Football Playoff Betting — Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars

When they have won games this season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have often looked like an awesome force, especially on the defensive side of the football. So at least on paper, they seem to have drawn an ideal opponent in the first round of the playoffs, as the Buffalo Bills will pay a visit to them on Sunday at 1 PM ET at Everbank Field. CBS will televise the game, and while BetAnySports customers are watching it, they can place real-time wagers through the facilities available from Live Betting Ultra.
The Jaguars won only three games last season, but this year they surged to a 10-6 straight-up record (9-7 ATS) and won the AFC South division with a game to spare, despite losing both meetings to the Tennessee Titans, the second-place team (which made it as a wildcard). Jacksonville has executed an overall strategy that would seem ideal for playoff action, which means they would like to establish the run first and be dominant on defense. Well, they averaged more rushing yards per game (141.1) than anyone in the league, and they permitted fewer yards AND points per drive than anyone as well. They rank up near the top in a lot of other categories as well, which we will expand upon.
The Bills, who had a 9-7 straight-up mark (9-6-1 ATS), almost blew a 22-0 lead against Miami Dolphins last weekend, but they held on to win by six points, and then they retreated to the locker room, where, to their delight, they watched as the Cincinnati Bengals went on a miracle drive in the closing moments to beat the Baltimore Ravens, opening the door for Buffalo to gain its first playoff berth since 1999. Bills fans were so elated that they made hundreds of $17 donations (a dollar for each year out of the playoffs) to the foundation run by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, and the Bills’ front office sent a boatload of chicken wings over to the Bengals.
Now all the Bills have to do is play like a team that isn’t just “happy to be there.”
In the playoff betting odds that been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, Jacksonville is a substantial favorite:
Jacksonville Jaguars -8.5
Buffalo Bills +8.5
Over 39 points -110
Under 39 points -110
What could really handicap the Bills is if their top running back, LeSean McCoy, does not play in this game or is severely limited. McCoy suffered a serious ankle sprain against Miami, and he will be a game-time decision. Not only did he gain 1138 rushing yards to rank fourth in the league, McCoy also caught 59 passes, which actually made him Buffalo’s leading receiver. So if they don’t have him, the the Bills will be hard-pressed to compensate. What they will have left is Mike Colbert and Marcus Murphy in the backfield, and those two players combined for just 288 yards on the ground.
But that kind of predicament might come down to Tyrod Taylor running for his life. Taylor threw for 2799 yards and was intercepted only four times, but he obviously didn’t get enough respect from first-year coach Sean McDermott, because he was actually benched in favor of rookie Nathan Peterman for a game against the Los Angeles Chargers. That was a mistake McDermott made that almost cost Buffalo its playoff spot, because Peterman was intercepted five times in the first half, in what turned out to be a 54-24 blowout. In other words, the rookie got intercepted more times in 30 minutes than Taylor did all season. But Taylor, despite his 427 rushing yards (second on the team) has gotten sacked 46 times, and without an effective running game, that could leave him a sitting duck for the Jaguars’ pass rush, which led the league for most of the season and finished second with 55 sacks.
The Jaguars forced 34 turnovers, which was second-best in the league; they gave up only 16.8 points per game, which was also second, and they were second-best in the red zone. Because their offense also scored more points per red zone trip than any other NFL team, this doesn’t leave Buffalo with a lot of room to pull off the upset, with or without McCoy. Remember that in eight of Jacksonville’s 10 victories, they held their opponent to ten points or less. This could be one of those games again. We will lay the points, expecting the Jaguars’ stop unit to show up in a big way.
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