Buffalo Bills (4-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)
The Jaguars have won 4 of their last 5, including 3 straight, which somehow is tied for the losing winning streak in the AFC and the 2nd longest in the NFL behind only Philadelphia (5 games). How can they be underdogs at home against the Bills right? Well, that seems to be what the public thinks as they are all over the Jaguars as a public underdog. I love fading the public at any chance I get, as long as it makes sense, but I especially love it when it’s a public underdog. Whenever the public thinks one team is going to win and the odds makers think another team is going to win, it usually doesn’t end well for the public. Check out the latest NFL free bets.
I especially love it when the public is wrong about loving the underdog. Sure, the Jaguars have 4 wins, the same amount as the Bills, but I’d still argue this is the worst team in the NFL. There’s a reason they are home underdogs here. All 4 of their wins have come by a touchdown or less, while all 9 of their losses came by double digits. Their point differential of -171 is still by far the worst in the NFL, with only Washington (-128) coming close. They are still dead last in DVOA and by a significant margin over 31st ranked Oakland. Even in weighted DVOA, which weighs their more recent successes higher, they are still dead last, though the gap is closer.
In terms of rate of moving the chains, they are also dead last, as they move them at a 63.14% rate, as opposed to 75.70% for their opponents, a -12.56% differential. No one else has a differential worse than -6.55% (New York Jets). They may have 4 wins, but I don’t think they would have defeated any of those teams on a neutral field 51 times out of 100, including Houston, who they beat twice. I don’t think there’s any team in the NFL they’d defeat 51 times out of 100. Making matters worse, Maurice Jones-Drew, arguably their best offensive player, could be out for this one.
Not only do the Jaguars not deserve to be favorites, as the public thinks, but we’re actually getting significant line value with the Bills here. This line is too small. The Bills rank 23rd in rate of moving the chains differential, moving them at a 65.35% rate, as opposed to 68.16% for their opponents, a differential of -2.81%. That suggests this line should be around 6.5 and 7, instead of 1, and that doesn’t even take into account Maurice Jones-Drew’s potential absence or any situational factors.
The Jaguars are also in a bad situation as home dogs before being home dogs, which they almost definitely will be next week with Tennessee coming to town, as the odds makers rightfully don’t respect them. Teams are 68-90 ATS in that spot since 2002. Even worse, they will probably be home underdogs of more than 3, considering they are underdogs of 1 for Buffalo, they were underdogs of 3.5 for Houston, and they were underdogs of 12 in Tennessee a few weeks ago. Teams are 35-66 ATS before being home underdogs of 3 or more since 2012.
They wouldn’t be focused enough to pull this upset even if they were good enough, which they aren’t. I’m just worried that the Bills could be a little distracted by Miami coming to town next week. Teams are 17-29 ATS as non-divisional road favorites before being divisional home underdogs, which they could be next week. However, they also might not be and I like the Bills enough anyway. We’re also talking about a very small road favorite before being a very small home underdog (if they are). Buffalo essentially just needs to win straight up here so I have a good deal of confidence in them.
Buffalo Bills 20 Jacksonville Jaguars 10
Pick against spread: Buffalo -1