Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Buffalo Bills (4-7)
One of the most powerful trends in betting is known as the six and six trend, meaning teams who finished with 6 wins or fewer are 23-64 ATS as favorites of 6 or more since 2002. There are two issues with this trend. One, it’s very rare (it only happened 4 times all last season, going 0-4 ATS). Two, it’s even rarer that a situation will come up in which you can confidently use the trend. The Eagles were 8.5 point favorites in Cleveland earlier this year (they didn’t cover), but there was at the time there was no way to know that the Eagles would finish 6-10 or worse.
I used this trend with the Raiders’ game a few weeks ago, -6 against Jacksonville. Oakland sat at 1-4 and looked unlikely to finish 7-9 or better and now at 3-8, it appears that was true. The Raiders failed to cover, needing a big comeback to win in overtime against these same Jaguars. Now the Jaguars go to Buffalo and will once again be 6 point dogs. Buffalo stands at 4-7 and is a prime candidate for the trend. If you look at their schedule (vs. Jacksonville, vs. St. Louis, vs. Seattle, @ Miami, vs. NY Jets), it’s possible they could win 7 games or more, but unlikely given the way they’ve been playing (more on that later).
Speaking of the Jaguars, I did mention that these were those same Jaguars. Well, that’s not necessarily true. Key members of their secondary, Dwight Lowery and Rashean Mathis, have returned after missing several games with injury. Lowery didn’t play against Oakland and Mathis left mid game. Also, Chad Henne is now at quarterback for the Jaguars. I know Henne did play in that Oakland game, but he played poorly because he was unprepared. Now as the full time starter with Gabbert out, Henne has the Jaguars playing much better football. He’s inconsistent, but even at his worst, he’s not a whole lot worse than Gabbert.
That should be taken into account when calculating real line, but even if it isn’t, we’re getting line value with the Jaguars. Buffalo ranks 28th in net points per drive at -0.62 (why I don’t think they’ll finish 7-9 or better) and Jacksonville ranks 29th in net points per drive at -0.73, with net points per drive meaning points per drive minus points per drive allowed (points per drive being offensive points divided by total drives).
If you take the difference and multiple by 11 (the average number of drives per game) and add 3 point for home field, you get a real line of about Buffalo -4, before even taking into account Jacksonville’s improved injury situation and the quarterback upgrade. Buffalo does rank 23rd in DVOA, to Jacksonville’s 30th (DVOA is based on net points per drive, but takes into account strength of schedule and things like special teams), but I still like getting 6 points with an improved Jacksonville team. I think there’s still some line value, not even taking into account the six and six trend. Besides, while Jacksonville is 1-5 ATS at home, they are somehow 5-0 ATS on the road this year.
There are a few things shaky about this pick, what if Buffalo finishes 3-2 over their past 5 games? What if the difference in DVOA is significant? What if Henne has a stinker? Jacksonville is also in a bad spot as non-divisional road dogs are 30-49 ATS off a win as divisional home dogs and they win as home dogs against Tennessee last week. There’s also the fact that Jacksonville is a publicly backed dog. There’s also, very interestingly, the fact that teams that are exactly 4-7 are 6-2 ATS as 6+ favorites since 1989 (though only 4 of those 8 finished 6-10 or worse and it’s a small sample size). Still, I like the six and six potential and the line value potential so it’s a significant play on Jacksonville.
Public lean: Buffalo (60% range)
Sharps lean: JAX 10 BUF 8
Final update: No change.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20 Buffalo Bills 17 Upset Pick +210
Pick against spread: Jacksonville +6 (-110) 3 units