Carolina Panthers (0-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
To start the season, this week has 8 games that feature road favorites (and no game that features a line higher than a touchdown). Almost every single one of those 8 road favorites is heavily backed by the public. I hate making big plays on road favorites that are heavily backed by the public. Those always scream “trap game” to me. Whenever the public is heavily on a road favorite it’s usually for the wrong reason. That reason is that the lines can seem to be too low because homefield advantage is underestimated, as most people don’t understand that home vs. away is worth about 6 points on average.
Unfortunately, a lot of those road favorites are small road favorites over teams that they’re clearer better, so it’s so tempting to take all of the road favorites. I’m not afraid to do take a road favorite; in fact, my pick of the week is Miami -3.5 in Washington, but that’s fine because Miami is underrated and that’s just too low of a line. However, I didn’t want to pick all as the road favorites. That being said, I already picked a few home underdogs, Chicago +7 at home for Green Bay for a big play because that line was too high, St. Louis +4 at home for Seattle for a no confidence pick for a few minor reasons, and Buffalo +3 at home for Indianapolis for a no confidence pick as a tiebreaker in the toughest game of the week for me.
Teams like Philadelphia (projected for 10 wins) would seem to be an easy choice as mere 3 point favorites on the road over Atlanta (projected for 5 wins). The same is true with Carolina (8 wins) as 3.5 point favorites over Jacksonville (3 wins), Minnesota (9 wins) as 2.5 point favorites over San Francisco (4 wins), and Cincinnati (9 wins) as 3 point favorites over Oakland (3 wins). None of them will be confident plays for me, but I have to take the road favorite in all 4 of those games. Jacksonville is simply not talented enough to be picked as mere 3 point home underdogs here against a good Carolina team.
Carolina Panthers 20 Jacksonville Jaguars 16
Pick against the spread: Carolina -3.5