2022 Tennessee Titans betting preview
The Titans provided bettors a winning ticket in the awards/props markets last season, but it wasn't who we necessarily expected. Derrick Henry (+400) was the favorite to win the rushing title before suffering an injury that knocked him out of the regular season. His foot fracture opened the door for Mike Vrabel to get credit for Tennessee's ride to the AFC's top seed. Vrabel's winning tickets for Coach of the Year were available at 25-1 ahead of the 2021 campaign.
The Titans also cashed modest tickets on an AFC South division title and hit the over on their win total relatively early. Do these 2021 accolades mean a drastic market reinterpretation of Tennessee one year later? Simply put, no.
2022 Season odds
|Win total||9 (-115/-105)|
The Titans won 11 games in 2020 but had a season win total of nine last summer. Their 12-win campaign in 2021 gets them virtually no more extra credit with all records reset to 0-0. In fact, the Colts adding a veteran quarterback has done more to lengthen Tennessee's divisional odds than anything that happened in Nashville this offseason.
Seven games lined inside of a field goal feels like a lot, but it makes sense for a team projected to go 9-8. The Titans have won more of those pick'em games than they lost the last two seasons. Whether that's sustainable or not can be bet either via their win total or on a game-to-game basis.
Vrabel's ability to find an edge to keep Tennessee in games against teams with more high-profile talent shone through last season, but the Titans would prefer to put the team on Henry's shoulders.
Tennessee traded A.J. Brown, but the additions of Robert Woods, Treylon Burks, and Austin Hooper will be able to take advantage of the openings Henry creates. Julio Jones was never going to make a difference at this point in his career, so dividing the workload will mitigate any perceived weakness.
While the Titans pieced together a running game by committee with Henry injured last year, that production didn't translate much in the way of fear for their replacement tailbacks. As a result, Ryan Tannehill didn't find the same open windows as he did previously. Tannehill's touchdown-to-interception ratio went from 33:7 in 2020 to 21:14 in 2021, with a drop in air yards per attempt (AY/A) of more than two yards per pass.
Defensively, the Titans' front seven terrorized when healthy. You'll recall a dominant performance in Los Angeles on a Sunday night against the eventual Super Bowl champions. The back end has been a question mark in previous campaigns, but last year's pass defense improved to average, and there's some young talent in Kristian Fulton, Caleb Farley, and Roger McCreary. Veteran Kevin Byard can keep that group organized, so a perceived weakness may become a strength.
A surprise subtraction of a name like Brown will get negative attention, and Tannehill's performance in the divisional round against the Bengals wasn't overly inspiring. However, despite 23 wins in two seasons, the Titans might still be flying under the radar as the second choice in the AFC South.
The recipe remains the same for Tennessee, and that means close games. Taking the points with the Titans is often a good idea when they face the Chiefs and Bills of the world. But when they're asked to pull away from an opponent, that's more than they are comfortable with.
Teams that can play a shootout style of football and force Tannehill to keep up with little disguise by the run are dangerous for what Tennessee wants to do. However, Jeffery Simmons and the Titans' pass rush will need to prevent those clubs from getting an early lead. On the flip side, Tennessee's offensive line wasn't nearly as good last season as in years past. The deterioration of that unit is a danger for Henry and Tannehill to drive the offense.
How to bet the Titans
Henry is +650 to win the rushing title, which was pretty much a lock to happen last year if he stayed healthy. Expect Henry to get back to his same workload after a season in which he didn't see 300-plus carries.
If the Titans' college scouting department is right about Burks, he could emulate a high percentage of Brown's production and be a good bet for Offensive Rookie of the Year (+800).
From a team perspective, now that Tennessee is as long as +170 to win a division it's owned the last few seasons, that implied win probability is far greater than the close to 50/50 chance I give the Titans to defend their crown.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.