Betting on the NFL is a continuous race to beat the market. Now that we are four weeks into the season, we have seen enough of each team to have a good idea of who they really are. Unfortunately, so have the industry's oddsmakers and the sharpest betting groups in the industry. It's always a rewarding feeling to see your strong preseason read lead to early season profits, but as the weeks pass, the edges slowly start to decrease as the market becomes more efficient.
Each week, bettors have to weigh the risk of betting into the numbers early versus the value of information that could come later in the week. It could be weather or injury-related, but the board lighting up on Sunday night is a good reminder that the market doesn't wait for anybody. So if there is an opportunity to bet around a key number, it could be short-lived if you don't take advantage. Here is one of my early bets for Week 5, and why I decided it was best to lock it up now at the current number available at BetMGM.
The Titans' offseason didn't convince many bettors they could regain the AFC's No.1 seed, but the last two weeks have shown us they are still more than capable of beating bad teams. Tennessee's running game looked in midseason form after King Henry punished the Colts' defense for 114 yards in a 24-17 win. In addition, QB Ryan Tannehill is operating at an efficient level. He ranks second in CPOE (completion percentage over expected), and his 56.7% success rate is also third among all quarterbacks. The offense will take a hit without WR Treylon Burks, but Robert Woods should be able to step into a more prominent role against a bottom-five secondary like Washington.
The Commanders have lost three straight games, and Carson Wentz is coming off another ugly performance. Wentz threw for 170 yards and two interceptions while averaging only four yards per pass attempt. Wentz has had multiple interceptions in half his games as the Commanders starter.
The way to stop the Commanders' offense is through pressure, and Mike Vrabel has the men upfront to get the job done. Denico Autry has been a solid addition to the Titans' defensive front. Autry, the former Colt, racked up two sacks and a forced fumble in yesterday's win over Indianapolis. Washington has been vulnerable to pressure all season, allowing Wentz to be sacked 17 times in four games. Here is why it will be an even more significant factor against Tennessee.
The Titans have been lights out against the run this season. Mike Vrabel's defense limits opponents to a league-low 30% success rate on the ground, including holding Jonathan Taylor to 42 yards on 20 carries. Without the threat of a running game, Wentz will be an easy target for the Titans' defense to tee off. Neither team is strong enough to survive losing the turnover margin, and I can see the Titans' pressure causing a few pivotal big plays. After losing to the Giants on a last-minute two-point conversion to start the season, Tennessee's defense has held off late rallies from the Raiders and Colts in the past two weeks. That gives me enough confidence to back Tennessee as a short favorite in a game I expect to come down the wire.