Each week, TheLines will provide a betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Thursday Night Football game. We’ll look at the TNF betting odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup and providing the week’s best prop bets.
TNF betting odds and analysis
San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans – 8:20 p.m. ET
The spread for this game has seen some major movement since the open, with Week 15 developments playing an instrumental role. Tennessee struggled to get any passing offense going against the Steelers in a 19-13 loss, with the fact Julio Jones exited yet another game with his perpetually troublesome hamstring to weaken an already pedestrian pass-catching corps a major culprit in their troubles.
Meanwhile, the 49ers surged to their fifth win in six games with an impressive 31-13 win over the Falcons. San Francisco continued to reap the benefits of a balanced offense though they will not be at full strength for Week 16 as Elijah Mitchell hasn’t been able to overcome his knee injury and concussion.
A number that was originally Titans -1 moved to 49ers -3.5 by Tuesday afternoon. The number jumped quickly to 3 initially and went all the way up to 4 at one point before dropping back to 3.5. It is now San Francisco .
The total has also seen some movement, although nowhere near as marked. It remains one of the lowest-projected scores on the slate, but it has inched upward from its original figure of 43.5. The figure bumped up to 44.5 in the immediate aftermath of Week 15 results and has toggled between 44 and 44.5 since then. It is currently .
- The 49ers are 7-7 against the spread this season, including 4-3 (57.1 percent) in their road games and 2-1 (66.7 percent) in non-conference games. The Over is 7-7 in San Francisco’s games this season, including 3-4 (42.9 percent) in its road games and 1-2 (33.3 percent) in its games against AFC opponents.
- The Titans are 8-6 (57.1 percent) against the spread this season, including 4-3 (57.1 percent) as a home team and 2-2 in non-conference games. The Over is 7-7 in Tennessee’s games this season, including 2-5 (28.6 percent) in its home games and 2-2 versus NFC foes.
Live betting angles: San Francisco at Tennessee
TNF prop search tool
Looking to bet on props for Thursday Night Football? Use our prop search tool to find the best odds across legal sportsbooks in the US.
49ers vs. Titans game matchup
The 49ers have benefited from Jimmy Garoppolo’s mostly strong play during their current stretch of strong play. The veteran signal-caller has completed 70.3 percent of his passes and put together a 10:3 TD:INT during that aforementioned six-game span. Garoppolo, who’s had more than his fair share of trouble in the past when defenses have been able to key on the air attack, seems to have a decent matchup on paper against Tennessee’s secondary, but there are caveats. The Titans have yielded nearly 20 passing yards per game fewer at home and has conceded just a 61.8 percent completion rate there. Additionally, Mike Vrabel’s charges have compiled 35 sacks and recorded 13 interceptions.
There’s seeming further bad news for San Francisco when looking at the matchup on the ground. No team has been stingier against the run on its home field than the Titans, which are allowing an NFL-low 79.9 rushing yards per game there. Tennessee is also conceding just 3.8 RB yards per carry overall and is allowing the league’s second-lowest explosive rush play rate (8%). Therefore, the prospects of establishing a balanced attack that can keep the defense honest seem a bit on the bleak side, and perhaps even more so if Mitchell remains out.
On the other side, Ryan Tannehill has plenty of his own problems to navigate but he will receive help Thursday as AJ Brown and Julio Jones are set to play. The Niners have been an unwelcoming matchup for quarterbacks, particularly on the road, where they’re giving up just 212.4 passing yards per contest.
Tennessee has managed to cobble together a competent ground attack lately despite the ongoing absence of Derrick Henry (foot). D’Onta Foreman has eclipsed 100 yards on the ground in two of the last three games and has recorded a pair of receptions in his last two contests as well. Dontrell Hilliard and Jeremy McNichols serve as serviceable change-of-pace/complementary options, with Hilliard also already boasting a 100-yard performance on his resume and averaging an outstanding 6.7 yards per rush. The 49ers could help facilitate more success for the group, considering San Francisco has allowed 117.6 rushing yards per road game, along with 4.4 yards per carry in that split. The Titans rank in the top 10 in rush play percentage at home (45.3), and if Tannehill is indeed down his top two wideouts for this contest, it’s conceivable Vrabel leans plenty on his diverse group of backs to chew up clock and keep the Niners defense on the field in what are projected to be temperatures in the mid-to-upper 40s.
The game will mark the 15th meeting between the 49ers and Titans, in a series the 49ers lead 9-5. The most recent game between the teams unfolded back in Week 15 of the 2017 season, when the 49ers notched a 25-23 home win. In that contest Garoppolo, then in his first 49ers season, threw for 381 yards and a touchdown. A rookie George Kittle finished with four receptions for 52 yards on five targets.
Best Thursday Night Football betting sites
How to watch Thursday Night Football
The Thursday Night Football schedule is the most complex of the primetime NFL spots.
The first Thursday season opener didn’t fall under the TNF title. Cowboys vs. Buccaneers in Week 1 was broadcast on NBC at 8:20 p.m. ET. And, the three-game Thanksgiving slate is carried by three different networks.
NFL Network broadcast the games in Weeks 2, 3 and 4. Then, starting in Week 5 with the matchup of the Rams vs. Seahawks, FOX NFL Network, and Amazon will simulcast the game.
Still with us? Each Thursday night game will begin at 8:20 p.m. Eastern, regardless of the network.
Games can be streamed on NFL Network, FOX Sports Go, Amazon Prime and Twitch. Additionally, NFL Network and FOX can be streamed on services such as Roku, PS4 and Xbox One.
Thursday Night Football betting tips
How to bet TNF like a sharp
Thursday Night Football condenses the practice week for coaches, decreases recovery time for players and limits opportunities for media members to uncover stories and create narratives. This unpredictability factor can help to level the sports-betting playing field.
Taking the most rested team is never a bad idea. You want the healthiest squad with the longest amount of preparation time since its last game.
Siding with the home team in what would otherwise be a pick’em doesn’t hurt, either. You want the team that’s spent the longest amount of time preparing in the proper city, not wasting what can be the better of a day traveling.
You want the healthiest side, as simple as that. Without a proper injury report, it can be tough to tell what level of health players will be at when gearing up to play in a big primetime spot. Don’t expect a player who left a game Sunday to return in elite form by Thursday. He’ll more than likely be a decoy.
Don’t fall into the public opinion trap of TNF always being a lousy game. It’s still one of only 16 games those two teams will play all year and most of them generally need to win. Coaches will do the best with what they have, and plenty of players (Hello, Nick Mullens!) have burst onto the scene with strong games while filling in for an injured starter.
Frequently Asked Questions
When does Thursday Night Football start?
The true 2021 Thursday Night Football slate started with the New York Giants taking on the Washington Football Team.
How to stream Thursday Night Football?
TNF can be streamed live on NFL Network, FOX Sports Go, Amazon Prime and Twitch. NFL Network and FOX can also be streamed through services such as Roku, PS4 and Xbox One.
What is the highest-scoring Thursday Night Football game ever?
The Los Angeles Rams defeated the San Francisco 49ers 41-39 in Week 3 of the 2017 campaign in the highest-scoring TNF game of all time.
Who are the TNF announcers?
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will return to broadcast TNF. Mike Pereira serves as the rules analyst with Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink working the sidelines. The same broadcast airs on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon.
Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer made history in 2018 as the first all-woman NFL broadcast team as an alternate stream for Amazon Prime viewers.
Who was the original Thursday Night Football broadcast crew?
The original TNF broadcast crew for NFL Network in 2006 was Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth.
Retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo memorably joined Jim Nantz for CBS’ final year of TNF coverage in 2017.
Who sings the Thursday Night Football theme song?
FOX and NFL Network air their own instrumental themes to begin the coverage, unlike the SNF and MNF primetime spots.