Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 7:00 AM
Outside of some diehard fans in Tennessee and Jacksonville, very few people other than sports bettors will be interested in Thursday night’s NFL game this week. Not our concern! We’re Las Vegas sports bettors! It’s our job to find value when it’s offered and exploit it. Let’s see if we can work through the process and find something worth attacking.
The first thing to note is that both teams are in the “bad, but improving” category. Many respected Power Ratings and computer ratings had Tennessee and Jacksonville in the bottom four of the whole NFL entering this past weekend. Jacksonville managed to upset struggling Baltimore to move up a bit. Tennessee held its own in the stats vs. still-undefeated Carolina, but was way behind on the scoreboard. Non-playoff teams now. But, in a few years…who knows?
*Jags QB Blake Bortles is showing advancement up the learning curve
*Titans rookie QB Marcos Mariota is already a playmaker, and has a chance to be a star
The concern with Mariota is that he used his legs too much in the colleges. That kind of quarterback has a short shelf life in the NFL typically. He did lead a heroic comeback in New Orleans two weeks ago. Maybe viewers will learn more about both kid quarterbacks Thursday on the NFL Network.
Time to get to work. Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about what will like be the lowest rated prime time telecast of the 2015 season…
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Tennessee: 2-7 (#30 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Jacksonville: 3-6 (#13 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Possibly a difference-maker, as Jacksonville is a “legitimate” 3-6 because they’ve played a real schedule. Tennessee has struggled badly while playing one of the easiest schedules in the league. Their two wins were over Tampa Bay in the season opener (when a rookie QB on the opposition self-destructed) and in New Orleans recently (against a historically bad defense). Let’s keep that strength of schedule in mind moving forward.
Tennessee: 5.3 on offense, 5.4 on defense
Jacksonville: 5.2 on offense, 5.3 on defense
Almost identical teams in the numbers…but we have to make a mental adjustment for their challenges. Jacksonville isn’t that far from being a .500 caliber team given that they’re only -0.1 in differential against a representative schedule. Tennessee would probably be -0.4 or so against a league average slate. Both teams have a lot of work to do on offense…but can be proud of their defenses. The Jags’ defense is probably better than you had been thinking. Maybe Mariota isn’t having such a good rookie campaign after all.
This is an important part of the difference in the standings. And, it’s another huge strike against the Titans! They’re -8 in turnovers vs. a very soft schedule. So…again…we have the Jags looking like a “legitimate” 3-6 while Tennessee is probably a 1-8 team that can’t score and sets up their opponents with easy points off of giveaways. Whether it’s the point of attack, or the risk/reward challenge, Jacksonville is showing up as the better team to this point.
Tennessee: 4-5 ATS
Jacksonville: 5-4 ATS
Jacksonville is also showing up as the better value. They have made money for backers. Tennessee is down money because the offense just can’t get much on the board.
Current Line: Jacksonville by 3, total of 43.5
If home field advantage is worth 3 points, then the market has once again underrated Jacksonville. Our numbers are showing they’re the better team heads-up…which would make them at least -3.5. on their home field. But, some insiders consider home field value to be only worth 2.5 points in divisional games because the teams visit those sites every season. That would be more in line with our numbers. The Jags get a nudge above 2.5 to the key number of three because of their superior statistical performance.
For handicappers…here’s the essence of your challenge. If you want to take Tennessee, you have to figure out how they’re going to score points on the road against a good defense. If you want to take Jacksonville, you have to justify laying points with a franchise that is virtually never a favorite! It’s one thing to hang tough with people. Can the Jaguars win by more than a field goal on command?
JIM HURLEY knows you want to win this TV game. He and his full team of experts are covering all the angles so clients get the right side (or total). You can purchase nightly football and basketball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours between now and Thursday’s kickoff. Build your bankroll for this weekend’s football with a bunch of great basketball through the week!
Big game previews continue this weekend in the NOTEBOOK. Here’s what’s ahead…
*College Football TV Preview…#9 Michigan State at #2 Ohio State
*NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…Cincinnati at Arizona
*NFL Monday Night TV Preview…Buffalo at New England
*NFL Thursday Night TV Preview…Chicago at Green Bay
That’s the game of the year in the Big 10…followed by a possible Super Bowl preview (!) in the desert…leading into big divisional rivalry games that take us right to Thanksgiving Weekend.
GET READY FOR A BIG GAME FEAST from the best big game handicapper in the land…JIM HURLEY!
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