NFL

Thursday Night Football Betting: Can Tennessee Regain Their Mojo?

When you lose the King (Derrick Henry), it's a sizeable absence that, quite frankly, you just can't overcome with one player. The best running back in the NFL was injured on Halloween, and the Tennessee Titans have been in a tailspin lately, losing three of their last four contests.

As a result, the road San Francisco 49ers are 3.0-point favorites, per FanDuel Sportsbook. The total is set at 44.5 points.

Our nERD-based rankings show that this game could be a delight. The road team is ranked 10th, and the home Titans are ranked 15th.

Let's dive into some interesting betting angles for this contest.

Angles You Love to See

There could be a lot of reasons for Ryan Tannehill's struggles this season, and the absence of Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown certainly has not helped. While Brown is likely to return this evening, one hopes that Tannehill can improve on his utterly garbage 0.01 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back this season. Tannehill has thrown for nearly as many interceptions (14) as he has touchdown passes (15). Sources tell me that's not great, Bob.

Part of Tannehill's problem is his utter inability to stretch a defense. His 6.91 yards per attempt is one of the worst marks in the league among the 30 passers with 300 or more drop backs. By comparison, his counterpart in tonight's contest, Jimmy Garoppolo, leads the league in this category (8.48).

With Henry out again this week, D'Onta Foreman will inherit lead running back duties. While he certainly can't replace Henry's production, as Foreman showed last week with 108 rushing yards on 22 carries, he's been pretty darn solid in his own right. However, Foreman will have his work cut out for him against a defense that ranks 11th against the run via our metrics.

It's easy for most to take a giant dump in the Holiday Turd Bowl on Garoppolo, but a deeper dive reveals he's been pretty darn good this season despite many constantly clamoring for rookie Trey Lance to assume starting quarterback responsibilities. The beautiful Jimmy G has racked up a 0.22 Passing NEP per deop back this season, which includes a 50.75% Passing Success Rate while taking plenty of aggressive shots deep down field.

Elijah Mitchell will miss his third straight contest this evening, making Jeff Wilson the top guy in the backfield (with a few Deebo Samuel carries sprinkled in, as well). Wilson certainly does not carry the aplomb that Mitchell does, as his -0.04 Rushing NEP per rush indicates he has yet to instill the fear into opposing defenses like Mitchell does. The Tennessee defense actually checks in at 10th against the run this year, too.

Using our metrics as a guide, the 49ers have come on offensively as of late. They rank ninth overall on offense, and they have scored 23-plus points in each of their last eight games, including a 30-burger four times in that stretch. Meanwhile, the Tennessee attack is mired in mediocrity, ranking 17th overall. The strength of Tennessee lies in its defense, which ranks 11th overall -- but the 49ers sit just one spot behind them.

Bets to Consider

The 49ers are 3.0-point favorites, and the total sits at 44.5 points. Where should you have your money for this one, according to our numbers?

We are projecting this line to be right on the money (sorry, that's a terrible pun). We are forecasting for a tight 49ers win by a score of 25.38 to 21.15, eeking out a cover only 50.62% of the time. Stay away from this puppy.

On the total, our model sides with the over, although it isn't a particularly heavy lean. Our algorithm projects the over to win out 54.12% of the time -- and check out Tennessee's recent history of unders hitting below.

In peering closely at this game and peeking at our player projections, betting Garoppolo to go over 245.5 yards seems somewhat obvious. The Titans want you to pass against them. While they have allowed only 79 rushing yards per game at home, they have allowed 37.2 pass attempts this season. Assuming this game script goes to plan, our projection for Garoppolo's 254 yards should allow this bet to hit.

And I wouldn't ignore George Kittle's receiving prop, either. We have him at 75.5 yards this week, and if Garoppolo is forced to air it out, Kittle has averaged 99 receiving yards when there are 30 or more pass attempts dating back to the 2020 season. He ranks second on the 49ers in target market share this year (20%).

Historical Betting Trends

-- The 49ers have won and covered against the spread (ATS) in five of their last six games. Three of them have been blowouts, winning by three scores or more.
-- Tennessee is only 1-4 ATS in their last five games.
-- With Henry out, points have been tough to come by. The UNDER has hit in six of their last eight games.