Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Why are the 49ers laying 3 at the Titans on a short week? Week 16 betting odds and pick

Dec 22, 2021 at 9:23 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers improved their playoff chances in a game they were supposed to win, covering more than a touchdown at Levi's for the first time since 2019 in the process, and will carry a two game-win-and-cover streak into a short week when they travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans on Thursday Night Football. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.

  • When: Thursday, December 23rd, 2021 at 5:20 pm PT (CBS)
  • Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Line: 49ers -3, over/under 44

Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans failed to score in the second half of a 13-19 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers and have now lost three of their last four games.

After fifteen weeks, Tennessee ranks 22nd in total weighted DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at -10.1 percent, 24th in offensive DVOA at -8.4 percent with a 26th ranked offensive pass DVOA at -2.9 percent and 17th ranked offensive rush DVOA at -5.8 percent. The Titans defense is rated 13th in defensive DVOA at -0.5 percent with a 15th rated defensive pass DVOA at 4.8 percent and 17th rated defensive rush DVOA at -9.5 percent.

Ryan Tannehill is 28th in defense-adjusted yards above replacement (DYAR) at -280 and 14th in total QBR at 51.4 with 14 touchdown passes, 14 interceptions, 3 fumbles lost and a 66.4 completion percentage. Tennessee's offensive line is 15th in run blocking with 4.31 adjusted line yards and 28th in pass protection with adjusted sack rate of 8.7 percent. The Titans' defensive line is 9th against the run with 4.05 adjusted line yards and 6th with an adjusted sack rate of 7.2 percent.

The Titans have an ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) of 0.5 and are 8-6 ATS and 7-7 to the over/under.

Derrick Henry, Rodger Saffold III are on IR, AJ Brown may return from IR, Taylor Lewan, David Long Jr. and Larrell Murchison are out, Julio Jones, David Quessenberry, D'Onta Foreman, Jackrabbit Jenkins and Teair Tart are probable for Week 16.

San Francisco 49ers

Behind 162 total rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns on 32 carries, solid redzone defense and three fourth-down stops, the Niners overcame an early fumble to control the Atlanta Falcons in a 31-13 win at home.

San Francisco ranks 8th in total weighted DVOA at 20.9 percent, 4th in offensive DVOA at 15.5 percent with a 4th ranked offensive pass DVOA at 33.2.percent and 4th ranked offensive rush DVOA at 7.1 percent. The 49er defense is rated 6th in defensive DVOA at -5.1 percent with a 21st rated defensive pass DVOA at 7.1 percent and 2nd rated defensive rush DVOA at -22.6 percent.

Jimmy Garoppolo is 9th in defense-adjusted yards above replacement (DYAR) at 762 and 10th in total QBR at 54.3 with 18 touchdown passes, 8 interceptions, 2 fumbles lost, and a 67.9 completion percentage. San Francisco's offensive line is 14th in run blocking with 4.32 adjusted line yards and 18th in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate of 6.6 percent. The Niners' defensive line is 4th against the run with 3.60 adjusted line yards and 9th with an adjusted sack rate of 7.2 percent.

The 49ers have an ESPN FPI of 3.4 and are 7-7 ATS and 7-7 to the over/under.

Talanoa Hufanga, Dre Greenlaw, Elijah Mitchell and Maurice Hurst are out, Jaquiski Tartt is probable and Azeez Al-Shaair is questionable for Week 16.


Tennessee is 2-0 ATS as a home underdog, beating both Buffalo and Kansas City in Nashville, 3-1 ATS after a loss and 5-2 ATS as an underdog and they are alone in first place of the AFC South and coming off of a loss. Conventional wisdom has suggested that home teams have a significant advantage on the short week that comes with Thursday Night Football, especially later in the season. So why would Vegas give the Titans three points at home this Thursday night?

The Titans were able to upset Buffalo and Kansas City as home dogs behind the pounding rushing attack of Derrick Henry, and while they were able to compensate for awhile when Henry first went down, their offensive efficiency has declined significantly in recent weeks, even more so with AJ Brown going out and Julio Jones being affected by injury.

Even if AJ Brown suits up Thursday and with the Titans recent poor performances possibly lowering their market value, Tennessee is still an overrated first place team whose offense has been exposed without Henry.

Vegas giving a first place team three points at home on a Thursday night game is just begging bettors to take the home dog, but we are not going to fall into that trap. Whether one likes it or not, Jimmy Garoppolo is a top ten quarterback in the NFL, significantly more efficient than Tannehill, who has as many interceptions as touchdowns and has been fumbling the ball and getting sacked more frequently behind a porous offensive line, and the Niners offense has steadily improved to emerge as top-four in passing and rushing efficiency and a superior unit compared to Tennessee.

The Titans defense did get Bud Dupree back last week and are a decent unit with head coach Mike Vrabel being defensive-minded but it is also an inferior unit to a 49ers defense that is 6th in defensive efficiency, a Niners pass rush that has been getting after the quarterback more effectively with eight sacks in the past two games, and we anticipate Nick Bosa and the 49ers defense to be able to get to Tannehill and limit an already bottom-tier passing attack.

Tennesee's rushing offense is its strength but still without Henry and it will be facing the strength of San Francisco's defense and not likely to have much success. Though this appears to be a terrible spot for San Francisco, with the short week, travel, San Francisco being more and Tennessee being less valued by the recent market, we expect San Francisco's pass rush to make up for limitations in the secondary even if both AJ Brown and Julio Jones are active, and the Niners balanced offensive attack to find its way to put up more points than Tennessee.

Pick: 49ers -3

2021 Season ATS: 7-7


  • What is your best bet for 49ers at Titans on 12/23/21?
  • 49ers -3
  • Titans +3
  • Over 44
  • Under 44
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