Top Sportsbooks have released their NFL odds for this week’s action. One game, in particular, interests me as worth investing in: Cincinnati vs. Tennessee.
The Bengals and Titans last met in last year’s playoffs. Cincinnati triumphed in a tight affair. Now they meet in a regular season game with somewhat different personnel and in somewhat different contexts. Both teams are coming off two straight wins.
For reasons that I will explain, you should play both spread and total for this game.
Feel free to parlay both bets at one of our top-rated betting sites in order to maximize your profit.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans
Sunday, November 27, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Nissan Stadium
Ja'Marr Chase's Health Status
Cincinnati's Ja'Marr Chase continues to prove himself to be one of the NFL's best wide receivers. After amassing 1,455 receiving yards last year, he is averaging around the same number of receiving yards per game this year. However, he has missed some time due to an injury.
His absence isn't completely destructive, Cincinnati managed to score 42 points and 37 points, respectively, in its last two games without him. But his presence would obviously provide a boost to the offense.
While he's logging in limited sessions in practice, the Bengals have declared that he will return to the lineup. He'll look to resume his two-game streak of accruing 130+ receiving yards and multiple receiving touchdowns in a game.
Bengals' Pass Protection
Despite playing some games without his top wide receiver and former LSU teammate, Bengal quarterback Joe Burrow ranks third in both passing yards and passing touchdowns.
Burrow's success has been recent, including in his team's last two games without Chase in which he exceeded 104 in passer rating. Although Burrow can thrive behind worse pass protection, he has benefitted from improved pass protection in recent weeks.
It is true that his last two opponents were worse than the Titans in terms of sack rate, but Tennessee's pass rush was non-existent in its last game partly for reasons that will resurface on Sunday.
While the Titans' pass rush is going to be healthier this week, it seems likely that they will miss their most important pass rusher. Defensive end Denico Autry leads Tennessee in sacks. He injured his knee last week, which explains his statistical non-production in last week's game.
Autry was listed as 'Did Not Practice' on Thursday, and it looks like he is failing to recover from his knee injury. His injured status will lead to Cincinnati resuming its improvement in pass protection.
Injuries for the Titans
In the secondary, the Titans' injury report remains less than ideal.
Again, they will be healthier. Safety Amani Hooker should come back, but Hooker is not effective in pass coverage. He yields a 101.5 passer rating when targeted.
Much more critically, cornerback Kristian Fulton is still struggling with a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries are notoriously pesky, and Fulton's hamstring prevented him from finishing his game last week. Without a healthy Fulton, the Titan secondary is more vulnerable, especially considering Chase's return.
Throughout the season, the Titans' secondary has already been uniquely vulnerable. To be exact, the Titans' pass defense ranks 30th. Tennessee is one of four teams to allow over 266 passing yards per game.
While they've faced many feeble pass attacks, the Titans have had to deal with top quarterbacks who rank among the NFL leaders in passing yards and passer rating. Such quarterbacks have flourished, even to an atypical extent, against the Titan pass defense.
Buffalo's Josh Allen achieved his second-best passer rating of the season against Tennessee. In a similar vein, Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes amassed a season-high 446 passing yards when facing the Titans. Joe Burrow, another top quarterback and one who should be getting his favorite target back, will do similar damage.
Bengals' Run Defense
Tennessee's pass defense is particularly important because led by Burrow, the Bengals prioritize passing the ball. Cincinnati's run defense is especially significant because led by star running back Derrick Henry, the Titans prioritize running the ball.
Overall Cincinnati's run defense is rather poor. It ranks 18th. However, the Bengal run defense is especially vulnerable on the road. Away from home, Cincinnati allows 140 rushing yards per game. To put this figure in perspective, only five teams allow this many rushing yards per game.
Cincinnati's road struggles against the run are particularly recent. In its last road game, Cincinnati allowed Steelers running back Najee Harris to have his most productive game of the season.
Three road games ago, before allowing Browns running back Nick Chubb to accomplish his usual high-level productivity, the Bengals allowed Saints running back Alvin Kamara to achieve a season-high in YPC and almost one in rushing yards.
These running back outputs help explain why, in their past three games, the Bengals are allowing an average of over 30 points per game. It doesn't help that Cincinnati is thin along the defensive line, as multiple defensive tackles are banged up and listed as 'questionable' while failing to log full practices.
Henry, the NFL's leading rusher, will prolong his reign on Sunday.
This will be a high-scoring affair in which both teams do what they want offensively.
In terms of the side, a key trend justifies confidence in Tennessee: head coach Mike Vrabel is 12-6 in revenge matchups. For example, hit Titans rocked Kansas City in 2021 after losing to the Chiefs in the 2019 playoffs.
No matter what he says, this is a revenge game for the Titans, and this fact gives them a motivational edge that lends their side value, especially as the home underdog. For your NFL Picks, invest in the Titans and the over.
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