Titans vs Chiefs Odds – AFC Wild Card Preview

titans-chiefs-playoffsBoth the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs have had streaky seasons.

The Chiefs started the year 5-0, only to slide to 6-6. They closed the regular season at 10-6 and won the AFC West title.

Tennessee was in the hunt for the AFC South title at 8-4. But they lost three games in a row and had to beat Jacksonville in Week 17 to secure a Wild Card spot.

This puts both teams heading in different directions going into the postseason. Tennessee is scraping by, while the Chiefs are playing great.

Can the Titans’ continue their momentum from the win over the Jaguars? Or will Kansas City win at home as expected? Let’s find out by looking at the GTBets odds on this game and put some analysis behind them.

Tennessee vs Kansas City AFC Wild Card (Jan 6 at 4:30pm ET)

Titans Chiefs Point Spread
Tennessee +9 (-115)
Kansas City -9 (+105)

Titans Chiefs Moneyline
Tennessee +330
Kansas City -430

Over 44 (-110)
Under 44 (-110)

Key Factors for Tennessee (9-7)

marcus-mariotaThe big thing for Tennessee will be the play of quarterback Marcus Mariota. The second overall pick of 2015, Mariota has had his moments and flashed the ability to be a franchise quarterback.

However, consistency has been a major problem with him so far. The University of Oregon product set a career low in yards per completion (7.1) and yards per carry (5.2) this season.

The banner game for Mariota is not overly impressive either. He completed 23-of-33 passes for 241 yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers against the San Francisco 49ers in a Week 15 loss.

Tennessee was hoping that this would be the norm, rather than the highlight of Mariota’s third season. In any case, he must play like this in order for the Titans to get an upset on the road. And this will be made more difficult with rumors that he’s playing through both hamstring and ankle injuries.

demarco-murray-titansMariota hasn’t been the only problem during the Titans’ bad play down the stretch. The defense ranks 11th in points allowed among playoff teams, ranking only ahead of the Bills. This could be a problem given that Kansas City has some really good playmakers.

The key to the Titans winning will be relying on running backs Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray to pick up yardage and keep this game a low scoring affair. Assuming Murray and Henry can do this, it’ll give the defense a chance to rest and take some of the pressure off an injured Mariota.

Key Factors for Kansas City (10-6)

As mentioned before, the Chiefs suffered a mid-season lull that had many questioning if they’d even make the playoffs. But Kansas City rallied, winning their last four regular season games to hold off the L.A. Chargers for the AFC West.

alex-smith-kansas-cityThis four-game winning streak has produced some encouraging signs for the game against Tennessee. The Chiefs limited opponents to 15, 13, 13, and 24 points during their hot streak. The 24 points given up to the Denver Broncos came last Sunday, when most Kansas City starters didn’t even play.

The team also forced 12 turnovers, which almost matched the 14 turnovers they forced in the first 12 games this season.

Quarterback Alex Smith also earned some redemption during the recent win streak. A few bad games had people questioning whether Smith should be replaced with rookie Patrick Mahomes. However, the longtime veteran erased these doubts by passing for seven touchdowns, just one interception, and producing a 100 passer rating over the last four games.

Here lies one big advantage for the Chiefs in that Smith is more consistent than Mariota. He doesn’t make a lot of turnovers, yet Smith can still produce big plays thanks to the talent at his disposal.

kareem-hunt-roy-raceSpeaking of which, Kansas City has a few explosive options on offense, including rookie running back Kareem Hunt, receiver Tyreke Hill, and tight end Travis Kelce.

Hunt actually led the league in rushing with 1,327 yards, and scored eight touchdowns. The third-round pick out of Toledo also caught 53 passes for 455 yards and three more TDs.

Hill haulled in 75 catches for 1,183 yards and seven TDs. Kelce was just as good, catching 83 balls for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Chiefs are at home and have the advantage on both offense and defense. They just need to execute and avoid turnovers to win this game.

Prediction on Titans vs Chiefs

Kansas City opened as a -7.5 favorite. I’m not surprised that the line shifted to -9, given that they’re playing at Arrowhead and are coming into the playoffs on a hot streak.

The Chiefs are also 8-5 against the spread as favorites. I not only look for them to win this game, but also cover -9.

Tennessee simply has too many questions on offense and defense right now. Furthermore, they’re playing on the road in one of the NFL’s toughest environments. That said, I don’t expect them to keep this game very close.

Final Score Prediction: Kansas City 31, Tennessee 13

Bills vs Jaguars Odds – AFC Wild Card Preview

jaguars-bills-oddsWin or lose this weekend, the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars both have reason to celebrate making the postseason.

The Bills are in the playoffs for the first time since 1999, ending an incredibly long drought. Jacksonville is hosting a playoff game for the first time since 1999.

Our GTBets line gives the Jaguars a big advantage thanks to their home-field advantage and stellar defense. But it’s hard to count the Bills out after the adversity they’ve overcome.

Keep reading as I cover the odds on this game, along with what both teams must do to win.

Jacksonville Buffalo Odds (Jan 7 at 1:00pm ET)

Bills Jaguars Point Spread
Buffalo 9 (-115)
Jacksonville -9 (-105)

Bills Jaguars Moneyline
Buffalo +315
Jacksonville -405

Over 39.5 (-110)
Under 39.5 (-110)

Key Factors for Buffalo (9-7)

tyrod-taylor-lesean-mccoyBuffalo opened as a +7.5 underdog. And as you can see in the odds above, they’ve since slid to a +9 underdog.

But are the Bills really this much of a long-shot to win?

This seems fitting, given the topsy-turvy season that the Bills have had. The lowest point came when first-round coach Sean McDermott benched veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor in favor of fifth-round rookie Nathan Peterman. After five first-half interceptions, Peterman took a seat, ending the disastrous start.

It would’ve been easy for Buffalo to fold up then. And it would’ve been just as easy for them to do so when they needed help to make the postseason at 8-7. Buffalo not only beat Miami to do their part, but also got a gift when Baltimore lost to Cincinnati in the waning moments.

Nothing about the Bills stands out. But they’re here by virtue of fighting through the difficult moments of their season. And it wouldn’t be a shocker to see them make this a game, despite their underdog status. However, Buffalo needs to stay close from the outset, because they’re not good at coming back.

Tyrod Taylor is a solid quarterback, throwing for 2,799 yards; running for 427; scoring 18 combined TDs; and tossing just four interceptions.

As his low interception rate shows, Taylor makes smart decisions when throwing the football. But he’s also not going to win games by himself like Aaron Rodgers.

tyrod-taylor-billsOne of the biggest problems for Buffalo is that running back LeSean McCoy’s status is up in the air. He’s currently day-to-day with an ankle injury. Provided he can’t go, it robs Buffalo of a player who rushed for 1,138 yards and can make defenders miss.

Buffalo doesn’t have many big-play threats in the receiving corp. Kelvin Benjamin is their biggest weapon, and he’s unlikely to make any huge plays with how conservative Taylor is. However, they do have a very solid tight end in Charles Clay (558 receiving yards, 2 TDs).

Again, the key for Buffalo is to keep this game close. And this will be made much easier if McCoy is healthy and running the football. This will in turn keep some of the pressure off the Bills’ defense, which has been up and down in 2017.

Key Factors for Jacksonville (10-6)

The Jaguars have one undeniable advantage in this game – their talented defense. The pass rush, linebackers, and secondary are all strong, making it hard to find weak points against the Jags.

jaguars-calais-campbellCalais Campbell headlines this defense, having tallied 14.5 sacks on the season. DE Yannick Ngakoue (12.0 sacks, 6 forced fumbles) and DT Malik Jackson (8.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles) have also wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Cornerback A.J. Bouye is another player to be feared, thanks to his 6 interceptions.

The offense has been better than expected. QB Blake Bortles came into this season much maligned. But he’s produced a solid campaign with 3,687 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.

RB Leonard Fournette adds another element to the offense. Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards and 9 touchdowns, despite missing a couple of games. The rookie added 302 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.

Jacksonville is at home, they have a great defense, and their offense is strong. Now Doug Marrone’s squad just needs to execute.

Prediction on Buffalo vs Jacksonville

Both the Bills and Jaguars will be amped for this game. But Jacksonville will be especially hyped, with their crowd relishing a home playoff game for the first time in almost two decades.

blake-bortles-jaguarsThis is the Jaguars’ game to lose, given the advantages they have. The only thing that worries me is Bortles’ tendency to have multiple interception games. Tossing two or three picks is the gift that Buffalo needs to keep this game competitive.

However, if Bortles can keep things under control – which he’s done a better job of this season – then Jacksonville should have no trouble winning at home. And I don’t see Buffalo having much success against this defense, especially if McCoy isn’t 100 percent.

Final Score Prediction: Jaguars 28, Buffalo 13.