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Divisional Round Betting Odds, Trends, Breakdown and Pick: Bengals-Titans

Analysis and a best bet for Saturday's divisional round matchup pitting the Bengals against the top-seeded Titans.

The NFL divisional round kicks off Saturday afternoon when Joe Burrow and the Bengals head to Nashville to take on Ryan Tannehill and the Titans.

The Bengals advanced to the second round in the AFC after a thrilling 26-19 win over the Raiders last Saturday. Cincinnati, after winning the AFC North, has posted a 11-7 straight-up (SU) record, which has also returned a solid profit for sports investors with an identical 11-7 against the spread (ATS) mark. The Bengals, who covered the 6-point home line in their first playoff win in 31 years against Las Vegas, have now won four of their last five games.

The Titans, who won the AFC South with a 12-5 record, were also profitable for bettors to support with an accompanying 10-7 ATS mark. The Titans, who are 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS at home, have been dominant of late at Nissan Stadium, winning seven of their last eight.

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Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) runs for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Houston.

A question bettors will be forced to answer is two-fold: Just how healthy is Derrick Henry’s foot and how much of an impact can he have in his first action since Halloween? The star running back has not played since suffering the injury against Indianapolis back in Week 8.

In addition, the Bengals have struggled this season protecting Burrow (who was sacked a league-high 51 times in the regular season). Cincinnati, who only allowed two sacks in the win over the Raiders, will now face a fierce Titans pass rush led by Harold Landry, Denico Autry and Jeffery Simmons, who combined for 29.5 sacks in the regular season.

No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals (11-7) at No. 1 Tennessee Titans (12-5)

Spread: Cincinnati +3.5 (-110) | Tennessee -3.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Cincinnati (+155) | Tennessee (-188)
Total: 47– Over (-110) | Under 47 (-110)
Public (Spread) Betting Percentages: CIN 47% | TEN 53%
Game Info: Saturday Jan. 22, 2022 | 4:30 p.m. ET | CBS

Editor's Note - Odds are subject to change

The line has ticked up since the opener of Tennessee (12-5 SU; 10-7 ATS) as 3-point home favorites over Cincinnati (11-7 SU; 11-7 ATS) to a 3.5-point demand at SI Sportsbook. The total which opened at 47 has remained unchanged in early wagering.

Burrow pilots an explosive offensive attack that ranked seventh in scoring (27.1) in the regular season and nearly met their season average when they put up 26 points in their wild-card win. Burrow, who finished eighth among all quarterbacks with 34 touchdowns, threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns in his first career playoff start. 

The second-year signal caller has now thrown for 1,221 yards and 10 touchdowns in his last three games overall. Cincinnati possesses a host of offensive weapons in wideouts Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, as well as running Joe Mixon. In the club’s win over the Raiders, veteran tight end C.J. Uzomah added valuable production, finishing as the club’s second-leading receiver in receptions (6) and yards (64), while also adding a touchdown.

Chase, who broke Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson rookie receiving yard record with a new benchmark of 1,455 yards, was the club’s best player on the field against Las Vegas. The dynamic wideout, who finished third among all wide receivers with 13 receiving touchdowns in the regular season, led the team in receptions (9) and receiving yards (116) in his first career playoff game.

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On the other side of the formation, Higgins, who is battling a foot injury, struggled to make an impact hauling in only one of four targets for 10 yards. The former Clemson standout, who was tremendous down the stretch of the regular season averaging 6.2 receptions and 107.5 receiving yards over the club’s final six games, will need to contribute if the Bengals have any hopes of upsetting the Titans.

Joe Mixon, who finished third in the NFL in rushing yards (1,205) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (13) in the regular season, only amassed 76 total yards of production in the wild-card win over Las Vegas. The fifth-year back could struggle on the ground against Tennessee’s vaunted rush defense, which ranked second in the NFL only allowing 84.6 rushing yards per game. Jacksonville’s James Robinson (149) was the only opposing running back to top 100 yards rushing against the Titans all season. Upon a deeper dive, no opposing running back topped 47 rushing yards over Tennessee’s final eight games of the regular season.

Cincinnati Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase (1) runs during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Cincinnati.

On the other side of the ball, Ryan Tannehill has been outstanding over the team’s last three games, sporting a 7:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The veteran has shown superb leadership guiding the club to a 6-3 SU mark since the loss of Henry in Week 8. Tannehill, who is 2-2 in his career in the playoffs, will look to notch his first home playoff victory before the Titans faithful on Saturday.

In the passing attack, Tennessee features a solid tandem in wideouts A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. Despite missing four games due to injury, Brown still led the club in receptions (63), receiving yards (863) and receiving touchdowns (5). Since returning in Week 16, the powerful wideout has averaged 5.7 receptions and 84.7 receiving yards while adding two touchdowns in the club’s final three games of the regular season.

Jones, who has battled multiple injuries, only played in 10 regular season games. The Titans are hoping that Jones can carry over the momentum of scoring his only touchdown of the season in Week 18 into the postseason. Tennessee will need both Brown and Jones to exploit a 26th-ranked Cincinnati pass defense that is allowing 248.4 passing yards this season.

On the ground, Tennessee is expected to get back Henry and that will have an immense impact on the Titans' offense. In his nine-game absence, the Titans went with a committee approach, utilizing D’Onta Foreman, Dontrell Hillard and Jeremy McNichols. Foreman, who has three rushing touchdowns over the club’s final five games, will likely spell Henry at points in his first game action since October.

Cincinnati, who had previously lost eight consecutive playoff games, finally broke a playoff drought that dated back to 1991 in last week’s win over the Raiders. However, this will be the end of the line for the Bengals. Besides going 5-1 against AFC South rivals, the Titans have beaten San Francisco, Kansas City, Buffalo and the Rams this season. Notice something in common among those teams? They are all among the final eight teams playing in the Divisional Round this weekend. Battle tested, impressive victories, home field as well as the return of the best running back in the NFL. Lay the points.

BET: Tennessee -3 (Buy half-point)

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Wild-Card weekend did not get off on the right foot as the Raiders (+6) came up a few yards shy of back-dooring the Bengals and the Cowboys (-3) simply could not overcome tying the NFL record for most penalties (14) in a playoff game against the 49ers. The two total plays went 0-1-1 as Buffalo simply crushed my under (44) wager - playing a ‘flawless’ offensive game against New England, while a late two-point conversion by Philadelphia took my under wager (46) from a win to a push. My weekend closed out strong as Kansas City (-12.5) dominated as my lock of the weekend and the Rams (-4) came through in solid fashion, hammering the Cardinals.

2021 SI Betting Monday Night Football: 9-8 ATS / Props 16-12 +5.75 units
2021 SI Betting Playoffs: 2-3-1 ATS -1.30 units
2021 SI Betting NFL Football Overall YTD: 47-40-1 ATS & Props +9.82 units
2020 SI Betting NFL Football: 72-58-1 ATS (55%)

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