Our Top NFL Divisional Round Parlay: Best Bet to Win Big

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Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

Let’s make extra cash off of the upcoming playoff games. Read here for our best parlay. Top sportsbooks have released their NFL odds for this week’s NFL Divisional Round action. One game, in particular, interests me as worth investing in: Cincinnati vs. Tennessee.

For reasons that I will explain, you should play both sides and total for this game. Feel free to parlay both bets at online sports betting site in order to maximize your profit.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans

Saturday, January 22, 2022 – 4:30 PM EST at Nissan Stadium

Derrick Henry's Injury Status

It surely seemed improbable at some point, but Titan superstar running back Derrick Henry seems ready to make his return. To be precise, he was designated to return from the injured reserve on January 5. 

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This move allowed him to practice. He was not activated from IR for Tennessee's Week 18 game against Houston. This decision to withhold Henry was probably a consequence of some factors: the Titans shouldn't need Henry to beat Houston, the game was important for seeding purposes but at least the Titans were already in the playoffs, and Henry wasn't quite ready to come back yet.

They definitely didn't want Henry to reinjure himself in a less-important game. It is the expectation that Henry will be ready for Saturday's game against Cincinnati, especially since the Titans gained an extra week to rest him since they earned the number one seed.

Without Henry, the Titans could still earn against Houston a victory to which Henry's top backup, D'Onta Foreman, contributed 21 carries and two receptions. Foreman is a strong bruising runner who accomplished three 100-yard rushing games in Henry's absence.

He nicely complements Dontrell Hilliard who has more speed -- as he showed, for example, in his 68-yard touchdown run against New England -- and is more of a threat in the passing game. So, especially against a Bengal run defense that has been tormented in recent weeks -- the Bengals are allowing 154.3 rushing yards in their past three games -- the Titans have abundant weapons in the backfield to support quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Henry's Unstated Importance 

We all know that Henry is elite at running the ball. But the respect in which he supports Tannehill too often goes unmentioned. Without Henry on the field for Tennessee, defenses don't have to devote as much attention to the Titan backfield, such that they can focus more on stopping the pass.

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Henry's presence last year thus largely explains why Tannehill's passer rating was 106.5 last year compared to 89.6. They often say a running back is a quarterback's best friend -- heck, even Blake Bortles was a different referee crew away from making a Super Bowl in an offense that revolved around Leonard Fournette -- and this is true for Henry and Tennessee as well.

Henry the Runner

Henry will represent a major step-up from the running backs that have most recently tormented the Bengal defense. Last week, Las Vegas' Josh Jacobs ran for 83 yards on 13 carries -- ridiculous offensive line penalties deterred him from accruing more yards.

The week before, Cleveland's D'Ernest Johnson amassed 123 yards on 25 rushes. Before that, Kansas City's Darrel Williams put up almost identical numbers to Jacob's, even though Kansas City's offense very much revolves around its quarterback. Henry ran for over 2,000 yards last year and is always a threat to run for over 200 yards. 

The Passing Game 

With Henry, Tannehill will be a stronger quarterback like he was last year. Plus, he also boasts Pro Bowler A.J. Brown and two-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones at his disposal.

Both players have dealt with injuries, but since Brown's second half against San Francisco and since Julio's decent stat line against Houston after logging consecutive full practices, both wide receivers seem to be in form.

This is a well-established and extremely dangerous pair of wide receivers, one that looks very attractive against Cincinnati's 26th-ranked pass defense.

The Verdict 

Cincinnati likes to have a relatively balanced offense. It ranks 19th in pass-play percentage. It is the top running back in Joe Mixon. The problem with Mixon is that he is facing an elite Titan-run defense that gave All-Pro Jonathan Taylor, for example, some of his lowest rushing outputs. 

Overall, the Titan run defense ranks second as measured by opposing rush yards per game. I like the Titans because I think they'll be strong both on the ground and through the air while I see the Bengals as having to be more one-dimensional.

With perhaps the hottest quarterback-wide receiver duo in football in Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, the "over" will hit as the Bengals contribute their share of points. But the more complete Titans will cover the spread. For the above reasons, parlay the Titans ATS and the "over."
Be sure to use our trusty parlay calculator for your parlay betting needs.

NFL Parlay: Titans -3 (-115) and Over 47 (-108) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Payout: +250 with BetOnline

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.