Harry Gagnon’s Underdog Best Bet for the Conference Championships
The Tennessee Titans at the Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5) ——-> click here for full game preview
It is fair to say that betting against the Kansas City Chiefs in a normal game isn’t the brightest of moves. Throw in that it’s the playoffs and that the game is in Arrowhead Stadium the decision to bet against them looks even duller. However, with the way the Titans and Derrick Henry have been playing, I’m not afraid.
This is an historic run with what the Titans have done the past three weeks. It all started by beating the AFC South champs Houston Texans in the last game of the regular season just to qualify for the playoffs. The Titans then went into New England and not just beat the AFC East champs on their turf, but Tennessee shut them out in the second half (while also getting shut out in the second half until the final minute). The Pats have not been shutout in the second half of a home game since October 2016 versus the Bills and the Patriots quarterback that day was Jacoby Brissett.
Then last week they held the No. 1 seed and AFC North champ Ravens to 12 points; the fewest points they had scored at home since Week 4 of the 2017 season against the Steelers. Soon-to-be MVP Lamar Jackson could not do anything against Logan Ryan (13 tackles), Kevin Byard (11 tackles, one interception) and the rest of the Titans defense. So, if the Titans can beat the Chiefs, they would have taken down all four division winners in four consecutive weeks on the road; absolutely historic.
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What Will be the Underdog’s Difference in the AFC Championship Game
Running back Derrick Henry has been simply amazing in both those playoff
games going for 182 on 34 carries against the Pats and 195 versus the Ravens. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had three total TD’s against the Ravens and is on the verge of something historic as well as he leads this team into the AFC Championship game. In both wins he has passed for fewer than 100 yards in the wins. The last time a quarterback three for fewer than 100 yards in the playoffs in back-to-back wins was in 1972-74 when the Dolphins did it two years in a row and the Steelers accomplished the feat in the following season. Not only has this not been in 46 years, the kicker is that both those Dolphins teams and Pittsburgh went on to WIN the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes were off the charts last week but this Titans team getting 7.5 looks too good to pass up, especially since the Titans have history on their side as well. These two hooked up earlier in the season and the Titans won at home 35-32 despite Mahomes going for 446 and three TD’s. The reason was the monster in the backfield for the Titans; Derrick Henry was the difference against the 26th ranked run defense. Henry went for 188 yards, two TDs and averaged 8.2 yards a rush in that wild affair in Nashville. These same two teams met in the playoffs in 2017 where the Titans were a similar 7–point underdog and were down 18 at half but rallied, shutting Kansas City out in the second half and winning 22-21. The difference in that game? Yup, you guess it. Derrick Henry. He was a beast that day, finishing with 158 yards and a touchdown.
Here are the things I expect in this game: I absolutely expect this Titans defense to have a chip on their shoulder, Henry to run well, and Tannehill to continue to manage games and make the best of his first ever playoffs. The Chiefs may win this game and—yes, while last week’s staking the Texans 24 points before scoring 41 straight was something to behold—I don’t expect them to pull off a similar feat against the Titans. Even if the Chiefs do end up scoring points in bunches, I think the Titans will put an arrow through the Chiefs’ heart in the middle of one of their runs and keep the game close, something the Texans couldn’t figure out how to do.
31 Kansas City Chiefs
27 Tennessee Titans
Harry GagnonExpert Writer
Harry Gagnon spent 14 years as a Vegas Sportsbook Supervisor and holds a Communications degree from SUNY-Oswego. You might know him better as part of the Degenerate Trifecta on the award nominated betting podcast “Against All odds with Cousin Sal” on the Ringer Podcast Network. Feel free to find him on Twitter (@AAOHarry) and tweet him a message if you want to talk casinos, sports, or just shoot the breeze about betting in general cause, hey, that’s what Twitter is for, right?