NFL odds favor Titans versus Denver Broncos

By: Jimmy Sirody | Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Vince Young

Tennessee was turnover free in its Week 3 win at the New York Giants.

The Denver Broncos have a wheezing ground game, a turnstile offensive line and issues finishing drives, ingredients that will add up to many more losses if they don’t fix things fast.

The Broncos are in a tough stretch. They aren’t playing terrible, but winning Sunday at Nashville would be an upset. Most offshore sportsbooks opened Tennessee as 6 ½-point NFL spread favorites, with the ‘total’ set at 41 ½.

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Even without any semblance of a rushing attack, Denver is getting itself into the red zone more often than any team in the NFL. The Broncos have been able to bend opposing defenses, but with the exception of Seattle, have not been able to break through.

Racking up 519 yards of offense and scoring only 13 points is a hard thing to do in the NFL. Then again, turning the ball over three times on downs in scoring position will do that to you and that’s what Denver did last week while losing at home to the Indianapolis Colts, 27-13.

So far, the defense has led the way for the Titans. The unit, among the league’s worst in 2009, has allowed just 42 points. Only four teams have allowed fewer points through three games.

However, that defense will have to play better when Denver visits Sunday. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw for 386 yards last week against Tennessee and Broncos’ quarterback Kyle Orton threw for a career-best 476 yards against the Colts.

If the Titans are to return to the playoffs, the passing offense will look like it did in the Derrick Mason playoff years, a maturing quarterback with a valuable number-one receiver and a collection of players in complementary role.

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That hasn’t been the case thus far despite Tennessee’s 2-1 record. Vince Young remains a work in progress. When the Titans throw 35 times like they did against Pittsburgh two weeks ago, they’re toast. That’s not how the offense is built in terms of philosophy and personnel.

Tennessee really needs to find a happy medium between the run and the pass. Chris Johnson can’t continue to carry the ball 32 times, as he did against New York. Through three games Johnson has more carries (75) than any other running back in the league. Young, meanwhile, has thrown fewer passes (43) than any other starting quarterback.

Orton is not perfect, but he has been very good. Denver has a lot of receiving options and the passing game is making up for the porous run game.

Look for the Broncos to pick on Alterraun Verner, a fourth-round pick out of UCLA, who will be the starter for the Titans at left corner in place of Jason McCourty (broken left forearm).

Verner kept things under control throughout the final two-plus quarters against the Giants. He made four tackles, broke up one pass and recovered a fumble and the Titans blanked New York in the second half.

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Tennessee has cashed 10 of its last 14 versus teams on the minus side of the ledger. However, the Titans have failed to ‘cover’ in 10 of 12 tries during Week 4 and they are 9-17 ATS after scoring 28 points or more.

Denver’s visit to Music City is the first of two straight games on the road. The Broncos are 29-14 ATS in the first game of a two-city trip.

Tennessee has ended on the up side at a 24-10-1 clip after winning SU as dogs. The Titans have also zipped ‘over’ in 29 of 43 at home versus non-division foes and topped the ‘total’ at a 10-2-1 rate during Week 4.

Denver has eclipsed the ‘total’ in its last five road contests and in seven of eight overall. However, the Broncos have strayed ‘under’ in 12 of 17 road tests after losing by 10 points or more.

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