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Thread: How To Bet Sunday's Jaguars-Steelers NFL Game

  1. #1 How To Bet Sunday's Jaguars-Steelers NFL Game 
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    How to bet Jacksonville-Pittsburgh
    NFL VEGAS EXPERTS
    ESPN INSDER

    ESPN Chalk's NFL Vegas experts (Phil Steele, Erin Rynning, Warren Sharp and Mike Clay) are here to provide analysis and best bets for Sunday's divisional-round tilt between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers. John Parolin of ESPN Stats & Information breaks down the best prop bets.

    Note: Odds courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of Friday morning.



    Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)

    Total: 41
    PickCenter: 60 percent on Pittsburgh

    Phil Steele

    These teams met in October, and Pittsburgh had a 362-223 yardage edge until a late 90-yard Leonard Fournette touchdown run. The Steelers were undone by five Ben Roethlisberger interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

    Jacksonville is 6-2 against teams with winning records but was held to 313 yards or fewer in six of its eight true road games. Home teams in this round have the benefit of a bye to get rested and healthy -- Pittsburgh also rested its starters in Week 17, and Antonio Brown missed the final two games of the season -- while their opponents just battled through a playoff win.

    Last week, Blake Bortles was just 6-of-15 passing in the first half against a Buffalo Bills team that was minus-64 yards per game on the road. Fournette averaged 99.3 yards per game his first six (4.6 yards per carry), but over his last eight games, he has just 62.6 yards per game (under 3.0 yards per carry). Meanwhile, Big Ben has something to prove, and the Steelers are the better team with a huge quarterback, home and situational edge, while also playing with legitimate revenge.

    ATS pick: Pittsburgh

    Erin Rynning

    The Jaguars face an uphill battle with the Steelers in the superior situation. The Jaguars played hard until the final bell in the regular season at Tennessee, and their physical wild-card win last week against the Bills took its toll. The key players for the Steelers come into the matchup rested and looking to make amends for their embarrassing Week 5 loss to the Jags. However, there's little flukiness to the Jacksonville defense. The front produces plenty of pressure and the athletic secondary helped the Jags to a plus-12 turnover margin, including last week's plus-2 against Buffalo.

    Pick: Pass

    Warren Sharp

    The Jacksonville run defense is better than it was the last time these two teams met, but it is still its weakness, ranking 25th over the past month of the season. In the last meeting, the Steelers ran 60 plays over the final three quarters: 46 were Roethlisberger passes and nine were Le'Veon Bell runs. Roethlisberger threw four interceptions and zero touchdowns on those 46 pass attempts. The Steelers must commit more to the run game, rushing early and often, and must stick with it even if the Jaguars load up to stop it.

    The Steelers are the most pass-heavy team in the NFL and have the fourth-best pass offense in the NFL, so they may be inclined to revert to it too heavily when the run game starts slowly. Like it was in the last meeting, that scheme would be a huge mistake. They should still pass the ball, especially to Bell, as the Jags' defense ranks 30th in RB-pass success in close games and allows 7.1 yards per RB-pass (29th). However, that same Jacksonville defense ranks No. 1 and No. 3 in success rate allowed to wide receivers and tight ends, respectively. Bortles should play better than he did last week, and I see a close game throughout.

    ATS pick: Lean on Jacksonville (if you can get 7.5)

    Mike Clay

    Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Jacksonville 19
    ATS pick: Jacksonville and the over

    John Parolin's props

    18.5 completions by Blake Bortles (O/U -110)

    Sure, Doug Marrone and the Jaguars want to run the ball. But don't cite Week 5 against the Steelers as evidence that Fournette will be able to get whatever he wants on the ground this weekend. Fournette had 28 rushes for 181 yards and two touchdowns in that game, a gaudy 6.5 yards per rush, but that was inflated by the late 90-yard touchdown with the game in hand. That's not a play you can count on, considering how he performed beyond that run. His 27 rushes for 91 yards registered only 3.7 yards per rush, and the Steelers actually closed on Fournette fairly well. Pittsburgh hit Fournette one yard downfield or less on 17 of his 28 rushes, his most in a game this season, and allowed just 1.74 yards before contact per rush to Fournette on his other 27 rushes. That would have ranked third best as a defense this season.

    Plus, there's evidence that Fournette has hit the rookie wall. Since Week 10 and including the playoffs, Fournette is averaging 3.15 yards per rush, along with less than 3.0 in five of his eight games.

    Why does any of this matter? Because if Jacksonville can't control the clock, expecting a Week 5 redux (five interceptions from Roethlisberger in a 30-9 loss) seems like a long shot. Bortles will very likely need to throw the ball, and 19 completions is not an outlandish expectation. Bortles and the Steelers' defense both posted 60 percent completion percentages this year, a rate at which he would only need to throw 32 passes to hit the over. That's something Bortles did in nine of 16 games this season, despite the offense running the ball 26 more times than any other team. If the team can't run effectively on Sunday, Bortles will have to pick up the slack (at least enough to hit a low over).

    Play: Over
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  2. #2  
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    No opinion in this material fellas, just posting for others to read...
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