NFL Week 3 Betting Pick: Will Titans Cover as Small Favorite vs. Jags?
Week 2 Recap: The Vikings and Eagles had their opportunities to beat and/or cover versus the Packers and Falcons last week, respectively, but alas fell short. Fortunately the Seahawks beat the Steelers outright as a 4-point underdog but that makes it back-to-back 1-2 weeks for my picks.
Last year, I started off fast and built momentum that carried the rest of the season. This year has been the exact opposite but let’s see if we can’t get this thing pointed in the right direction with a winner on Thursday night.
- Spread: Titans -1.5
- O/U: 38
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
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Both of these teams have issues. The Jaguars are currently dealing with the Jalen Ramsey situation, after the extremely talented cornerback reportedly requested a trade and held an awkward press conference earlier in the week in which he said…well, nothing. Chances are he won’t be a Jaguar behind this week but he’s expected to be in uniform tonight for Jacksonville.
Not that it matters. Ramsey did a magnificent job when lined up against DeAndre Hopkins last week but he won’t face anywhere close to that challenge tonight in Jacksonville. Corey Davis is the Titans defacto No. 1 receiver but the Titans passing game continues to stall because of Marcus Mariota and issues along the offensive line. Only three teams have allowed more sacks than the eight the Titans have allowed through two weeks and only seven teams have given up more quarterback hits than the 13 Tennessee has surrendered. Taylor Lewan’s suspension and Kevin Pamphile’s injured knee have led to struggles along the offensive line, but Mariota’s field vision, accuracy and decision-making has contributed to the issue. Either way, Ramsey should be bored tonight as the Titans keep the ball on the ground.
That’s also the reason why I favor Tennessee tonight. Jacksonville has a talented front seven but the Jaguars surrendered 126 rushing yards on 30 carries (4.2 AVG) to the Texans last week in Houston and allowed 113 yards on 26 carries (4.3 AVG) to the Chiefs in Week 1. Those lead-blocking zone runs that Houston likes to run? Yeah, Tennessee employs them, too. Derrick Henry won't go off for 238 yards like he did a year ago versus the Jaguars (who were checked out by that point in the season), but I do favor the Titans' running game versus the Jags' run defense.
On the other side, rookie Gardner Minshew has done an admirable job filling in for the injured Nick Foles, all things considered. He showed some grit leading the Jags to a late touchdown last Sunday in Houston and threw the ball well versus KC when Foles went down in Week 1. That said, a lot of his throws are close to or behind the line of scrimmage. After running the Air Raid in college, Minshew is more than capable of throwing the ball vertically but the question is whether or not Doug Marrone and the Jacksonville coaching staff trust the rookie enough to open things up. That’s especially true tonight.
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Titans defensive coordinator Dean Peas loves to disguise his coverage out of Cover 2 looks. The combination of confusion and pressure is what led to Baker Mayfield (25-of-38, 285 yards, 3 INTs) having a day to forget two weeks ago when he faced Peas’ defense in Cleveland. I’m banking on the Jaguars leaning heavily on Leonard Fournette and staying away from Tennessee’s superb secondary. Seeing as how the Titans are allowing the seventh-moist rushing yards to opposing backs thus far, who could blame Marrone for staying on the ground tonight?
That said, out of the two running games, I like the Titans’ more than the Jags and once Jacksonville puts the ball in the air, I like Tennessee to come up with a key takeaway or two, which will lead to a tight victory for the road team.
NFL Week 3 Selection: Tennessee Titans -1.5
ATS Betting Results
- Week 1: 1-2
- Week 2: 1-2
- Week 3: 0-0
- Season Total: 2-4