The 2019 NFL season has been a strange one for sports handicapping services, with very little separation between the top and bottom of the standings. We have elite teams like the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots (and even their validity is in question) and we have some historically bad ones, like the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.
That leaves a jumble in the middle of the standings, and with half a schedule still left to play, there are plenty of teams who could turn their fate around and make a run at a postseason spot – bring NFL bettors along for the ride.
Below are a couple teams that could catch fire in the second half of the schedule and surprisingly bet among the NFL best bets:
Tennessee Titans (4-4 SU, 3-4-1 ATS)
Tennessee has shown life since making the swap at quarterback, benching Marcus Mariota and going with former Dolphins passer Ryan Tannehill. Since them, the Titans have been better balances between the pass and run, had success in the red zone, and are converting third downs at a better rate.
The Titans played a road-heavy slate to start the season, with four of their first six games coming on the road. Following a Week 9 trip to Carolina, Tennessee plays four of the next six games at home. The Titans defense is among the NFL’s best and has kept this team in most games so far this season.
If the offense can continue to step up – and get some help from that home-heavy slate – Tennessee could pick up steam in the AFC South and push the Colts and Texans at the top of the standings. The Titans opened at +600 to win the AFC South and are now a 12/1 longshot – but a very live longshot.
Oakland Raiders (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS)
The Oakland Raiders are playing their first home game in almost 50 days in Week 9, coming off a nasty stretch of schedule that saw them playing five games away from home with a bye week sandwiched in there.
The Raiders were one of the worst offensive clubs in football last season, scoring less than 19 points per contests, but have found their form on that side of the ball. Oakland is among the top teams in yards per play and has posted scores of 24 points in three straight outings. While that may not measure up among the top scoring attacks in the league, it’s a huge improvement for Jon Gruden’s team.
Oakland starts a three-game home stretch with Week 9’s meeting versus the Detroit Lions, and faces the Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals the two following weeks. After a trip to New Jersey to play the Jets and a game at Arrowhead against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Silver and Black are back home for two more games: versus Tennessee and Jacksonville.
Given Patrick Mahomes’ health issues and the Chargers inconsistency, the door is open for Oakland to shock its way to the top of the AFC West. The Raiders opened as massive longshots to win the division at +1,400 but have cut that in half, down to +700 heading into Week 9.