NFL Picks: Home Underdog Titans Have Slight Edge Against Winless Colts

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 12:22 AM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2015 12:22 AM GMT

Our NFL handicapper provides us with an early betting preview on Sunday’s game between the Colts and Titans. Will Indianapolis be able to recover from another 0-2 start and make the playoffs again? Can the Titans finally end their winning drought against their division rival?

Titans look to halt Colts Domination
Tennessee will entertain Indianapolis in their home opener on Sunday. The opening kickoff at LP Field in Nashville is slated for 1:00 PM ET. Current NFL odds indicate that Indianapolis is a 3.0 to 3.5-point favorite, and the total ranges from 45.0 to 45.5. The Colts have owned their AFC South rival in recent years to say the last, defeating Tennessee thirteen straight times, and in sixteen of their previous seventeen meetings.

 

Playoff Chances after 0-2 Improbable
Indianapolis is off to a 0-2 start for the second consecutive season after losing their home opener on Monday 20-9 to the Jets. Last season they bounced back to win their division crown, and advanced to the AFC Title Game before losing to eventual world champion New England, However, the betting odds are surely stacked up against them reaching the postseason again this year. Since the playoffs expanded to twelve teams in 1990, 204 teams have started 0-2, and only 23 (11.2%) ended up in the postseason party. Taking the probability factor one step further, since 2009, forty-five teams started 0-2 and only two (Colts-2014, Panthers-2013) made the playoffs. That my friends equates to a mere 4.4% success rate. The Indianapolis Colts have been outscored 47-23, and have a horrible -7 turnover differential during their first two games.

 

Titans on the Upswing
The Tennessee Titans started the season with two consecutive road games, and return home after gaining a 1-1 split. They opened the season with a 42-14 blowout win over Tampa Bay, and fell last Sunday 28-14 at Cleveland. The Titans fans hope they won’t see a repeat of last year when their team won its season opener, then proceeded to lose 14 of their last 15 games and finish at 2-14. If you’re looking for one solid reason to believe that’s unlikely to occur again, look no further than rookie starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. The 2014 Hesiman Trophy winner has been impressive in his first two NFL starts, completing 64.2% of his pass attempts for 466 yards, and threw for 6 touchdowns against no picks. The Titans need to do a better job of protecting their prized rookie after allowing him to be sacked 7 times last week in Cleveland.

 

Final Analysis
The Colts are really banged up on the defensive side of the ball. In last Monday’s loss to the Jets, Indianapolis was without three top members of their secondary due to injuries. Their defensive interior has shown to be soft in the first two games as well, and that’s not good news since Tennessee has done a nice job running the ball thus far. I’m going to have a very small lean at this early juncture (Tuesday 9/22) on the home underdog for one of my NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Play Tennessee +3.5 (-113) at Pinnacle

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