NFL Weekly Betting Picks: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles did not throw an interception in the Jaguars opener.

Tennessee at Jacksonville
Time: NOON (CT), CBS
Spread: PICK
Total: 41.5

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Tennessee Titans opened Week 1 with a 26-16 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Its opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, won 29-7 over the Houston Texans. The Titans will travel to face Jacksonville with EVEN odds according to pro football oddsmakers at 5dimes. The over/under is set at 41.5 points for the game which will air at Noon (Central) on CBS.

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Third-year quarterback Marcus Mariota had a decent start to his 2017 season in throwing 25 of 41 in the loss. He racked up 256 yards but averaged just 6.2 yards per reception and he threw an interception to match his lone touchdown. What really hurt the Titans was the lack of backfield production.

Tennessee got just 44 yards from star back DeMarco Murray on his 12 carries, though Mariota had success on his three rushes (26 yards and a rushing TD). The Titans are a bit of a two-man attack offensively with Mariota as the dual-threat he is, but typically Murray does a lot more to pitch in.

Murray rushed for 1,287 yards last season while playing all 16 games, and he had nine rushing TDs on the season. He has not quite assumed the workload he once had in 2014 as a member of the Dallas Cowboys (when he rushed for 1,845 yards on 392 carries), but he is still in the tail-end of his prime years, now 29.

The Titans wide receiving core spread the work between Delanie Walker, Richard Matthews, and Corey Davis, with the trio all catching 69 yards or better and managing five catches or more apiece. While Mariota does have some options and variant ones, Tennessee is still striving to be less predictable in its offense than in previous years.

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Last year, the team scored 29 receiving TDs and had 16 rushing TDs, but keeping Mariota’s options open remains of paramount importance. Matthews led the team in receiving yards last year with 945 on 108 catches, and he also led the team in receiving TDs with nine. Walker was the No. 2 WR with 800 yards, and Wright was slotted in the No. 4 in 2016–with Tejae Sharpe ahead of him as the No. 3 receiver. Sharpe did not play in the season opener.

Jacksonville was impressive in its opener. The Jaguars won in Houston while holding the Texans to just 110 passing yards and 93 rushing yards in the affair. Houston managed just one touchdown, while the Jacksonville offense clicked well enough to run away with the game by the half, leading 19-0 after two-quarters.

Former UCF quarterback Blake Bortles avoided his greatest “learning experiences” in throwing no interceptions as he passed 11 of 21 for 125 yards and a TD. Leonard Fournette had a huge debut game with 100 yards on 26 carries and a TD. While Fournette’s long-run was just for 17-yards, he grinned away at the Houston front-five, and he looks to present immense problems for all defensive lines this season, not to mention the multitude of defensive tackles that will be faced with the issue of stopping the 6-foot 228-pound rookie from LSU.

Fournette came with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft and is something of a “Can’t-miss” back for the Jaguars, something it has more than lacked in the past. Last year, Jacksonville’s top rusher T.J. Yeldon managed just 465 yards along with No. 2 back Chris Ivory’s 439. In Fournette, the Jaguars have one reliable back that they can ride to offensive success, at least judging by how well it all worked in Week 1. The powerful weapon also will ease the pressure on Bortles, who has struggled thus far in his young NFL career.

This game should be a good look at two very young teams on the rise, and given NFL oddsmakers ‘EVEN’ odds projection, it should be a very good game. We expect the Titans to prevail by the slimmest of margins, simply because Mariota should be starting to come into his own this season, and we mostly just do not trust Bortles after one mediocre week not to throw a couple picks in his second game of the year.

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