NFL Picks: Buy Low on Jaguars as -3 Home Chalk Against Falcons

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 1:01 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015 1:01 PM UTC

Can Jaguars back up last week’s impressive win? Bookies think so, if the NFL betting lines were any indication. Find out where we’re going with our NFL picks when the Jaguars host the Falcons.

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NFL Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars Against the Spread
Best Line Offered: -3 (-112) at Pinnacle


Atlanta Falcons Freefalling
No team has confounded NFL bettors as much as the Atlanta Falcons have this season. From a perfectly sublime 5-0 SU start on the season, the Falcons, all of a sudden, started to freefall. So profound and utterly perplexing has been their demise on the season that we’re all left scratching our heads.

Since reaching the lofty heights and seducing NFL experts and analysts into slotting them amongst the viable contenders this season, the Falcons have gone on a horrendous run of form that includes one win in eight games and nine straight misses against the spread. By the stats, that amounts to a 6-7 SU mark and a 4-9 ATS mark, underscored by a 1.2-point losing margin on average and a negative 3.2-point differential against the spread.

It’s interesting to note that the Falcons didn’t officially fall out of favor at the sports betting shops until December when they travelled to Tampa Bay as the nominal 1-point underdogs. Prior to their AFC South showdown with Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers, the Falcons continued to hold court as favorites on the NFL Odds board.

When the Falcons travelled to New Orleans as the 3-point road favorites in week 6, few took issue with the NFL betting line. They boasted a 5-0 SU record at the time. Although they lost 31-21 to the Saints, they came back on the NFL odds board as the 5,5-point road favorites over the Titans. That made sense then and the Falcons bounced back with a 10-7 win over the Titans, albeit failing to cover.

Things really started to unravel from then onwards as the Falcons lost to the Bucs at home 23-20 in overtime all while installed as the whopping 8-point home faves. That loss followed was followed by a 17-16 loss to the Niners, all while installed as the 75-point road faves.

Coming out of a week 10 bye, the Falcons then faced the Colts as the 3.5-point home faves only to lose 24-21. The Vikings arrived the next week only to heap more misery on the Falcons with a 20-10 loss all while the Falcons were favored yet again as the nominal 2-point home chalk. Finally, on the heels of that loss, bookies could no longer deny the awful truth. The Falcons were simply out of sorts, losing the plot somewhere between week 6 and 12 and didn’t appear to be anywhere close to finding it again.

Week 13’s loss to the Buccaneers marked a sweep by the hosts over the Falcons, not to mention the first time in forever that the Bucs were actually favored over the Falcons. Week 14 saw the Falcons close on the NFL betting floor as the 8.5-point road underdogs. The outcome doesn’t even bear mentioning… a 38-0 loss that made a mockery of the NFL betting line, not least the Falcons.

Given the negative trend of the Falcons since week 6, it’s no surprise that they are at the disadvantage on the NFL odds board in week 15 against a team they probably would have been favored against in season’s past. What is, somewhat, surprising is consensus betting trends and stats.

According to SBR consensus betting trends, the Jaguars have received 60.60% of the tickets wagered up to this points. That makes sense seeing as they’re riding solid form with a 4-3 SU record in their last seven games and a 5-2 ATS record, both of which include a whopping win and cover last week behind a 51-16 evisceration of the Colts as the 1-point home chalk.

Where there is a discrepancy is when we follow the money. Of the 60.60% tickets wagered, the actual money amounts to just 50.41% of the money. On the flipside, the 39.40% of tickets wagered on the Falcons amounts to almost the same money 49.59%. The disparity in the figures could mean sharp money is on the Falcons. Another indication that this could be a sharp money betting trigger is the reverse line movement on the Jaguars, coming down from -3.5 to -3.

Now that is fascinating, isn’t it? Losing streaks inevitably end. That’s the Law of Averages. Perhaps sharp bettors are hanging their hats on that maxim. Then there’s the notion that underdogs come back to perform better the week following a double-digit loss. That happened once for the Falcons when they lost to the Saints and came back to beat the Titans. Since then, they’ve lost six in a row and two of their last three losses were double-digit blowouts.

Put it this way –and, make no mistake, it’s a remarkable thing to say and nobody is more surprised by it than us – the Jaguars are playing some of the best football in the AFC South. True story. They might not win the AFC South or advance into the playoffs but this isn’t the instalment of season’s past. This is a renewed and reinvigorated growing team that’s showing a lot of promise. How can we bet against them now, not least when the alternative strikes such an unconvincing pose on the NFL odds board? Buy low and take the Jaguars as the 3-point home chalk on your NFL Picks this weekend to heap more misery on the Falcons.

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