Jaguars vs Chiefs: Betting odds favor Kansas City at Arrowhead
By Britt Zank
The Kansas City Chiefs will play in Arrowhead Stadium for just the second time this season as they play the Jacksonville Jaguars as three-point favorites.
This battle against the Jacksonville Jaguars will be the toughest the Kansas City Chiefs have faced early in the 2018 season. The Jags bring the No. 1 ranked scoring defense in the NFL into K.C. to take on the Chiefs top-ranked scoring offense. That is as even of a matchup as you can get, and the oddsmakers at oddshark.com have proven that with a three-point game spread.
It’s a well known saying among gamblers that the home team automatically gets three points for home-field advantage. Which means when the spread is three points the actual number is zero which is as much a toss-up as you can get. This is one I think the public has wrong and the number is to low in favor of the Chiefs.
The Jaguars come into the game without their star young running-back Leonard Fournette who was ruled out for the game on Wednesday. Fournette is the main weapon of a Jaguar team that leans as heavily on the running attack as anyone else in the league. T.J. Yeldon is Fournette’s backup and while he’s a solid backup he is not on the level of Fournette.
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While the Chiefs defense was bad against the run against the Denver Broncos on Monday night, the rush defense had looked improved the three games before. This week the Chiefs focus on defense will be slowing down the Jaguars running game and turning them into a one-dimensional team who has to lean on Blake Bortles.
Bortles is having an up and down season in 2018 with two good games and two bad games. In the two bad games, he threw for a combined 331 yards and one touchdown while in the two good games he threw for 764 yards and six touchdowns. The Jaguars did win one of those games only because of how strong their defense is. If the Chiefs defense can just be good enough to slow down the Jaguars running game and make them depend on Bortles, they easily win the quarterback battle.
Despite what should be a pass-happy matchup, the oddsmakers have this at a rather low over/underscore of 48. That number directly reflects the respect the public gives the Jaguars defense. That respect has been earned by the play of some great defenders like Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, Marcell Dareus, Dante Fowler Jr., and Myles Jack.
The defense is the in my estimation the NFL’s most aggressive and punishing defenses. While they aren’t at that level, they remind me a lot of the early 2000’s Baltimore Ravens defenses. That’s high praise and they have earned it, but while they remind me of those teams, they are not as dominating as them. Their points per game are the best in the league, but they have also had a soft schedule of the New York Giants, New York Jets and the Tennessee Titans starting Blaine Gabbert. They did play a great revenge game against the New England Patriots, but that I believe was an instance of one team treating it like a Super Bowl and the other just going through the motions until the playoffs start.
The over/under started at 49 to start the week, but the weather has caused it to drop one point. It’s supposed to rain all weekend long meaning the field will likely be a sloppy mess even before the game stops. While that type of weather favors the defenses, I believe in this matchup it favors the Chiefs more than the Jaguars. The Jaguars running attack will be weakened and now they will have to depends on Bortles on a wet field with a wet ball. Meanwhile, the Chiefs running game is at full strength and they have Patrick Mahomes II to put their faith in.
The Chiefs offense had their worst game of the season Monday night and still put up 27 points. They will not be walking all over the Jaguars defense, but they won’t be stopped in their tracks either. While the Jaguars have great defensive talent, not even they have enough to double team all the weapons the Chiefs bring to the table. They won’t be able to crash the box to stop Hunt and they won’t be able to play dime to stop the pass and not leave themselves wide open.
Like the Broncos game the Chiefs will have to work and grind this out, but with the help of the Arrowhead crowd, the Chiefs will get the job done. I believe this is a game where the Chiefs defense steps up, and with the help of a bad Bortles game, looks good. I would expect to see multiple turnovers that lead to some easy points for the offense. I think the spread is too small and the Chiefs will win this game easily. I’m looking at a final score in the 27-10 range so take the Chiefs and points and gobble up the under on the 48 number.