NFL Picks: Patriots to Roll Over Jaguars & Cover ATS

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 6:51 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2015 6:51 PM UTC

The Jacksonville Jaguars are faced with an impossible task on Sunday when they take on defending champions New England Patriots. Is it going to be as lopsided a result as the NFL odds suggest?

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1, 0-0 away)
After back-to-back home games to start the season, the Jaguars hit the road. Of all the treks to make, their first is the most daunting as they are set to take on the defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots.

The guiding narrative about the Jaguars this season is that they are much improved on both sides of the ball. The quarterback position looks to be developing in the right direction behind Blake Bortles and their defense is gradually improving. This doesn’t mean that the Jaguars have all of a sudden become playoff contenders, but at the same time they aren’t the worst team in the NFL right now either. Not by a long shot with a total offense that ranks 21st (18th in passing and 17th in rushing) and with a total defense that is 9th in the league (20th against the pass and fifth against the rush). Of course, this is just a two-game snapshot, meaning it could change either way.

In beating the Miami Dolphins in week 2 NFL betting and coming through as the 6-point home underdogs in the 23-20 win, the Jaguars underscore the notion of being a much-improved side. But it didn’t really do much for them in terms of their upcoming clash with the Patriots because they opened as the 14-point road underdogs at most sportsbooks.

Since going to press, the NFL line has swung in both directions with most sportsbooks coming down to a 13.5-point line while some have moved up to a 14.5-point line (5Dimes). It’s quite a difference really, so if you’re looking to place a bet on this game shop for the best line that suits your purposes.


New England Patriots (2-0, 1-0 home)
The New England Patriots are flying high behind a 2-0 SU and ATS mark in the first two weeks of the season, which includes a 28-21 win over the Steelers and a 31-24 win over the Bills on the road. Both opponents figure to be solid teams this season, which validates their winning record further.

A lot is being made of the fact that the Patriots are playing mad and with a chip on their shoulder after being vindicated in the deflate-gate scandal. Inasmuch as that may be true, nobody is really surprised about the level of intensity and quality they are playing with. After all, it’s nothing new where they are concerned.

In two rounds they’ve outscored opponents 68-to-53 for a 15-point differential and Tom Brady leads the offensive leaders board with 755 yards, 7 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions. In total offense, they are second with 868 yards but first in passing offense and 28th in rushing offense. On the defensive side of the ball, they aren’t totally infallible, ranking 29th in total defense, 22nd against the pass and 28th against the rush.

If there were one guiding statistic, however – over and above the simple fact that they are a household name in the game and an established heavyweight – it’s home form. The Patriots are 26-4-0 SU at home with a 12.6-point margin of victory since 2012. If we were to narrow the time range further: since 2013, they are a league-leading 19-1-0 SU at home with a 13.9-point winning margin. Over the same time, they boast a 13-7-0 ATS mark as the home team and an 11-7-0 ATS mark as the home favorite.


NFL Betting Verdict
There’s no doubt about which team is the smart NFL pick to win outright: Patriots, obviously. However, the side that is the smart NFL pick to cover demands some attention. Typically, playing with such large spreads on the NFL odds board is tricky. It does seem like a lot of points to be dishing out either way for an NFL game. Past NFL betting trends reveal that the Patriot are 5-0 SU in the last five meetings with the Jaguars and 4-1 ATS when playing the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium. Twice when faced with double-digit spreads in previous meetings, the Jaguars covered. However both those games are out-of-date, going back to 2012 and 2008. Instinct is to go with the Jaguars to cover, which is helped along by the notion that they are a much-improved side. However, for our money, we’re going to take a shot at the Patriots covering the 13.5-point spread, on the strength of their start to the season against even better teams and the idea that they have something to prove in 2015.

NFL Picks: Patriots -13.5 (-110) at BetOnline

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