Carolina Panthers descend on Jacksonville Jaguars for week 1 of NFL betting. Check out our game preview, complete with NFL betting odds and picks.
Carolina Panthers Road Faves
Although the Jacksonville Jaguars are headed in the right direction – that is, according to NFL experts – bookies aren’t high on them in their week 1 opener against the Carolina Panthers. Sending the Jaguars into their home engagement as the decided +145 underdogs to win outright and as the 3-point home underdogs against the spread.
Carolina Panthers, who are trading as the -165 favorites to win outright and are sat on a field-goal line to the good, are coming off a rather bizarre 7-8-1 SU season that saw them clinch the NFC South title and roll into the second round of the NFL playoffs where they lost to the Seattle Seahawks after beating the Arizona Cardinals in the wildcard round.
The Panthers are looking to clinch a third straight NFC South title this season, but if the NFL odds were any indication, they are trading at +300 NFL odds – third favorites behind New Orleans Saints (+150) and Atlanta Falcons (+210).
Take nothing away from the Panthers though. It was their second straight NFC South title, which they pulled out of the hat despite several injury woes, including a couple involving Cam Newton, of which a harrowing car accident late in the season was the most alarming. Their run down the stretch – although at the expense of their abysmal opponents – was nothing short of impressive. It took a lot of guts and gumption.
To wrap up the NFC South title, they reeled off four straight wins down the stretch – wins over the Saints (41-10), Tampa Bay (19-17), Cleveland (17-13) and Atlanta (34-3). In the playoffs, they defied the NFL odds and defeated Arizona Cardinals, albeit Bruce Arians side was scraping the barrel of quarterbacks after widespread injury concerns at the position. That’s just the nature of the game and without apology they went on to give the Seattle Seahawks a right run for their money in the divisional round before succumbing to the defending champions 31-17.
During preseason, the Panthers deposited a 3-1 SU record, with wins over Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh Steelers. Only the New England Patriots thwarted an otherwise solid account with a 17-16 win in Charlotte.
Jacksonville Jaguars Home Underdogs
It’s hardly surprising to find the Jacksonville Jaguars at the disadvantage for their home opener in week 1 NFL betting. General consensus amongst various panels of NFL experts across all media platforms is that the Jaguars are “headed in the right direction.” Heading somewhere and actually getting there or even, for that matter, being there are entirely different things, nowhere more so evinced than by the NFL odds for the Jaguars to win the AFC South title, currently trading at +2000.
Of course, that massive price tag is partly down to the Indianapolis Colts, who have a stranglehold over the division and aren’t looking to relinquish it anytime soon so long as Andrew Luck continues to play at a high level. Jaguars, though, are partly responsible for their own NFL betting outlook too., Thanks to repeated disappointments in the league it’s hard to take them seriously until they put up some meaningful results.
Jaguars finished 3-13 SU last season, one win less than their 4-12 SU season in 2013-2014. The last time the Jaguars finished .500 was in 2010-2011 when they enjoyed an 8-8 SU record.
It’s a long way up for the Jaguars in a division that is steadily improving behind the reigning champions Colts and a Texans side that is growing in strength. Only kindred spirit Titans are enjoying a similar bleak plight. There are a lot of new additions to the team and Blake Bortles is entering his second year as the starter. Their offense has seen some improvement, which could lead to a better season than their last three successive debilitating accounts. However, expectations must be kept reasonable, particularly in opening week.
NFL Betting Verdict
The Jacksonville Jaguars strike a tempting pose as the 3-point home underdogs, so much so that the NFL betting public is split almost down the middle 50-50 in NFL betting markets. Ok, the Jaguars are improved, but not that improved really. So, our money is on the Panthers on our NFL picks as the 3-point road favorites. Where is your money?
NFL Picks: Panthers -3.0 (-110) at Pinnacle