Two NFL teams on wildly different trajectories meet in Week 8. Among NFL matchups this week, the Tennessee Titans travel to Cincinnati to battle the Bengals in AFC action. The sportsbook sets the Titans as a 6-point favorites. We look over NFL news and the NFL injury report to bring you NFL picks.
|Game: Tennessee Titans (5-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-5-1)
Location: Paul Brown Stadium
Time: 1:00p.m. ET
Bettors felt the Titans’ anguish last week, as Tennessee lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Markets moved the Titans from a short dog to a short favorite during the betting week. Tennessee came up short but not from lack of effort. Playing their third game in 12 days, they fell behind by as many as 20 points before coming within a missed field goal of tying. Ultimately losing 27-24, the total middled at 51, having ranged from 50½ to 52½.
On the subject of middles, the Bengals came through with one of their own against the Browns. In a heart-attack match that featured a league record five lead-changing fourth-quarter touchdowns, the Bengals (at least the ones that weren’t up for trade consideration and allowed to play) fought scrappy and lost by a score of 34-37. The line varied between Cleveland -3 and Cincinnati +3½ throughout the week (and closed four). Markets took the total way under from 52 down to 50. What appeared to be an easy win for that under collapsed under the weight of 34 fourth-quarter points.
NFL Betting Lines
Moneyline: Tennessee Titans -240 (5-1) | Cincinnati Bengals +200 (1-5-1)
Tennessee’s secondary is in rough shape. They’ll be going into this game without CB Kristian Fulton (knee), and the status of CB Johnathan Joseph and CB Tye Smith uncertain for Sunday. Worse, DE Jadeveon Clowney missed the start of the practice week and he is unlikely to play. Adding to the injuries on the other side of the ball, starting RT Dennis Kelly (knee) also missed the week so far. The highest-profile injury is WR A.J. Brown (knee), a Thursday addition to the report. While normally a bad sign, Brown missed Thursday last week, practiced full Friday and played.
For their part, Cincinnati observers will get to speculate about RB Joe Mixon until Friday’s practice report, but even if Joe can go he might be missing as many as three of his starting offensive linemen. CB Darius Phillips (knee) probably won’t play and WR John Ross now has an illness and he didn’t practice on Thursday — it’s a mess, not to mention the Bengals are in the middle of a fire sale.
Under these circumstances, expect Tennessee to win this game, and -240 is a decent price at which to play it. We’d have to think it’s only going to go up when the injury report is finalized on Friday, so our guess is to act quickly. *Editor update: the Moneyline has now risen to -250.
Pick: Tennessee -240
Point Spread: Tennessee Titans -6 (2-4) | Cincinnati Bengals +6 (5-1-1)
While we’d play the Titans to win, we’re not so thrilled to lay six points. Market support seems to have bottomed out for the Bengals so don’t expect this number to drop any. If anything, we’d guess it notches up to 6½ by Sunday.
Pick: Tennessee -6
Over/Under 53 points
A number of high-profile offensive injuries, along with a total already in the stratosphere, led to this number crashing from an opener of 55 down to 53. We’ll play the over, but might wait to see if it bottoms out at 52½ first. Expect a game plan of heavy passing on both sides to play out regardless if Mixon or Brown can’t play. *Editor update: the Total has now dropped to 52.