When the 49ers (8-6) travel to play the Titans (9-5) in the opening game of a critical Week 16 in the NFL on “Thursday Night Football” (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network), they will be looking to strengthen their solid NFC wild-card chances. The Titans, meanwhile, don’t want to let the AFC South title slip through their fingers to the Colts (8-6), who can boast a win at San Francisco this season.
San Francisco has become a well-oiled offensive machine again as it can still run the ball while Jimmy Garoppolo keeps getting it done passing to Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk. Tennessee has done well to run well without Derrick Henry, but with injuries to the receiving corps, it’s a shell around Ryan Tannehill.
Here’s everything to know about betting on 49ers vs. Titans in Week 16, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for “Thursday Night Football.”
49ers vs. Titans odds for Thursday Night Football
- Spread: 49ers by 3.5
- Over/under: 44.5
- Moneyline: 49ers -184, Titans +154
The line has been in the 49ers’ favor since the opening numbers. They are 5-2 on the road this season, which is factoring into it. There’s not much of a surprise as the depleted Titans are not playing well and the healthier Niners are on fire.
(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)
49ers vs. Titans all-time series
The teams have played only 14 times over the years. The 49ers hold a 9-5 edge. The 49ers also have a two-game winning streak from 2013 and 2017 going back to the start of the Kyle Shanahan era but predating Mike Vrabel with the Titans.
Three trends to know
—56 percent of spread bettors like the Titans to get the job done as classic night home underdogs with a better record, helped by that extra half-point.
—66 percent of over/under bettors think the total is a little too low, despite the Titans’ latest anemic offense and the 49ers’ methodical nature.
—The 49ers are 6-4 against the spread and 6-4 straight up in their past 10 games. The total has gone over in half of them. The Titans are also 6-4 ATS but 7-3 straight up in the past 10 games, also witih 5 going over.
Three things to watch
George Kittle comes home
The 49ers all-everything beast of a receiving tight end makes his offseason home in Nashville. The NFL scheduling gods gave him a chance to celebrate Christmas in a big way there. The Titans are a tough tight end defense because of safety Kevin Byard and others, but Kittle is a different manner of behemoth. They were able to contain the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce (7 catches for 65 yards on 12 targets) at home in Week 7 and must do the same here to win again.
Deebo Samuel, double threat
Samuel is a nightmare matchup for the Titans’ secondary and linebackers because of his speed and quickness, both able to do damage after the catch in open field and also stretch the field before the catch. Should the Titans contain Kittle, Samuel can still erupt along with fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk.
Who will make plays for the Titans?
The Titans have been leaning a lot on fill-in running backs D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard to move the ball. But they need someone to step up in the passing game with Julio Jones (hamstring) hurting again. They will be very hopeful, then, that they can activate wide receiver A.J. Brown (chest) off injured reserve. He would step into an instant busy role against a weak 49ers defense.
Stat that matters
73.8 percent. That’s the rate at which the 49ers convert touchdowns when they get inside the opponent’s red zone. That mark is a dominant No. 1 in the NFL. The Titans rank No. 8 in red zone defense but haven’t faced a versatile scoring machine like this. The 49ers are so good because they can run, throw to Kittle and also have the hybrid of Samuel near the goal line.
49ers vs. Titans prediction
The 49ers will fly out of the gate with their offense, getting some big pass plays from Kittle, Samuel and Aiyuk. Then they will work on grinding the game away with help from their defense. The Titans stay in it with some decent running and second-half adjustments, but in the end, they are just not good enough in their current state to pull off the mild upset.
49ers 23, Titans 20.