Free Pick on Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7 SU, 3-5-2 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (3-7 SU, 4-6 ATS)
When: Sunday, November 25th, 2018 – 1:00 PM ET
Where: New Era Field, Buffalo, New York
By: Keith Franks, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: JAX -3 / BUF +3
Power Ratings: Buffalo +1
Takeaways From Week 11
The Jaguars continue to be 2018’s disappointment team after making it as far as the AFC Championship Game last year when they fell just short of upsetting the New England Patriots in Foxboro. The Jags have now lost six in a row, capped off most recently by a 20-16 defeat at home at the hand of the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. The result yielded a push for Jacksonville for the second consecutive week.
The Bills enter on the heels of an upset win against their downstate divisional rivals, the New York Jets. Despite closing as a touchdown underdog, the Bills would gallop all over Gang Green at MetLife Stadium as they laid waste to New York by a score of 41-10. The victory emphatically snapped a four-game losing streak for Buff City.
How the Public is Betting the Jacksonville-Buffalo Game
At the moment, 70% of the consensus like the Jaguars here as a marginal road favorite. Despite a significant line, the market has not come over the initial number.
This game is a re-match of last year’s AFC Wildcard Round contest where the Bills ended their playoff drought. Sadly for Buffalo, their season only extended one more week when the Jaguars defense led Jacksonville to a 10-3 win. Overall, the Jaguars and Bills have split the last four meetings between the two sides with two wins each.
There is good news for Buffalo. The Bills had their franchise man quarterback Josh Allen sidelined with an elbow injury but he is expected to return for this game. Nevertheless, two key skill players sport a Q-tag for Buffalo, tight end Charles Clay and running back Chris Ivory who is an excellent spell option for Shady McCoy. Both of these men being available will certainly enhance the offensive operations of the Bills who sit dead last in scoring offense (13.7 points per game)
When Buffalo Has the Ball
Josh Allen’s presence on the field can transform this offense in terms of potency because the former Wyoming Cowboy has a cannon of an arm. Despite being injured for four weeks, Allen still remains the top passer on this team with 832 yards through the air. His return is optimal for this offensive unit to keep defenses honest and not focus solely on the running game. With respect to that narrative, the Bills are a run-first team as they like to play ball control and keep their second ranked total defense (302.2 yards per game) off the field as much as possible.
When Jacksonville Has the Ball
The Jags follow a similar blueprint to their counterparts in this affair. Jacksonville loves to feed running back Leonard Fournette the rock and keep their defense fresh. Despite both teams having a bad record, the defensive acumen of both sides is commendable. For the Jags, they sit fourth in total defense (319.5 points per game) while giving up just 21.9 points per game (ninth in the NFL). Jacksonville will certainly help Buffalo’s cause as they average just 17.6 points per game (29th in the league). The blowout potential on both sides is minimal.
In the last eight fixtures between Jacksonville and Buffalo, the Underdog is 6-2 ATS. For those that love to play totals, the Over is 5-1 ATS in the last six contests.
It’s going to be a cold and rainy day in Buffalo as temperatures are forecasted to meander in the low 40’s with a 99% chance of precipitation. For a team like Jacksonville hailing from a warm tropical region, the weather can be a factor here in the outcome of this game. Plus the overall inclement conditions will favor the defense as the wet weather can foster some sloppy play.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Buffalo Bills +150 (Money Line)
This game has Buffalo written all over it. Outside of the motivational factor for Buffalo to atone for last year’s bitter loss in the playoffs the Bills will have certainly more pep in their step as they head into this clash. The Bills offense took a step forward last week against a very good Jets defense in a hostile environment. Now, they get a chief catalyst back to give them balance on both sides of the football. This game won’t be one that is for offense enthusiasts to appreciate as it will be an old-fashioned blue-collar game settled perhaps by a field goal. However, the competitive edge rests with Buffalo in this scenario as this game as it home with the weather likely being a 12th man on the field. Furthermore, if this game matriculates into a defensive battle that it is forecasted to be, the edge certainly lies with the Bills as they have been the victim of blowouts due to opposing offenses getting more chances to score. Jacksonville’s sputter-and-stall offense will give Buffalo a hand and that will result in the Bills not only covering but winning outright. We’ll trade the field goal away to enhance our return from the sportsbook by 60% confident that Buff City will get this one done.