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Lying In Wait: Lamar’s Ravens 9-point Favorites Over Titans

Derrick Henry racked up 204 total yards and the Titans defense shut New England out in the second half as No. 6 seed Tennessee (+4.5) served up a 20-13 upset victory over the Patriots last Saturday. The Titans are 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight games and are now 6-3 ATS on the road this season.

Baltimore’s second-stringers beat the Steelers 28-10 back in Week 17 to improve the Ravens’ regular-season record to 14-2 and 10-5-1 against the spread. However, like the 49ers, Baltimore enjoyed more ATS success on the road (6-1-1) than at home (4-4).

Tennessee Titans vs Baltimore Ravens

Opening Odds Analysis

The Ravens opened as 9.5-point home favorites but saw a slight dip to Baltimore -9 by Monday morning. Tennessee’s moneyline opened at +431 but has come down significantly at most books we track, while the point total opened at 49 before two ticks down to 47. The total has gone OVER in nine of the Titans’ last 11 games with an average combined score of 52.36.

Tennessee News & Notes

The headlines may have read “Tannehill, Titans dethrone Patriots,” but we know better. We know that without Derrick Henry’s 204 total yards, Tennessee’s chances of an upset in New England dissipate. Tannehill finished with 72 passing yards on 8-of-15 passing, an interception and two fumbles, though he didn’t lose any.

New England converted just five of 13 third downs and one of three red-zone trips against the Titans. To be blunt, those metrics are more a testament to the Patriots’ paltry offense than Tennessee possessing an elite defense that should strike fear in the Ravens.

The Titans’ leading receiver against New England was Anthony Firkser, a backup tight end out of Harvard, and this weekend’s matchup doesn’t get any easier for Tannehill as the Ravens secondary ranks sixth against the pass (207.2 PYAPG) and held their final three opponents to 156 PYPG. After averaging 100.8 yards per game with five touchdowns the last six games of the regular season, rookie receiver A.J. Brown was held to one four-yard catch against the Patriots. If he’s held in check again, Tannehill is in big trouble.

Remember, Henry missed Week 16 due to injury and it’s assumed after another heavy workload that he’s less than 100 percent heading into another physical matchup. There’s only so much offense one running back can produce while at the same time remain healthy and on the field.

On the injury front, linebacker Jayon Brown was forced from the New England game with a shoulder injury and is questionable this weekend.

Baltimore News & Notes

After injuring his calf in a Week 16 win over the Browns, all signs point to running back Mark Ingram returning to face the Titans. Ingram accounts for 31 percent of the Ravens’ rush production this season. As a team, Baltimore averaged 206 rush yards per game, roughly 62 more rush yards than second-ranked San Francisco.

Tennessee’s defense ranks 11th against the rush at 104.1 rush yards allowed per game. But, as we know, it’s one thing to stop “the rush” and another thing to stop Lamar Jackson in the open field.

When he does drop back to pass, Jackson’s top target is tight end Mark Andrews. Despite missing a game, Andrews accounted for 25 percent of the team’s receiving yards with 10 touchdowns. Baltimore tight ends hauled in 14 of the team’s 37 receiving touchdowns this season.

Opposing tight ends averaged five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown per game against the Titans this season. Advantage: Andrews.

Key Defensive Metric Watch

Opposing offenses converted 37.1 percent of their third downs against the Ravens. Baltimore ranked 12th in this metric.

Opposing offenses converted 47.7 percent of their red-zone trips into touchdowns against Baltimore. This was the third-lowest rate in the NFL. It’ll be fascinating to see how this trend plays out as the Titans offense ranks FIRST in red-zone efficiency as they’ve converted 76.6 percent of their red-zone trips into touchdowns. If you see the Titans settling for red-zone field goals, Baltimore backers are loving life.

Betting Pick: Ravens -9

It’s a lot of points to lay in the playoffs, but the Ravens won nine games by more than nine points this season. It’s a matter of trust. I don’t trust Ryan Tannehill in this spot. Despite Derrick Henry’s hot stretch, the Ravens defense possesses the overall advantage. Tennessee’s defense isn’t good enough to contain Jackson “the runner” AND Jackson “the guy who likes to target tight ends” to hang in this game.

Shark Bites
  • The Titans are 6-2 SU and ATS in their last 8 games.
  • The Ravens are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 9 of the Titans’ last 11 games.