Bengals vs. Titans Odds, Picks, Predictions For NFL Playoffs: Expert Cases For Both Sides of Saturday’s Spread
Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals QB Joe Burrow, Titans WR Julio Jones, Titans RB Derrick Henry
- With Bengals vs. Titans odds moving in the final hours before kickoff, which side of the spread is worth betting?
- Our experts are split on how to bet Saturday's Divisional Round showdown.
- Find their cases for both sides of this NFL playoff matchup below.
Bengals vs. Titans Odds
|Time||4:30 p.m. ET|
|Updated odds via DraftKings. Find real-time NFL odds here.|
Rarely do two of our top experts — Chris Raybon and Sean Koerner — take strong opposing stances. But alas, what would the NFL playoffs be without a little chaos? Find out why they disagree on the Bengals-Titans spread, plus more ways they’re betting Saturday’s Divisional Round showdown below.
Bengals vs. Titans Picks
|Click on a pick to skip ahead|
|Joe Mixon Over 19.5 Rec Yards|
|Nick Westbrook-Ikhine Under 29.5 Rec Yards|
written by Sean Koerner
The Bengals are trending up at the right time.
Excluding the Week 18 loss in which they benched their starters, the Bengals have won four straight games against the Broncos, Ravens, Chiefs and Raiders. And over this win streak, they became increasingly pass heavy:
- Weeks 1-14: 57% pass rate (21st)
- Week 15-Wild Card (excluding Week 18): 63% pass rate (seventh)
As you can see, the Bengals ran a fairly run-heavy offense for the first 14 weeks. However, they’ve leaned on Joe Burrow much more of late, and he’s played like the No. 1 QB in pretty much every key metric over their four-win streak.
Joe Burrow Weeks 15-19 (34 Qualified QBs)
- Expected Points Added Per Play (EPA/play): First
- Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt (ANY/A): First
- QB Rating: First
I love the fact we get a red-hot Burrow and the Bengals at a key number of +3.5 against an overrated 1-seed in the Titans. I say overrated because the winner of Bills-Chiefs would likely be 3-point road favorites over the Titans, who were extremely fortunate to land the AFC’s No. 1 seed despite missing key players like Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones for multiple games. However, they benefited from going 6-2 in one-score games and performed closer to an 11-6 team in my expected wins model.
I also like that, even if the Bengals go down by seven or more points, they’re more than capable to pass their way back into the game. However, if the Titans were to fall behind early, their offense isn’t designed to thrive in a trailing game script.
I’m projecting this closer to Titans -2.5 and locked in the Bengals at +3.5 once it was confirmed that DE Trey Hendrickson — who I project as worth 0-0.5 points to the spread for them — will be active.
written by Chris Raybon
Despite Cincinnati entering the Divisional Round as the AFC’s team nobody wants to face, sportsbooks are offering up the hook on the Bengals at +3.5. Why? As of this writing, 60% of the tickets and 82% of the handle are on the Titans (check real-time public betting data here), and we have tracked sharp action on them as well.
I think that’s the right play.
The bye was hugely beneficial for a Titans squad that used an NFL-record 91 players during the regular season but may have all 22 starters healthy for the first time all year. Getting Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones on the field together is a massive boost for this offense, as the Titans averaged 7.0 yards per play with all three of those players on the field together — a huge increase from their season average of 5.1.
That trio is especially massive for the Titans’ play-action game.
After leading all NFL passers in play-action passing usage rate last season (36.4%, per PFF), Ryan Tannehill used play action on only 29.1% of his drop backs this season, 11th-most in the league. With Henry and Brown mostly healthy over the past two seasons, Tannehill led the league in yards per attempt in play action in 2019 (13.5) and was fifth in 2020 (9.7). This season, that number dropped to 8.6.
Cincinnati’s pass defense has been Bengals’ weak link this season, ranking 24th in DVOA — and they’re particularly bad against play action. Per Sports Info Solutions, Cincinnati’s 117.7 QBR allowed ranks 27th in the NFL and second-worst among playoff teams, and the Bengals’ 8.7 yards per play allowed in play action rank 30th in the league and worst among playoff teams.
On defense, the key for the Titans is that they can get pressure without blitzing. Per PFF, Joe Burrow shredded the blitz to the tune of 10.8 YPA with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions, but was a bit more human when not blitzed, posting an 8.3 YPA figure with 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Titans generated pressure 24.0% of the time despite blitzing just 19.9% of the time (fifth-lowest). When pressured, Burrow’s passer rating drops to 92.4, down from 113.7 when kept clean.
Another concern for the Bengals is how well their offense will travel. While their difference between home points per game (27.6) and road PPG (26.3) is minute, DVOA — which is opponent-adjusted — tells a different story, as the Bengals are ranked ninth in offensive DVOA at home but 25th on the road.
The Titans have faced four teams that made it to the Divisional Round (Chiefs, Bills, Rams, 49ers), and they went 4-0 against those squads, outsourcing them by a combined 109-67 margin.
It is worth holding out closer to kickoff to see if late money comes in on the Bengals and pushes the line to -3.
written by Raheem Palmer
My model makes this total 49, so at 47.5, this feels too low.
The Bengals are 11th in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play on offense and the Titans have to receive a major upgrade to their offensive power rankings with the return of Derrick Henry plus an extra week for A.J. Brown and Julio Jones to get healthy.
With the return of Henry, the Titans welcome the return of their workhorse back, which opens the play action game. With Bengals DT Larry Ogunjobi out for the season, I expect the Titans to have a ton of success on the ground. The Bengals are just 19th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA and 24th against the pass despite facing the 14th-ranked schedule of opposing offenses.
This is a team that gave up 34 points to the Jets, 41 points to the Browns and 41 points to the Chargers. In last week’s win over the Raiders, the Bengals allowed five trips to the red zone. And while they allowed just one touchdown, they’ll be facing a Titans team that is sixth in the red zone, scoring on 63.9% of drives inside of opponents’ 20-yard lines.
The Bengals will likely be a popular pick in this matchup with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase as they have an offense that’s been fifth in EPA/play and third in Success Rate since Week 11. They’ve scored 32, 41, 22, 23, 41, 34 and 26 points against the Raiders, Steelers, Chargers, Ravens, Chiefs and Raiders over that span.Six of those seven game went over the total.
This will be one of the toughest pass defenses the Bengals have faced, but we could likely see them in a negative game script if they struggle to stop the Titans offense. That could have the Bengals throwing their way back into this game, and in the process, have this game flying over the total.
Joe Mixon Over 19.5 Rec Yards
written by Sean Koerner
The Bengals limited Mixon’s receiving usage for much of the season, likely to keep him fresh for a potential playoff run. He topped a 60% routes run rate only twice between Weeks 1-15, but has topped it in each of the past three games, cashing in on the increased usage with receiving lines of 70, 40 and 28.
I’m projecting Mixon for closer to 26.5 yards and would bet the over to 21.5 (see more of Koerner’s projections in our Action Labs props tool).
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine Under 28.5 Rec Yards
written by Chris Raybon
Westbrook-Ikhine has been held to 27 or fewer yards in nine of 16 games this season, and has had 25 or fewer yards in eight of 16 games, but that was with A.J. Brown and Julio Jones in and out of the lineup. With Brown, Jones and Derrick Henry healthy, and the Titans favored, we are likely to see a bunch of heavy personnel in Todd Downing’s game plan.
The Bengals rank 12th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA against non-WR1/2s but 24th against tight ends, which increases the chances of the Titans using heavy personnel as Westbrook-Ikhine would see the most of slot CB Mike Hilton, who ranks 20th in PFF coverage grades out of 121 qualified CBs.
Westbrook-Ikhine’s median receptions in this game is 2.0, and since he averages 12.5 yards per catch, this prop should be +EV at anything above 25.