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The Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons have only met once in the regular season since 2015. But the franchises, located just 250 miles apart, will face each other to get their 2021 NFL preseason schedules underway on Friday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Despite rarely meeting on the field recently, these teams have several strong links. New Atlanta coach Arthur Smith was an assistant in Tennessee from 2011 to 2020. The teams also made a blockbuster deal in the offseason that sent Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones to the Titans.

Kickoff from Mercedes-Benz Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET. The latest Titans vs. Falcons odds from Caesars Sportsbook list Atlanta as a one-point home favorite. The over-under, or total number of points expected, is set at 38. Before locking in any Falcons vs. Titans picks, be sure to see the NFL predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's Larry Hartstein

The SportsLine senior analyst and Early Edge podcast regular enters the the 2021 season 351-291 all-time on NFL sides (plus $2,212), including a 326-280 ATS mark. He's especially dialed-in on Tennessee, entering this matchup on a 20-7 roll on Titans picks against the spread, returning over $1,200 on those NFL picks alone. Anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, Hartstein has locked in on Titans vs. Falcons from every angle and released a confident against-the-spread pick for their 2021 NFL exhibition game. You can visit SportsLine now to get this pick. Here are several NFL odds and bettings trends for Falcons vs. Titans:

  • Titans vs. Falcons spread: Atlanta -1
  • Titans vs. Falcons over-under: 38 points 
  • Titans vs. Falcons money line: Atlanta -120, Tennessee +100
  • TEN: The Titans were 7-10 against the spread last season 
  • ATL: The Falcons were 7-9 against the spread last season 
Featured Game | Atlanta Falcons vs. Tennessee Titans

Why the Titans can cover

Like many teams in Week 1 of the NFL preseason, the Titans will be holding out several key players. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry are both expected to sit. Jones and A.J. Brown also aren't expected to see many, if any, snaps on Friday. But the Titans have depth at several spots that could pay off.

Darrynton Evans is a lightning-quick running back out of Appalachian State who is hungry to make his mark in Year 2, and he's expected to get the start. The Titans added depth at receiver this offseason with signings such as Josh Reynolds and Marcus Johnson, as well as by drafting Dez Fitzpatrick out of Louisville and Racey McMath from LSU. Players such as those should help reserve quarterbacks Logan Woodside and Matt Barkley keep the ball moving against an Atlanta squad that ranked 29th in the NFL last year in total defense.

Why the Falcons can cover

With both sides resting their big stars, this game could come down to motivation. The Falcons should have plenty of it as Smith looks to get off to a fast start. The Titans, on the other hand, haven't played particularly well in the preseason since Mike Vrabel took over in 2018. Tennessee is just 2-6 against the spread in the preseason under him, and the Titans have averaged only 13.6 points per game in those eight contests.

Reserve quarterbacks AJ McCarron and Feleipe Franks should be able to move the ball against a team that finished 24th in the NFL in scoring defense last year. The Titans made several moves to improve their defense in the offseason, but they won't have key additions like edge-rusher Bud Dupree, defensive lineman Denico Autry or cornerback Caleb Farley available on Friday. 

How to make Falcons vs. Titans picks

Hartstein has analyzed this matchup and we can tell you he's leaning under on the total. He has also discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. You can only get Hartstein's expert NFL picks at SportsLine.

Who wins Titans vs. Falcons? And which critical X-factor makes one side of the spread hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see Larry Hartstein's Falcons vs. Titans picks, all from the NFL expert on a 20-7 roll on picks involving Tennessee, and find out.