The Tennessee Titans have pulled the plug on Ken Whisenhunt. It might be a good move in the long run, but their value as an NFL pick in Week 9 doesn't look too strong.
Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 3: 26-21-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 18-27 Total
Everyone saw the writing on the wall. We were staunch supporters of Ken Whisenhunt here at the home office, but the Peter Principle will catch up to all of us in time. For Whisenhunt and the Tennessee Titans, that time was Tuesday. The Titans have relieved Whisenhunt of his duties; assistant head coach/tight ends coach Mike Mularkey will take over on an interim basis, starting this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) when they visit the New Orleans Saints.
Whisenhunt is one of the brighter offensive minds in the NFL, but for whatever reason – some of it plain bad luck with injured quarterbacks – he couldn't quite translate that acumen to long-term success as a head coach. No doubt he'll land on his feet somewhere soon, just like former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman did when he signed up with the Baltimore Ravens as their offensive co-ordinator. Meanwhile, how will Tennessee fare this Sunday against the Saints? The betting trends don't look very promising.
According to trend guru Walter Cherepinsky, teams who fired their head coach mid-season went 7-13 ATS between 1996 and 2011 inclusive. That's not including teams who were on a bye week when they made the change. We need an update on those numbers, of course. Let's put our crack research team on the case:
2013 Houston Texans (Gary Kubiak, Week 15): LOSS
That's it, actually. We're not including Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis, 2012) and John Fox (Denver, 2013) going on medical leave, and last year, the Oakland Raiders let go of Dennis Allen during their bye week. So make it 7-14 ATS for this particular betting trend. Not terribly encouraging if you're thinking about putting Tennessee in your Week 9 NFL picks.
It Can't Be Nashville Every Night
Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. These are small sample sizes, but mid-season coaching changes seem to affect home dogs (1-6 ATS) a lot more than road dogs (4-5 ATS). Maybe it helps to get away from the heat of the local spotlight during these difficult times. Whatever the case, Tennessee has opened as an 8-point puppy on our NFL odds board, at least at the handful of locations like WagerWeb who don't have this game circled at press time.
Why is this game still circled, anyway? QB Marcus Mariota (knee) is all but certain to start this week; Whisenhunt told reporters before his dismissal that he expected Mariota to practice fully on Wednesday. We'll see if that's still the case when the day comes. Meanwhile, if you're contemplating a bet on the Saints, consider making it now, before the betting public comes in and dumps a truckload of chalk on the Big Easy.
NFL Pick: New Orleans Saints -8 (-105) at BetOnline