How much is a Derrick Henry worth? About four points, according to oddsmakers who had the Los Angeles Rams listed as about a 4-point favorite Sunday night (at Fanduel), but moved that line into the -7.5/8 range when word broke that the Tennessee Titans superstar running back would miss time as a result of a foot injury.
Was that a big enough shift? Considering that Henry was on track to make a run at a second consecutive offensive player of the year award, it’d be hard to justify significantly less movement. That said, we crossed a key number at -7 and the hook is a factor now.
Let’s look at this mysterious Super Bowl XXXIV rematch from both perspectives in the betting realm.
WHY THE TITANS WILL COVER
You could argue that oddsmakers were pushing it in the first place. After all, Tennessee hasn’t lost a game in regulation since Week 1 and also has a strong coach, an established veteran quarterback, a solid offensive line and a decent enough defense.
Maybe they only should have been a field goal underdog with Henry, and maybe that line should have only moved a few points when he was ruled out because, well, running backs have historically been extremely replaceable.
A 7.5-point spread could represent found value for the Titans.
WHY THE RAMS WILL COVER
If any running back is irreplaceable these days, it’s Henry. He’s carried the Titans the last few seasons, and the Titans don’t have an obvious replacement who inspired much confidence. There’s no word on what Adrian Peterson has left in the tank, and Jeremy McNichols has carried the ball just seven times this season.
L.A. should also be fired up for new pass-rusher Von Miller to make his Rams debut in a prime-time home game, which counts for something both tangible and intangible.
The matchups also don’t favor the Titans, who will likely have to rely on the pass against a defense featuring Miller, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. And there’s a good chance a 20th-ranked Tennessee defense will struggle with a Rams offense that ranks No. 1 in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders.
TITANS RAMS PICK
The Henry factor is tough to gauge, but the Titans are too risky a pick even with that hook in your favor. Consider buying back to -7 to be safe if that’s on the table, but roll with the Rams.
LA Rams vs Tennessee Props – Anytime TD Picks
Jeremy McNichols +200 (DraftKings)
Derrick Henry’s replacement will have a ton of pressure on him to help shoulder the load of Henry’s loss to the Titans’ offense.
McNichols is great as a receiving threat out of the backfield. The Rams are 25th in receiving yards allowed by running backs and have allowed two touchdowns to running backs catching passes out of the backfield.
Tyler Higbee +225 (DraftKings)
The Rams are a tough team to find value on. Tyler Higbee at +225 is the best bet for any Rams player.
He is always on the field. Last week many starters got pulled due to the Rams routing the Texans. He played in 100% of the snaps in Week 7 and 8.
Ryan Tannehill +330 (FanDuel)
With Henry out for the rest of the season, Ryan Tannehill will have to be a bigger part of the run game.
The Rams have already allowed two rushing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Tannehill at +330 on primetime is a steal.
Ryan Tannehill OVER 265.5 Passing Yards
This total is far too low. The Titans are going to have to rely on the passing game more with Henry out. Julio Jones is also back.
AJ Brown OVER 74.5 Receiving Yards
AJ Brown is the hottest receiver in the league right now. I am expecting another 100-yard game from him.
Rams Titans Betting Trends
OVER is 16-2 LA Rams’ last 18 games against an opponent in the AFC South division.
OVER is 15-1 Tennessee’s last 16 Sunday road games
Titans are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games.
Titans are 14-4 SU in their last 18 road games
OVER is 15-6 Tennessee’s last 21 games played in November.
Rams are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games played in Week 9.
Titans 1-7 ATS since 2013 as road dog of TD or more