Wow, does Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans have all the hallmarks of a classic bad Thursday Night Football game. Two disappointing teams remaining in the playoff hunt mathematically only, two offenses essentially bereft of “skill” players and two wins against teams with records above .500 between them. But hey, at least they won’t be wearing “Color Rush” uniforms this time.
As soon as the lines were released, any NFL bettor worth his/her salt was looking to bet the under on this one, what with the Jaguars replacing Blake Bortles with Cody Kessler who, despite getting his first win as an NFL starter last week thanks to the Colts offense sleeping late (likesay until 8pm on Monday), is still Cody Kessler.
And so the bookmarkers set that over/under low – seemingly super-low for 2018 – at 38 or 38½. Despite being a good 5 points behind the next-lowest O/U, NFL bettors nevertheless have knocked that down to 37 at some sportsbooks on Thursday.
Tell you this: In deciding how to bet this game, one can learn much about recent trends in over/unders. And nearly all the numbers scream at NFLbets that if ever two teams deserved an under bet, it’s these the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.
On the macro level, we find that 119 games with over/unders of 38 points or less have been played in the NFL since 2011; this represents an average of just under 16 such games per season – more on this momentarily. The under has paid at a 51-67-1 (or 43.27%) rate in these 119 games.
However, if you’ve guessed that ever fewer such low over/unders are posted, you’re 100% correct. From 2015-17, 24 games kicked off with an O/U at 38 or lower, with the under paying 10-13. Thus far in the high-flying 2018 season, a mere three of 384 games carried an O/U this low: Oddly enough, all three included the Buffalo Bills and all three went over.
To certainly no one’s surprise, over/unders have been well high all season – but the oddsmakers have adjusted by now. Casting the statistical net a bit wider, only 13 games this season have gone off with an O/U of 40 or less; the under in 7-6 in these games, but a shocking 2-5 since week 6.
And here’s where things start to make a tedious game very interesting for NFL bettors.
The under is 2-0 in games with Tennessee playing, 1-2 in Jacksonville games. Overs hit when the Dallas Cowboys teed off for 40 in week 6 and against ever-unpredictable Buffalo in week 12. And of course, the Titans and Jaguars played that 9-6 thriller in week 3.
Speaking of these low-watt offenses, Jacksonville has already played five games under 38 points this year while Tennessee has four; the minus here is that the Titans haven’t played in a low-scorer since getting shut out by the Baltimore Ravens in week 6. On the other other hand, the Titans have scored 20 or fewer eight times in 2018, thereby allowing one to easily imagine a scenario in which the Titans and their top-10 statistically/middle-of-the-road by DVOA defense cover the point spread *and* the score goes under 37½.
Also, Cody Kessler.
Take the under on an O/U of 37 points on Jaguars-Titans.
NFLbets’ Best Bets record in 2018: 30-25-1.