Take Bills -2 over Jaguars in NFL Week 15

Darin Zank

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 3:32 PM GMT

If the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't careful, they're going to play themselves out of the running for a top-3 pick in the next NFL draft.

Winners of three games in a row the Jags will try to make it four straight when they host the Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon (1 pm ET, CBS).

Both teams are 4-9 on the season, but J'Ville is trending up, while Buffalo is doing the opposite.

Which way do we think this game might fall along the betting line?

Bills-Jags Betting Odds

Most books we sampled chalked Buffalo by a field goal on their opening NFL lines; but as of Wednesday AM most shops had dropped that spread to -2.

Most books also opened the OVER/UNDER on this game at right around 43, and that number had held steady in the early betting.

Jacksonville could also be gotten at upwards of +115 on the NFL betting moneyline.

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Bills-Jags Game Set-Up

Jacksonville started 0-8 this year, and looked like they'd have trouble beating Florida State. The Jags lost their opener to KC by scoring just two points, got blown out by Seattle and Indy, and later by the 49ers in London, and basically looked rather inept through the first half of the season.

But suddenly the Jags have won four of their last five games, including their last three in a row.

The losing streak ended with a win at Tennessee five weeks ago; then, after a loss to Arizona, Jacksonville won back-to-back road games at Houston and at Cleveland. Then last Thursday night the Jags beat the Texans again, 27-20.

So after the slow start Jacksonville has doubled its win total from last year for new head coach Gus Bradley.

Buffalo, meanwhile, in its first year under new head coach Doug Marrone, started 3-4, with wins over Carolina, Baltimore and Miami, and tough losses to New England and Cincinnati. But since then the Bills have lost five of their last six games. Two weeks ago Buffalo lost two fumbles late in the game and lost in overtime to Atlanta; and last week the Bills got beat at Tampa 27-6.

At 4-9 it's now about pride and maybe jobs for these two teams.

Bills-Jags By the Numbers

Buffalo has been out-gained this season by 18 YPG, but has out-rushed foes by a 134-125 YPG margin.

So far this NFL season teams that out-rush their opponents have covered the spread 57 percent of the time.

Jacksonville, meanwhile, has been out-gained by almost 100 YPG this season and out-rushed by a 127-77 YPG margin.

However, the Jags have out-rushed their last four opponents by an average of 35 YPG. As it happens, they covered the spread in three of those four games.  

Bills-Jags Recent History

These teams just met last year, a Week 13 game in Buffalo, won by the Bills 34-18. Buffalo, quarterbacked by Ryan Fitzpatrick that day, rushed for 232 yards, held the ball for 35 minutes and covered the spread at -6.

That game also played OVER its total of 42.

Bills-Jags Betting Trends

Buffalo is 8-5 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Bills games have averaged 47 total points.

Jacksonville is also 8-5 on the totals, as Jags games have averaged 44 points.

Buffalo is 6-7 ATS this season, but just 1-5 ATS on the road.

Jacksonville is 5-8 ATS this year, just 1-5 ATS at home.

Bills-Jags Injury Update

Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew pulled a hamstring last week against Houston and is questionable to play Sunday.

Our Take on Sunday's Game

Believe it or not, Jacksonville is one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment. The Jags have also been getting most of the betting action on this game, as the bandwagon jumpers get down early.

As contrarians, that's makes us leery.

The potential absence of Jones-Drew is significant; Buffalo can be run on, but without MJD we're not sure the Jaguars will be able to do it.

So in believing Buffalo with its Spiller-Jackson combo in the backfield has the better chance of winning the ground battle Sunday we'll go with the Bills at the short spread for our free NFL pick.

NFL Pick: Take Buffalo at the -2 (-108) offered at Pinnacle.