2020 Team Betting Previews: Jaguars

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2020 Team Betting Previews: Jaguars

It seems like a decade ago when the Jaguars nearly won the AFC Championship with a talented defense and with Blake Bortles at quarterback, but Jacksonville’s deep playoff run actually came just three short years ago. The Jags have won just 11 combined games since 2017 with most of the key players from that team now gone. The Jaguars’ big move last off-season was their signing of Nick Foles, but he broke his collarbone in the first quarter of his first game with the organization, which set an odd tone for the rest of the season. Jacksonville faded hard down the stretch after playing .500 through the first half of the season with Gardner Minshew taking over at quarterback. They finished with a 6-10 overall record with a 7-9 against-the-spread mark and they missed the playoffs (-150 odds) for the second straight season.

Jacksonville played in just four one-score games (2-2) last season, and they finished with an ugly 1-5 record in games decided by three scores of more. The Jaguars finished with an even 8-8 totals split with their offense scoring just 18.8 points per game (seventh-fewest) and their defense allowing 24.8 PPG (12th-most).

Jacksonville saw its 2020 season win total plummet by three and a half wins from last season when they were lined to win eight games. The Jaguars fell below their 2019 season win total with their ninth loss of the season at the hands of the Chargers in Week 14. Jacksonville has by far the longest odds to make the playoffs this season at +800. Entering training camp, I have the Jaguars power rated as the worst team in the NFL (+15000 to win Super Bowl LV), as the worst team in the AFC (+7000 to win the conference), and as the worst team in the AFC South (+2000).

2020 Schedule

WeekOpponent (spread if available)Time
1Indianapolis Colts (+7)1
2@Tennessee Titans (+10.5)1
3Miami Dolphins8:20 (Thurs)
4@Cincinnati Bengals1
5@Houston Texans1
6Detroit Lions1
7BYEBYE
8@Los Angeles Chargers4:05
9Houston Texans1
10@Green Bay Packers1
11Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5)1
12Cleveland Browns1
13@Minnesota Vikings1
14Tennessee Titans1
15@Baltimore Ravens1
16Chicago Bears1
17@Indianapolis Colts

Key Off-season Moves

Additions

Joe Schobert (LB)

C.J. Henderson (CB)

K’Lavon Chaisson (LB)

Laviska Shenault (WR)

Al Woods (DT)

Chris Thompson (RB)

Tyler Eifert (TE)

Rashaan Melvin (CB)

Rodney Gunter (DT)

Mike Glennon (QB)

Departures

Calais Campbell (DE, Bal)

A.J. Bouye (CB, Den)

Nick Foles (QB, Chi)

Marcell Dareus (DT, FA)

Marqise Lee (WR, NE)

2020 Season Odds

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Team FuturesOdds
Season Win Total (O/U)4.5 (-125/+103)
AFC South+2000
Playoffs (Y/N)+800/-1430
AFC Championship+7000
Super Bowl+15000

Reasons to Bet Over the Season Win Total

It’s tough to find many reasons to be optimistic about the Jaguars going over their season win total other than it’s really difficult for teams to finish with four or fewer wins. I’d say the Jaguars have the worst roster in the league but it’s not egregiously terrible like we’ve seen at the bottom of the league at times in the past. Jacksonville at least has an interesting group of skill players with D.J. Chark leading this receiving corps; and Gardner Minshew will be given a full leash to lead this offense this season. This passing game has the potential to be feisty to keep them competitive, and Minshew and Chark have the potential to be like Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson in the mid-2010s when those offenses were chasing points on a weekly basis.

The Jaguars should have better success in the red zone this season after finishing ahead of only the lowly Steelers offense. Jacksonville scored a touchdown just 40.4% of the time they reached the red zone last season. RB Leonard Fournette scored just three touchdowns on 341 touches last season, and he finished fifth in red-zone carries (43) but 33rd in red-zone rushing TDs (3).

The Jags could also have one of the better pass rushes in the league if Yannick Ngakoue plays this season, which is a major question. The Jags drafted his replacement in K’Lavon Chaisson in the first round and they spent a first-round selection on Josh Allen last season. Jacksonville could have a formidable pass rush if Ngakoue would suit up in teal and gold again.

The Jaguars don’t have many positives working in their favor this season, but their schedule certainly isn’t overwhelming, especially early in the season with matchups against the Dolphins (home in Week 3), the Bengals (road in Week 4), and the Lions (home in Week 6). Jacksonville plays just two games that kick after 1 p.m. this season. Those contests come in Week 3 in a home Thursday Night game against the Dolphins and in Week 8 when they travel to the West Coast to play the Chargers after their bye week. Those are two favorable spots for the Jaguars to potentially sneak out wins.

Reasons to Bet Under the Season Win Total

The Jaguars are an organization that is stuck in the mud and going nowhere fast this season. They have a lame-duck coach in Doug Marrone, a GM on the hot seat in Dave Caldwell, a relatively unproven QB in Gardner Minshew, and a new OC in Jay Gruden who is trying to implement a new offense during a pandemic. The Jaguars also have arguably the worst roster in the league after Caldwell purged the remnants of the 2017 AFC Championship finalist team over the last two years. Other than those factors, the Jaguars are doing just fine heading into 2020!

Minshew has been one my favorite QB3s in best-ball drafts this summer since he’ll be scrambling and chasing production quite a bit this season, but I’m fully aware that his O-line could derail any hopes this offense has this season. Jacksonville’s defense also looks completely different than the once star-studded crew they had back in 2017. They traded away CB A.J. Bouye, DE Calais Campbell, and DT Marcell Dareus this off-season. It’s fair to wonder how this group is going to get many stops each week, especially if Yannick Ngakoue sits out or gets traded. First-round pick C.J. Henderson will need to make an immediate impact as a rookie or else this secondary could be one of the worst in the league this season.

If you’re looking to nap off some Sunday hangovers this season, the NFL has the perfect sleep aid kicking off most Sundays at 1 p.m. ET. The NFL schedule makers know the Jaguars are going to be one of the worst teams in the league as 13 of their 15 games are scheduled for an early-kick start. After some easier games in the first six weeks, the Jaguars will play 10 straight games to finish the year against teams with season win totals at 7.5 wins or more.

Notable Player Props

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Leonard Fournette: rushing yards (850.5), rushing + receiving yards (1200.5), most rushing yards (+3300)

Fantasy Points Projection: rushing yards (860), rushing + receiving yards (1175)

  • Best-case scenario: Fournette has much better luck in the touchdown department and new OC Jay Gruden continues to use him as a three-down back, which is key since they trail in so many games.

  • Worst-case scenario: Fournette’s receiving production plummets with Gruden getting Chris Thompson involved, and the Jaguars get Ryquell Armstead reps on early downs with Fournette heading for free agency next season.

D.J. Chark: receiving yards (975.5), most receiving yards (+3300)

Fantasy Points Projection: receiving yards (1060)

  • Best-case scenario: Chark finishes among the league leaders in targets with Gardner Minshew force-feeding him the rock with the Jaguars trailing late in games and throwing it a ton.
  • Worst-case scenario: The Jaguars are a mess from top to bottom, including along their O-line, and the dysfunction sinks Chark’s production as Jacksonville finishes with the league’s worst record.

Best Bets and Leans

The Jaguars could have their choice of Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, or Justin Fields at the top of next year’s draft as they’re the favorites to finish with the worst record in the league in 2020. We’ll see what Dwayne Haskins and Washington have to say about the worst record this season, but the Jaguars will be in full rebuild mode after this season, likely with a new head coach and potentially a new GM. I don’t see the Jaguars getting to six or more wins unless Gardner Minshew has some major magic in that mustache so I’m leaning toward the Jaguars under five wins. Make sure to shop around for a five-win total since most books have the Jags season win total sitting at four and a half victories.

The Jaguars are the favorites to finish with the worst record so they’re the clear favorites to finish in last in the AFC South. The rest of the division is lined at seven and a half wins or more this season, and it will likely take seven wins from the Jags to climb out of the AFC South cellar unless the Texans or Colts absolutely implode this season. I don’t love laying heavy wood on a big favorite, but I’m betting two units on the Jaguars to finish in fourth place in the AFC South at -225. Jacksonville is even bigger favorites (-400 or higher) to finish last in the division at most books so be sure to grab the best price you can.

I’ve completely faded Leonard Fournette in my drafts this summer since he doesn’t have any kind of future with the Jaguars. The organization declined his fifth-year option this spring and Fournette will surely be playing in a new location next season. I don’t see a scenario in which Fournette comes close to his second-best 22.7 touches per game from last season, which trailed only Christian McCaffrey. New OC Jay Gruden has actively used a receiving back in the past and he brought in his old pal Chris Thompson this off-season. I also see the Jaguars taking a look at youngsters Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo to see what they have for the future at the position. Add it all up and I’m wagering one unit on Fournette to finish under 1200.5 rushing and receiving yards.

Best Bets: Jaguars to finish in fourth place in the AFC South (-225, betonline.ag). Risk two units to win .89 units…Leonard Fournette under 1200.5 rushing + receiving yards (-110, DraftKings). Risk one unit to win .91 units.

Leans: Jaguars under five wins (-150, FoxBet).

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.

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