Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers: 2018 Week 7 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (3-3) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) in London

Typically, I love going against significant week-to-week line movement, as it tends to be an overreaction to a single week of play. This line moved the most of any of the lines this week, going from Chargers -3 to Chargers -6.5 in this neutral site game in London. It’s not hard to figure out why, as the Chargers won 38-14 in Cleveland last week, while the Titans were shutout at home by the Ravens in a 21-0 loss.

I still think it’s a little bit of an overreaction though. The Chargers could wind up being a contender in the AFC, but their defense isn’t the same without Joey Bosa, who continues to be out. The Titans, meanwhile, have not played well in the past couple of weeks, but they still have a strong defense and won games against the Eagles and Jaguars earlier this season, so I have a hard time figuring out how the Chargers are 6.5 points better than them as currently constructed. I have this line calculated at -3.5, so we’re getting significant line value with the underdog.

There are two reasons this isn’t a bigger play though. For one, the Chargers always tend to play well away from home, which makes sense, as they have next to no homefield advantage. They are 31-19-3 ATS on the road since 2012, including 6-3-2 ATS since moving to Los Angeles last season. The second reason is that big favorites tend to cover in neutral site games, as they tend to be better prepared and have the crowd on their side. Favorites of 4+ are 13-1 ATS all-time in neutral site games. There could easily be more Chargers fans at this game than a typical game in Los Angeles, though you can definitely argue the Chargers don’t deserve to be favorites of 4+. It’s not a big bet on Tennessee, but we’re getting too much line value to pass on here.

Los Angeles Chargers 24 Tennessee Titans 20

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +6.5

Confidence: Medium

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans: 2018 Week 6 NFL Pick

Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at Tennessee Titans (3-2)

After pulling an upset at home against the defending champion Eagles week 4, the Titans turned around and lost in upset fashion in Buffalo last week. That seems surprising at first glance, but both games were close and easily could have gone the other way. On top of that the Titans were in a much better spot against Philadelphia than they were against Buffalo and understandably played a better game as a result. While they were completely focused at home for the Eagles with an easy game on deck, their game in Buffalo was a trap game, sandwiched between that tough overtime win and another big home game, this game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Even after last week’s overtime loss in Cleveland, the Ravens come in with a solid record at 3-2. They’re a little overrated though. Their offense is improved over last season, but largely by default and, while their defense continues to dominate statistically, their stats have been buoyed by an easy schedule, as they’ve faced 7 backup quarterbacks over the past 2 seasons are just 4-9 in their other 13 games. None of this is to say they are a bad team. With an improved offense, the Ravens have wins over a pair of decent teams in the Broncos and Steelers this season, but they also have road losses in Cincinnati and Cleveland and are not as good as this line suggests, as they are favored by 2.5 points in Tennessee.

I have these two teams about equal. Both teams have underwhelming offenses, but strong defenses. That would suggest this line should be 3 points in favor of the Titans, so we’re getting good line value with the host. The Titans probably won’t be a popular bet this week because of their loss last week, which is probably a big part of why this line is where it is, but, again, that was a terrible spot and they could have easily won, especially if they didn’t lose Taylor Lewan to a foot injury early in the game (he was listed not on the injury report this week). With wins over the Jaguars and Eagles already on their resume, I don’t think that loss should hurt them that much. This would be a bigger bet if this line creeps back up to 3, but even as 2.5 point underdogs the Titans are worth a bet.

Tennessee Titans 20 Baltimore Ravens 17 Upset Pick +120

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +2.5

Confidence: Medium

Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills: 2018 Week 5 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (3-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-3)

The Titans pulled off an upset win over the Eagles in overtime last week, but they are not nearly in as good of a spot this week. Last week, they only had this easy game against the Bills on deck, while the Eagles had an NFC Championship rematch with the Vikings on deck. This week, the Titans have a much tougher game at home against the Ravens up next. The Titans are 1 point home underdogs in that game on the early line and road favorites tend to struggle before being home underdogs, going 20-40 ATS since 2012.

I know it’s only one point and that line could easily change, but the logic still makes sense. Sandwiched in between a big overtime win over the defending Super Bowl champions and another big game against a possible division winner, the Titans could overlook the Bills a little bit. We’ve also lost a lot of line value with the Titans as a result of their win last week, with this line moving from 3 to 5.5 in favor of the Titans.

All of that being said, I’m still taking the Titans in this one. The Bills are arguably the worst team in the NFL and should only be picked unless you’re getting great line value with them, which is not the case this week, even with the line movement. The Titans are a solid team now that they’re healthy, with quarterback Marcus Mariota and the stud offensive tackle duo Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin returning from injury in recent weeks, and could easily beat the Bills by a touchdown or more even if they don’t play their best game on the road.

Tennessee Titans 20 Buffalo Bills 13

Pick against the spread: Tennessee -5.5

Confidence: None

Philadelphia Eagles at Tennessee Titans: 2018 Week 4 NFL Pick

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) at Tennessee Titans (2-1)

Both of these teams are getting healthier. The Eagles got Carson Wentz back from an ACL tear last week, while his #1 receiver Alshon Jeffery looks likely to make his season debut this week, after off-season shoulder surgery. The Eagles are also getting Jay Ajayi back from a game and a half absence with a back injury, though their defense remains without Timmy Jernigan (out for the first 6 weeks on the PUP) and is now without safety Rodney McLeod with a knee injury, although replacement Corey Graham is experienced and has played well in limited action this season.

The Titans, meanwhile, got left tackle Taylor Lewan back last week from a one game absence with a concussion and his bookend right tackle Jack Conklin will make his season debut this week, after missing the first 3 games of the season recovering from an ACL tear. Lewan and Conklin have been arguably the best offensive tackle duo in the NFL when healthy. Marcus Mariota will also make his first start since week 1, though he did play last week after Blaine Gabbert got concussed.

Mariota might not be 100% with his elbow injury and he has never proven he can play well while hurt, but he should be improved over last week after a full week of practice and even at less than 100% he’s an improvement over Gabbert, especially with his full offensive line in front of him. The Titans’ defense has been strong so far this season, allowing the 6th lowest first down rate at 31.25%. If their offense can take a step forward now that they’re healthier (currently 30th in first down rate at 28.42%), the Titans could easily be a solid team going forward.

As 3.5 point home underdogs, I think we’re getting some line value with the Titans, who are also in a great spot with only a trip to Buffalo on deck. Home underdogs tend to cover before easy road games, going 36-18 ATS since 2012 before being road favorites. The Titans should be completely focused this week, while the Eagles may have one eye on an NFC Championship rematch with the Vikings next week. This isn’t a big play, but the Titans should be able to keep this one close at home.

Philadelphia Eagles 24 Tennessee Titans 23

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +3.5

Confidence: Medium

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2018 Week 3 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)

This is probably the toughest game of the week to pick. A line is posted at Jacksonville -10, but we won’t know until tomorrow if Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota will be healthy enough to play, after missing last week and being limited all week in practice with a nerve injury in his elbow. If Mariota plays, this 10 point line is probably way too big, although Mariota has struggled when he’s tried to play through injuries in the past.

If Mariota doesn’t play and Blaine Gabbert starts against the Jaguars, this line is pretty appropriate. The Jaguars don’t have any upcoming distractions, with only a home game against the Jets on deck, and favorites of 7+ are 49-29 ATS since 2014 before being favorites of 7+ again, so they could easily take care of business against an inferior Tennessee team starting a backup quarterback. I’m taking the Titans for now on the off change Mariota can play and keep this one close, but I may change my pick in the morning if Mariota is ruled out.

Jacksonville Jaguars 23 Tennessee Titans 14

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +10

Confidence: None

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans: 2018 Week 2 NFL Pick

Houston Texans (0-1) at Tennessee Titans (0-1)

The Titans had a pretty terrible week 1, not just losing in Miami against the kind of team they should beat, but also having quarterback Marcus Mariota, tight end Delanie Walker, and left tackle Taylor Lewan go down with injuries. Walker is out for the year with a broken ankle, Lewan is out for at least this week with a concussion, and, while Mariota is expected to play, he is at less than 100% with an elbow injury and may rotate with backup Blaine Gabbert, who was predictably horrendous in Mariota’s absence last week.

Not only do I expect Gabbert to struggle if he has to play, but Mariota has never shown the ability to play well while injured in the past. Whoever plays quarterback will also have to deal with the absence of one of the best pass catching tight ends in the league and the absence of arguably the top starting offensive tackle duo in football, as Lewan joins right tackle Jack Conklin on the sidelines, with Conklin still rehabbing from a torn ACL.

All that being said, I am not confident in the Texans as 3 point road favorites in this one. Deshaun Watson did not look like the same quarterback in his return from a torn ACL in the Texans’ week 1 road loss to the Patriots and the Titans have a solid defense, especially with their top-2 draft picks Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry returning after missing week 1 with injury. The Titans have enough pass rush to give this weak Houston offensive line trouble all day and put Deshaun Watson in more tough throwing situations. The Texans should be able to win, but this might not be that easy.

Houston Texans 20 Tennessee Titans 16

Pick against the spread: Houston -3

Confidence: None

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins: 2018 Week 1 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (0-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-0)

The Titans made the post-season last season, but they were a major disappointment. On paper, they looked like one of the better teams in the AFC, but snuck into the post-season with just 9 wins, despite a 6-4 record in games decided by a touchdown or less and arguably the easiest schedule in the NFL. They managed to pull the upset in Kansas City in their first playoff game, but made the wise decision to let go of head coach Mike Mularkey regardless of the playoff win. Mularkey’s offensive scheme seemed to hold the Titans’ offensive players back, while new head coach Mike Vrabel brings an innovative young offensive mind with him in ex-Falcons and Rams quarterback coach Matt LaFleur, who will be their offensive coordinator. With a new coaching staff, this team could easily make the leap forward that many were expecting from them last season.

The Dolphins, on the other hand, look like one of the worst teams in the league. They get quarterback Ryan Tannehill back from injury, but lost their best offensive player (Jarvis Landry) and their best defensive player (Ndamukong Suh) this off-season and were not a good team to begin with. They went 6-10 last season and were even worse than that suggests, as their 6 wins came by a combined 47 points, while their 10 losses came by a combined 159 points, giving them a point differential of -112, 29th in the NFL. The Titans enter this game pretty banged up with right tackle Jack Conklin, outside linebacker Harold Landry, and middle linebacker Rashaan Evans out, which is the only reason this isn’t my Pick of the Week, but the Titans should still be favored by at least a field goal in this one and I like their chances of winning fairly easily.

Tennessee Titans 24 Miami Dolphins 17

Pick against the spread: Tennessee -1

Confidence: High