Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0, 0-0 ATS) @ Philadelphia Eagles (0-0, 0-0 ATS)
ATS= against the spread
BETDAQ Line: Philadelphia -10.5 (52)
Jacksonville: WR Cecil Shorts (out– hamstring), TE Clay Harbor (out– calf), RB Storm Johnson (out– ankle)
Philadelphia: RB Chris Polk (questionable– hamstring), CB Jaylen Watkins (doubtful– hamstring)
Jacksonville is 12-3 ATS in their last 15 Week 1 games
Jacksonville is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games
Philadelphia is 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 September games
The OVER is 5-2 in Jacksonville’s last 7 road games
The UNDER is 6-1 in Jacksonville’s last 7 September games
The UNDER is 6-2 in Philadelphia’s ;sat 8 home games
Three reasons to back Jacksonville
1. The Jags drastically improved over the second half of the 2013 season, winning 4 of their final 8 games, an outcome that would’ve seemed inconceivable in Week 9. They’ve upgraded the roster in the offseason, especially the defense, which should be able to hold its own against Philadelphia’s vaunted rushing attack.
2. Jacksonville is always a great bet on opening week, compiling a 12-3 record against the spread in their last 15 Week 1 games. Conversely, the Eagles are traditionally a terrible bet this time of year, as they’ve covered just once in their last 10 September games.
3. A 10.5-point number in Week 1?!?! Are you kidding me!?!? We haven’t seen either one of these teams play this season, and it’s not like the Eagles were a great team in 2013. As a matter of fact, they allowed more passing yards than any defense in the league and finished 29th in total yards allowed. Backing the league’s worst secondary and laying a double-digit number seems unwise.
Three reasons to back Philadelphia
1. Chip Kelly’s warp speed offense lived up to its reputation last season, catching the league off guard with a combination of relentless tempo and creative play design. The Eagles ranked 2nd in the NFL in total offense in 2013 and led the league in rushing. The Jaguars, meanwhile, ranked 27th in total defense and 29th in rushing defense.
2. Based on recent evidence, bettors should feel comfortable laying a double-digit number when betting against Jacksonville. Last year, for example, the Jags were double-digit ‘dogs 8 times and went 2-6 against the spread in those games.
3. Philly’s defense is suspect, but the Jags simply do not have a good enough offense to take advantage of the situation. Most of their prominent offensive players would be backups on other teams, guys like quarterback Chad Henne and running back Toby Gerhart. And their best offensive player, wideout Cecil Shorts, will miss this game with a hamstring injury.
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