Thursday Night Football Betting Preview

Titans at Jaguars

Each week, TheLines will provide a daily betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Thursday Night Football game. We’ll look at the odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup and providing the week’s best TNF betting promotions.

The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars will face off at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in a Week 3 AFC South battle. The two rivals will be meeting for the 50th time. Tennessee enjoys a healthy advantage in the series, having won 29 out of the first 49 encounters.

TNF betting odds and analysis

The line on this game has seen significant movement since the open. The Jaguars began as 3.5-point favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook originally. However, the spread moved to -1.5 in favor of Tennessee as of Tuesday afternoon, despite their visitor status. The notable line movement comes even in the wake of Week 2 losses by each squad. What’s more, the Jaguars’ one-point road loss to a Texans team that had hung with a healthy Saints team on the road in Week 1 was arguably more “impressive” than a typically perplexing Titans’ stumble at home against the Colts.

With the two teams scuffling to move the ball consistently through the first two weeks, this game has a minuscule projected total by current-day NFL standards. Oddsmakers set the number at 40 combined points. As detailed further in this article, each team’s track record versus the Over in 2018 was spotty at best. Additionally, each of the last three meetings between the teams has finished under 40 points.

Another key factor with respect to betting the projected total is the status of the Jaguars’ pair of star cornerbacks. While A.J. Bouye (hip) remains questionable at best for Thursday after missing Jacksonville’s Week 2 matchup, Jalen Ramsey is demanding a trade from the team and reports indicate he could be moved this week. Even if Ramsey is still with the team Thursday, there’s at least an outside chance he’s a healthy scratch in order to guard against injury, particularly if a deal appears close to being consummated.

The Titans are an impressive 6-2 versus the Jaguars during the Marcus Mariota era (2015-present). That includes victories in two of the last three meetings in Jacksonville. Each team was just 3-5 last season in the home/road splits that apply to them Thursday. In 2019, Tennessee is 1-0 on the road after having defeated the Browns in Cleveland in Week 1. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is 0-1 at home after suffering a 40-26 loss to the Chiefs in their opener, the game in which quarterback Nick Foles was lost to a collarbone injury.

Week 3 game matchup

As was the case in a Week 2 Thursday night battle between the Buccaneers and Panthers, this week’s game features a showdown between two teams highly familiar with the other. However, this current version of the Jaguars offense has one key x-factor – rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew. The Washington State product was thrust into action after Foles’ Week 1 injury.

Through the game-plus in which he’s been under center, Minshew has actually acquitted himself very well. The first-year signal caller has generated a stellar 77.6 percent completion rate on an average of 8.4 yards per attempt. He’s also posted a respectable 3:1 TD:INT and notched six completions of 20 yards or greater, including one over 40. Moreover, Minshew has proven nimble on his feet, adding 62 yards on just seven rushes. He’s also shown very good chemistry with receivers Chris Conley and D.J. Chark, with both wideouts showing plenty of big-play ability early. But the two are currently nursing hip and ankle injuries, respectively.

The Titans defense is adept at disguising its intention pre-snap. Their penchant for on-field chess is sure to manifest against the inexperienced Minshew, which certainly has the potential to trip the rookie up from time to time. Then, Tennessee has done an admirable job on Leonard Fournette throughout his first two seasons. The Titans have limited the bruising back to 3.1 yards per carry over 47 career carries against them. The Jags’ line also struggled to open lanes for Fournette in Week 2, as he was held to just over three yards per tote.

Meanwhile, while the Jacksonville defense remains a solid unit, it could be depleted in key areas heading into this short turnaround game. In addition to the aforementioned cornerback issues the Jags may be dealing with, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue will likely be 50/50 to suit up after missing Week 2 with a hamstring issue. Starting safety Ronnie Harrison is also nursing an ankle injury.

A weakened group would certainly benefit Mariota and running back Derrick Henry, who trampled the Jags last season for 295 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries. The bulk of that production coincidentally came in a memorable Thursday night contest in Week 14 in Tennessee that saw Henry take 17 carries for 238 yards and the four scores.

KEY MATCHUP: Titans secondary vs. Gardner Minshew. As mentioned previously, Tennessee can make life difficult on opposing quarterbacks with the well-disguised schemes of coach Mike Vrabel and defensive coordinator Dean Pees. That much was evident during the second half in Week 1, when the Titans nabbed three interceptions off Baker Mayfield to facilitate a blowout win. However, they’re certainly not infallible, as Jacoby Brissett touched them up for three touchdown passes on their home field. How effective they are in perplexing Minshew consistently will be a key to this game. Part of slowing down the rookie will also be putting the clamps on him when he takes off with the ball, and on that note, the Titans checked in about league average in rushing yards allowed to quarterbacks last season (299).

ALSO READ: Sunday Night Football Betting Preview: LA Rams at Cleveland Browns

Week 3 TNF betting breakdown

The Titans hold a 29-20 record in the all-time series and have won six of the last seven meetings, including two out of the last three on the Jaguars’ home field.

Tennessee took the first meeting between the two teams last season, 9-6, on the road. The Titans subsequently triumphed by a 30-9 score at home in Week 14.

The Titans were 8-8 against the spread last year, including a 1-2 as an away favorite. Tennessee was also 3-3 versus the number in division games. Then, the Over was 8-8 in the Titans’ games last season, including 3-4 in their away games.

The Jaguars were 5-9-2 against the spread last year, but 2-0-1 as a home underdog. Jacksonville was also 1-4-1 versus the number in division games. Then, the Over was 6-10 in the Jaguars’ games last season, including 2-5 in their home games.

Through two games this season, both teams are 1-1 ATS, while the Over is 1-1 in each of the two teams’ first two contests as well.

Titans vs. Jaguars picks and predictions

Watch Matt Brown break down this matchup from top to bottom, offering his thoughts on the moneyline, spread and total at PlayPicks.com.

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How to watch Thursday Night Football

The Thursday Night Football schedule is the most complex of the primetime NFL spots.

First, the Thursday, Sept. 5 season opener doesn’t fall under the TNF title. That game will be available on NBC and will begin at 8:20 p.m. Eastern. Then, the three-game Thanksgiving slate in Week 13 will be carried by three different networks.

FOX gets the 12:30 p.m. Eastern spot featuring the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. CBS carries the Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and NBC finishes the day with the New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons at 8:20 p.m. Eastern.

NFL Network carries the exclusive rights in Weeks 2 and 3. It will also carry special editions of TNF on the Sundays of Weeks 6 and 9, with the games being broadcast from London, England.

NFL Network, FOX and Amazon Prime Video each carry the Thursday broadcast in Weeks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 15. Week 16 is converted into a Saturday tripleheader with each game available only on NFL Network.

Still with us? Each Thursday night game will begin at 8:20 p.m. Eastern, regardless of the network. Both Sunday morning games from London begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

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.

Whether it’s the mid-week time slot, the perceived lower-quality game, or the hurdles people have to go through to find the proper channel, TNF has been among the lowest-rated games of the NFL season. Last year, in FOX’s first with the coverage rights, the ratings jumped seven percent from 2017. The Week 15 contest closed the year for FOX with a 12.4 overnight rating, according to Nielsen.

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 (or backup in Mullens’ case).

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Thursday Night Football start?

Thursday Night Football will begin with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Carolina Panthers in an NFC South matchup to begin Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season. The game will start at 8:20 p.m. Eastern and will be available exclusively on NFL Network. Games will air weekly through Week 15 at 8:20 p.m. Eastern, with the exception of the three-game Thanksgiving slate. Those begin at 12:30, 4:30, and 8:20 p.m. Eastern, on FOX, CBS and NBC, respectively.

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 for a second year at the helm of TNF. Mike Joy will cover for Buck during the MLB Playoffs. 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 last year 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.