There’s a significant difference between the mathematics that are used in Las Vegas and the mathematics in NashVegas (Nashville).
Let’s flashback to last April. Shortly after the 2013 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans were given 100-to-1 odds to win Super Bowl XLVIII. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars were given worse odds (200-to-1). That didn’t stop head coach Mike Munchak from setting his sights on “One mission… one goal.” That goal was the Super Bowl.
Either Las Vegas strongly disagrees or they understand that few people share Munchak’s sentiments. On June 24, National Football Post published NFL betting opportunities currently being offered at the LVH SuperBook in Las Vegas. Check them out.
One line that caught my attention: Titans (-6.5). That’s surprisingly low and it makes me wonder whether Vegas knows something that other fans don’t know. The Titans are coming off a season when they finished with a 6-10 record. Without a botched call in a home game against the Indianapolis Colts, that could’ve easily been seven wins.
This (-6.5) line suggests that the Titans didn’t improve. Let’s review some of the biggest changes that were made this offseason:
- Healthy Jake Locker
- Shonn Greene Added for Short-Yardage, Goal-Line Situations
- Kenny Britt, Justin Hunter another Year Removed from Knee Injuries
- Revamped Offensive Line with Chance Warmack and Andy Levitre
- Sammie Lee Hill Replaces Sen’Derrick Marks
- Healthy Colin McCarthy
- Bernard Pollard and George Wilson Added at Strong Safety
- Revamped Coaching Staff that Includes Sylvester Croom, Shawn Jefferson, Gregg Williams.
- Dowell Loggains Has Entire Offseason to Install Offense
There’s also the “Win Now!” mentality from owner Bud Adams. All these changes are supposed to equal—maybe one win?
Compare that with NashVegas math. On Apr. 28, Titan Sized conducted a fan poll that asked, “Super Bowl or Bust: What Are Your Expectations for 2013-14 Tennessee Titans?” Of 185 respondents, only 29 voters predicted anything fewer than nine wins. 11 of those respondents expected this team to regress from last season.
Recent history suggests that it’s quite risky to choose “under.” Since relocating to Tennessee (not Nashville) for the 1997-98 season, the Titans have had four seasons when they finished with fewer than seven wins: 2004 (5-11), 2005 (4-12), 2010 (6-10) and 2012 (6-10). That last 6-10 season came despite a defense that surrendered a NFL-worst 471 points and an offense that was doomed with a bum-shouldered quarterback and inept offensive system. While it’s not impossible, it’s very unlikely that either component would regress from the previous season, especially defense.
It’s time to take a quick glance at the schedule. You’ll see six very winnable games that include vs. San Diego Chargers, vs. New York Jets, vs. Kansas City Chiefs, vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, vs. Arizona Cardinals and at Oakland Raiders. They have 10 more attempts at one win (including at Jaguars). That covers the over.
Injuries can affect these predictions. However, even if Locker were injured, the Titans have a backup quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick) who took a less-talented Buffalo Bills team to back-to-back 6-10 seasons. This team doesn’t appear to have a player who, if they got injured, would destroy their season (e.g. Peyton Manning missing 2011-12 season).
If I were a betting man then I’d take the over (-6.5). Hopefully you would/will too. If you’re enough of a hater/pessimist to take the under (6.5), then let me know. After the season ends (or when the Titans enter the bye week 7-0)*, I’ll tell you “Here’s your sign—your fabulous sign.”