Betting Week 1 of the NFL preseason should be seen more as making an educated guess and less as handicapping the outcome.
I took a swing and missed with the Jacksonville Jaguars plus 4.5 points against the Baltimore Ravens on the road for last week’s top underdog pick. Baltimore rolled to a 29-0 shutout at M&T Bank Stadium.
This Thursday night in the first NFL preseason game on the slate in Week 2, the Jaguars play host to the Philadelphia Eagles as three-point favorites. This time around I am taking the points and going against Jacksonville. You can check out all the NFL Scores and Odds here.
The Eagles started their four-game preseason schedule at home as slight 1.5-point favorites against Tennessee. They came out flat in what turned out to be a 27-10 loss. The also lost their backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld for the next six weeks while he recovers from a wrist injury he sustained in that game.
Philly fans should expect to get their first glimpse of Carson Wentz in action as the starting quarterback. He has missed some substantial playing time in each of his past two seasons due to various injuries. Deemed completely healthy and ready to go, Wentz has to be chomping at the bit to get back to work.
In Wentz’s absence, Nick Foles was able to earn MVP honors in Super Bowl LII and a trip to the second round of the playoffs last season as the starting quarterback. He also earned a fat paycheck over the offseason signing a free agent deal to become Jacksonville’s new starter this season. Foles was on the bench in last Thursday’s loss to Baltimore, but he is expected to run a few series with the first team offense against his old team.
Top Underdog Bet- Take the Eagles (+3) against Jacksonville
In a game that means absolutely nothing in the standings, the big storyline centers on both Wentz and Foles. While neither player should have a big impact on the actual final score, getting their team off to a fast start with an early scoring drive would rank high on the list.
I am going to heavily discount each team’s overall performance in Week 1, but I do expect the intensity to get dialed up a bit higher in Week 2. Coming off a bad loss, each team’s backups suddenly have more on the line when it comes to securing a spot on the final roster.
Defense could actually have the biggest impact on the outcome, which is why I am taking the Philadelphia Eagles and the three points.
Jacksonville’s defense is still the team’s strong suit. If the Jaguars are going to get back to the playoffs in 2019 after sliding all the way to 5-11 straight-up last season, it will be behind their play on that side of the ball.
The heat will definitely be dialed up on Foles, but the main reason why Jacksonville went all the way to the AFC title game in 2017 was Leonard Fournette running the ball and the defense shutting down opposing teams.
Philadelphia’s defense comes into Week 2 with a few more question marks. Some extended play on Thursday night might provide some much-needed answers. From the front seven through the secondary, certain players are going to have to step up their game.
From a betting standpoint, the Eagles have a 4-1 edge against the spread in their last five games against Jacksonville and they have won the last six meetings SU. These two inter-conference foes faced one another in London last year with Philadelphia coming away with a 24-18 victory as a four-point favorite.
Article by Dave Schwab
Posted August 12, 2019