Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) at New England Patriots (2-0)
Jacksonville beat the Dolphins last week in Jacksonville, but I’m still having a very tough time believing they’re not one of the worst teams in the league, especially with left tackle Luke Joeckel, right guard Brandon Linder, tight end Julius Thomas, cornerback Dwayne Gratz, and defensive end Andre Branch all out with injury. The Linder one is new and he was arguably their best healthy player. The public isn’t buying the Jaguars either, heavily backing the Patriots here as two touchdown favorites at home. I love fading the public whenever it makes sense and the Patriots have had trouble covering big lines like this at home in recent years, going 5-12 ATS as double digit home favorites since 2009, but I actually do agree with the public that this is going to be an easy New England victory.
In addition to the sheer difference in talent level between a bottom dwelling, injured Jacksonville team and a New England team that won the Super Bowl last year and has arguably been the best team in football through 2 games, the Patriots are also in a great spot as huge home favorites before a bye. Teams are 48-16 ATS since 2002 as home favorites of more than a touchdown before a bye and it makes sense that the vastly superior team would be able to cover at a high rate with a week of rest on deck, allowing them to be completely focused. The Patriots, as you can imagine, have been in this spot a fair amount of times over the years, going 8-3 ATS since 2002.
Jacksonville is in a good spot playing their first road game of the season week 3. Those teams tend to be better rested than their opponent and it shows, as they are 40-27 ATS in that spot since 1989. They’re also in a bad spot though, with another tough game in Indianapolis on deck. Underdogs of 7 points or more are 78-99 ATS since 2008 before being underdogs of 7 points or more. New England should be the right side here, but I can’t quite bring myself to put money on such a big line.
New England Patriots 34 Jacksonville Jaguars 16 Survivor Pick
Pick against the spread: New England -14