It’s the start of the NFL season, and we’ve got an NFC vs. AFC matchup prediction that is sure to excite fans. Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans takes the field after a 2,000-yard season in 2020. At the same time, quarterback Kyler Murray tries to take Arizona to the top of the NFC West.
|Game: Arizona Cardinals (0-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-0)
Location: Nissan StadiumDate: Sunday, September 12th, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
These two teams have quite a history of low-scoring games. The last time they faced each other was in 2017, when the Cardinals won 12-7.
You’ll have to remember that much has changed for both teams since then. Both quarterbacks have changed. Murray now leads a high-scoring Cardinals offense while the Titans have moved to a “run-first” approach since Henry took over as the starter.
Over the last three games, the Cardinals are 3-0 against the spread (ATS) against the Titans. As we noted above, those were much different teams but it’s important to note Arizona’s consistency.
Next game: Home vs Minnesota Vikings
The Arizona Cardinals finished in the NFC West third place last season, with an 8-8 record. Don’t let that lead you to believe that they didn’t have one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL, though. They averaged 25.5 points per game and had averaged nearly 140 yards rushing.
The addition of Murray did wonders for the Cardinals in 2020. He built a rapport with his wide receiver corps, which consists of one of the best in the game.
Through the season, you could see the trust build between Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. Although they finished with a .599 record, the Cardinals looked to be an emerging contender in the NFC.
Defensive end J.J. Watt, Arizona’s key offseason acquisition, has been upgraded to probable for Sunday. For the sake of the Cardinals, Watt better be on the field to help against Henry. If not, Zach Allen will be charged with assisting the defensive line against the freight train.
Next game: at Seattle Seahawks
The Tennessee Titans made a run to the playoffs in 2020 after finishing the season 11-5. They faced tough competition and were pitted against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens’ offense was too much for Tennessee to handle and the Titans lost 20-13. That was the tale of the tape for Tennessee throughout the entire season. The Titans had tons of offense, but a lackluster secondary held them back from greatness.
The Titans were 7-9 against the spread in 2020, which made them pretty unreliable at the sportsbook. Despite their run-first approach, Tennessee was one of only three teams to average more than 30 points last season.
The most notable name on the injury report is starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He was activated off the COVID-19 and is expected to start Sunday’s game.
Betting on the Game
After taking a look at both of these teams, you can tell how different they are. Arizona will plan to attack down the field while Tennessee will focus on the run.
The NFL spread here is so small, with Tennessee favored by three at home, that this essentially becomes a pick ‘em. The Cardinals have been bad against the spread in their last nine games, going 2-7. Tennessee hasn’t been much better, though, making both of these teams hard to trust.
What you have to remember when betting this one is Murray’s ability to extend plays. Tennessee has a hard time containing mobile quarterbacks (i.e. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson).
We like the idea of taking the Arizona Cardinals +135 here. Considering the NFL live odds for the spread only has the teams separated by three points, a moneyline bet is a good idea. With the Titans’ inability to contain mobile quarterbacks and Murray’s talent moving the ball, the Cardinals could take this one.
The Titans were involved in quite a few shootouts in 2020, with the total eclipsing 70 points in four of their last six regular-season games. We’ve yet to see what the offense will look like this year, but we expect it to be similar. They’ll lean on Derrick Henry to be the workhorse and take some big shots downfield with A.J. Brown and Julio Jones, who was added to the receiving corps in the offseason. The smart pick here if you’re betting online is on the under because the Titans game plan will likely remain the same.