami Dolphins (4-4)
Jake Locker returns this week for the Titans. It’s amazing. It’s almost as if his shoulder magically healed as soon as veteran backup Matt Hasselbeck had a bad game. Locker has more upside definitely and is the right quarterback for this team right now, because they’re not going anywhere fast and need to get the young former 1st rounder some experience. However, I don’t know if he’s really an upgrade over Hasselbeck short term. Hasselbeck was doing pretty well up until last week and overall this year, he completed 62.7% of his passes for an average of 6.2 YPA, 7 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. Locker has yet to show himself to be better than that.
What Locker does inherit, however, is a team in a good situation, contrary to popular belief. The Titans got destroyed last week, but it was kind of a fluky loss. They got down big before they knew what hit them thanks to special teams blunders and turnovers, allowing 28 points off a pick six, a blocked punt, a fumble, and a long punt return.
Teams off a big loss like that do pretty well the following week. Dogs are 55-27 ATS since 2002 coming off a loss of 31+ or more as a dog. Teams tend to be embarrassed, undervalued, and playing for pride off a loss like that and that should be especially true for the Titans since owner Bud Adams flipped out after the loss and basically said anyone could lose their job. Meanwhile, this line has shifted one point, from -5 to -6, after Tennessee’s loss, a sign that they’re undervalued even though, in reality, it was several fluky blunders that doomed them, not anything to do with their talent level. This line movement also happened in spite of Miami losing as road favorites in Indianapolis.
Speaking of Miami losing as road favorites in Indianapolis, teams are 24-35 ATS as home favorites of 3+ off a loss as road favorites since 2002. Meanwhile, Miami hosts divisional Buffalo on Thursday Night next week, something that could distract them. Favorites just 23-35 ATS before a divisional Thursday Night game since 1989, 14-23 ATS before being divisional favorites.
We are getting some line value with the Dolphins. The yards per play differential method gives us a real line of -5 and the rate of sustaining drives differential method gives us a real line of -9.5 and when you average those out, it’s higher than the -6 this line is in actuality. The Titans have gotten blown out an awful lot this year and have the league’s worst points differential, worse than Kansas City, worse than divisional Jacksonville, worse than anyone. However, that’s more of just a reason why this isn’t a big play than why I’m not taking Tennessee. I like the spot the Titans are in and I don’t think Miami is a team that’s built to consistently blow people out.
Public lean: Miami (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if Tennessee covers)
Sharps lean: TEN 8 MIA 3
Final update: No change.
Miami Dolphins 20 Tennessee Titans 17
Pick against spread: Tennessee +6 (-110) 2 units