Jaguars at Patriots – 2018 AFC Championship Betting Lines Picks
New England Patriots (-450) Jacksonville Jaguars (+325)
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been the Cinderella story of the NFL playoffs so far. After narrowly advancing out of the wild-card game, the Jags shocked the football world by taking down the AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional playoff last weekend. Can the Jaguars keep the storybook drive alive against the defending Super Bowl champions?
The New England Patriots going into the AFC Championship as the overwhelming -450 and, if anything, bettors can expect that line to move further in favor of the five-time Super Bowl titleholders the closer we get to Sunday afternoon. The game kicks off at 3:05 p.m. and can be viewed on CBS. Jacksonville, which put up 45 points against the Steelers in their victory, head to Foxborough as +325 underdogs, but the Jags have only beat the Pats once in their last 10 meetings.
May bettor shied away from the 41-point projection for last week’s divisional playoff between the Jaguars and Steelers — the clubs went on to score more the 80 points combined. Oddsmakers with Bovada have pegged the Patriots as 9-point favorites heading into the AFC Championship. New England has been nothing short of spectacular against the spread this season, posting a 12-5 record. In fact, the Pats are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games and they’re 5-2 ATS in their last 7 when playing Jacksonville. All of a sudden that 9-point spread isn’t looking too bad, is it? The Jags are no slouches when it comes to against the spread wagering. Jacksonville posted a 10-8 record ATS this season, but take the Pats to cover with ease.
If the Jaguars want to get into another shootout, Tom Brady and Co. are game. On home field this season, Brady has 21 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. No team in the NFL has scored more than the Patriots, who have scored 458 points, while giving up just 296 against. That’s a differential of +162 — another NFL best in 2017. The total points projection for Sunday’s contest is set at 46 ½. The Jaguars will go with what works and if they want to break the game open like they did against the Steelers, they will get eaten alive by a much more efficient Brady-led offense. Jacksonville will scale it back, which will lead to a lower-scoring matchup, or one that will come in UNDER the projected mark at the very least.
Margin of Victory
Bovada is once again offering its enticing Margin of Victory odds for Sunday’s contest. Will it be a New England blowout? Or will the Jaguars make this interesting. The last time these two teams met was 2015, when Brady guided the Patriots to a dominating 51-17 victory. This is a different Jaguars team, however, and the club’s strong defense won’t let this game get out of reach — at least not in the early stages. Consider putting your money on the Patriots escaping with a margin of victory of 7 to 12 points, which will pay a cool +350. The Pats by 1 to 6 points is offering the same odds. If the Jaguars miraculously pull out another stunning upset, it’ll be close, so taking them to win by 1 to 6 points is the logical choice at +600.
Team to Score First in the Game
In the AFC divisional playoff, the Steelers deferred after winning the opening coin toss and the Jags made them pay, scoring on the first drive of the game. Can Jacksonville do the same against the powerhouse New England Patriots? Highly unlikely. The Pats head into the contest as -180 favorites to score first in the game and if the defending champs win the coin toss, don’t expect the league’s best offense to defer. If you think the Jags will put up the game’s first points, it will pay out at +150.
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