NFL Pick: Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Houston Texans (3-3 SU, 1-5 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS)
NFL Football Week 7
Date/Time: Sunday October 21st, 2018. 1:00PM (EST)
Where: TIAA Bank Field Jacksonville, F.L.
By: Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU +4.5/JAX -4.5
Over/Under Total: 42
The Jacksonville Jaguars were completely embarrassed last week on the road at Dallas. Jalen Ramsey’s smack talking surrounding the Jaguars dynamic defense finally caught up with him as the Cowboys struggling offense throttle the Jacksonville defense to a score of 40-7. The Jaguars once feared defense has now been shredded two weeks in a row and perhaps has lost some of their confidence. This week the Jaguars get a chance to turn things around when they host the Houston Texans who are riding a 3 game winning streak in a game that could give the winner early control of the AFC South.
Jaguars expecting Leonard Fournette’s return
I don’t think it is any coincidence that Jacksonville’s struggles have come during the heart of running back Leonard Fournette’s absence. Despite being on different sides of the ball, Leonard Fournette plays a huge factor in Jacksonville’s success. In recent weeks, the Jaguars have failed to move the football effectively on the ground and they have been forced onto the hopeless arm of quarterback Blake Bortles. In the last two games, Bortles has tossed 5 interceptions with just 2 touchdown passes while completing just 55% of his passes. Honestly, I am not sure why the Jaguars organization continues to put their faith in Bortles after continuous disappoint considering the talent that has come through the NFL Draft in recent years although I guess that is a different story all together.
Statistically, Fournette has not done anything this year as he has battled a lingering hamstring issue. Early this week, Head Coach Doug Marrone stated that he is hopeful Fournette will be back this week as he expect the running back to return to practice. However, Fournette has yet to log any practice time. This could be a cautious approach for the Jaguars star running back but considering his long history of nagging injuries that date back to his time at LSU, nothing is certain at this point. If Fournette is able to go, it will be a huge boost for the Jacksonville offense. Just having Fournette’s presence on the field gives defenses a bigger concern so keep an eye on the injury report this week to see how things unfold.
Will the Texans luck continue?
I mentioned earlier the Texans are riding a 3 game winning streak but it has not been exactly pretty. The Texans have clawed their way to victories in the last 3 weeks with some really close games and fortunate circumstances. In the overtime wins against Indianapolis and Dallas, the Colts had a questionable 4th down call that led to a turnover and then Dallas punted the ball away at their 40 yard line instead of going for it which received heavy criticism. Then last week the Texans blew a 10 point lead before the defense bailed them out of trouble with a pick 6 and another interception to seal the victory. The question this week is will this string of fortune continue?
I am personally skeptical mainly because of the offense. The Texans running game is literally extinct and the offensive line is having huge problems protecting quarterback Deshaun Watson. Say what you want about Jacksonville’s defensive struggles but the talent is still there. Rest assured they are looking for a redemption opportunity after last week’s embarrassment. If the Texans offensive line struggles again, the Jaguars have a ton of talent in their secondary to make things difficult for receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Watson has thrown 7 picks already this season which is tied for the 2nd most in the NFL. Therefore, I believe this is a prime bounce back spot for this Jacksonville defense considering the match-up.
Betting trends favor Jacksonville
Despite Houston’s 3 game winning streak, the Texans remain one of the worst teams in the NFL for bettors with a 1-5 mark ATS on the season. Going back to the end of 2017 things have been even worse with the Texans covering just once in their last 11 games. Additionally, the Jaguars typically play their best football at home. The Jaguars have won 8 of their last 9 games straight up at home and have covered the spread in 5 of their last 7 home games as well.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Jacksonville -4.5
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