After a disastrous 2-14 SU season in 2012, will Jacksonville be better, or worse in 2013? LVH Sportsbook in Las Vegas has the Jags handicapped to 5 wins this season, with the over chalked up to -130, and the over priced at +110. So did the Jags get three wins better this offseason, or will they fall under once again?
Unlike the other teams in their division, Jacksonville has the 13th highest strength of schedule of the NFL this season. They open up against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 at home, and in their first eight weeks of football they have to play the likes of Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco. It doesn't get much easier after that. After their bye week, three of their next four games will be on the road.
With new head coach Gus Bradley, Jacksonville has been trying to renew their defense, one of the worst in the NFL last season. I sincerely doubt the Jags will be giving up over 140 yards per game on the ground in 2013, but you can't fix a 2-14 football team in one season. I see Jacksonville struggling once again in 2013, but there are multiple winnable games at home this season for the Jaguars. Even if they lose every road game they play this season SU, they could still very well either push or cover the over in their season wins total. Home games against the likes of Kansas City, San Diego, Arizona, Buffalo and Tennessee are all very winnable for the Jags this season if they can put somtehing resembling a football team on the field every week.
A much improved 2-14 football team from last season faces off against another in Week 1, as the Chiefs head into Jacksonville to play the Jags. NFL odds have the road team as -2.5 favorites in this spot, with a total of only 39 points. After opening at -1.5, the line has been forced to -2.5 after almost every bet so far on this game has come in on the Chiefs laying a couple of points.
I think 2013 is going to be a lot like 2012 for Jaguars fans, and even if they have somewhat improved since last season, the Chiefs are going to come into Jacksonville and cover this spread. It might not be a pretty game, and it will likely be lower scoring, but I’m seeing a 24-16 type of game in favor of the Chiefs in Week 1 of the NFL season.
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The Sharp Pick
As much as I want to believe the Jags will be improved enough to go 6-10 SU, I’m not buying it, and I think the ‘Under’ is the way to go. I love some of the pieces on offense, but Justin Blackmon is going to miss at least 25% of the season due a suspension from the league’s substance abuse policy. With that important of a dynamic missing early on, Cecil Shorts will be doubled and Maurice Jones-Drew will be targeted even harder. With that kind of offensive handicap going into the season, it could be all down hill from there for Jacksonville and their fans. For my NFL picks, I'll definitely be taking the ‘Under.’
My Pick: ‘Under’ 5 +110
Week 1 Lean: Chiefs -2.5 at Bet365.com