Promotion Banner

2023 NFL Futures: Jacksonville Jaguars Are NFL Draft’s Biggest Winner — for Futures Bettors

2023 NFL Futures: Jacksonville Jaguars Are NFL Draft’s Biggest Winner — for Futures Bettors article feature image

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and there were headlines galore.

The quarterbacks stole the show at the top of the draft with Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson going top four. The Texans made a trade up for Will Anderson, the Cardinals traded down and out, and the Lions surprised early and often.

We’ve got draft grades all over the place, and I already bet overs on the Eagles and Ravens after successful draft weekends.

But one off-the-radar team was the draft’s biggest winner as far as futures bettors are concerned. That’s the Jacksonville Jaguars, and it had little to do with their actual draft picks.

AFC South Planned for Future, Leaving Present for Jaguars

The Jaguars picked at No. 1 each of the past two years. It was Travon Walker a year ago, and Trevor Lawrence the year before.

This year’s draft was quieter. Jacksonville didn’t pick until No. 27, selecting OT Anton Harrison to fill in for suspended LT Cam Robinson. The Jaguars added TE Brenton Strange in Round 2, clearly looking to protect their franchise QB, and RB Tank Bigsby in Round 3.

Nobody really noticed the Jaguars on draft weekend, but the rest of the AFC South stole the headlines.

The Texans grabbed their franchise QB in Stroud at No. 2, then traded a ransom of picks to move up for Anderson at No. 3. The Colts were up next and got their QB in Richardson. The Titans got in on the fun a day later, moving up to grab their own QB in Will Levis after he surprisingly slipped out of the first round.

This draft will shape the future of the AFC South with Stroud, Richardson and Levis joining Lawrence for a talented quartet of franchise quarterbacks. But it will also shape the present.

Rookie quarterbacks lose, and these three AFC South teams are looking to the future. Jacksonville’s future is here now. It ranked top-12 in DVOA on offense and special teams last year with an improving defense and a great coach in Doug Pederson.

Now, the Jags luck into six division games against potentially all rookie quarterbacks. Jacksonville might get one game against Ryan Tannehill before Levis takes over, but Stroud will start all year and Richardson likely plays quickly too. Jacksonville has a great chance of going 5-1 or even 6-0 in those division games. That gives the Jaguars a very high floor and essentially locks them in as division winners.

Jacksonville also plays four games against the awful NFC South. That means another rookie QB in No. 1 pick Bryce Young and the Panthers, along with Atlanta’s Desmond Ridder and Tampa’s Kyle Trask. That’s nine Jaguars games — over half their schedule — against QBs with four combined professional starts.

Trevor Lawrence will be by far the best QB on the field in those nine games. He’s got two more against sophomores Kenny Pickett and Brock Purdy, and he’s the better QB with the better roster against Deshaun Watson’s Browns and Derek Carr’s Saints.

Jacksonville’s schedule gives the Jaguars a terrific floor. They probably won’t go 10-0 in those division and NFC South games, but 8-2 or 9-1 seems reasonable. The rest of the schedule is tough — four AFC North games, plus the 49ers, Chiefs, and Bills — but even going 3-4 in those games gets Jacksonville to 11 or 12 wins, in the thick of the AFC playoffs.

That’s right where I put the Jaguars, with an average season near 12 wins, a floor around 10 and an upside of 14 or more. So, how do we bet Jacksonville?

The must-have app for NFL bettors

The best NFL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Multiple Ways to Bet Jacksonville Futures

That potential 10-win floor means the first bet is very obvious. Jacksonville’s early team total is 9.5. The Jaguars could top that just with their division and NFC South games alone.

I’m betting the over 9.5 wins at -134 (FanDuel).

The division is another way to go. Jacksonville is -150 to win the AFC South, an implied 60%. I see some value at that number, but I’m not super eager to bet a division future at that juice this far out.

Instead, I’ll get more aggressive.

The Jaguars likely finish far ahead of the rest of the division — but could the Texans finish second? Stroud and Anderson are floor raisers, and DeMeco Ryans will want to establish a winning culture in Houston. The Texans also have zero incentive to tank, since they already traded away their first- and third-round picks next year.

Houston got the draft’s most pro-ready QB and will try to win games this year. And they don’t have to be great! We just need it to be better than the Colts and Titans with rookie QBs, maybe all year if Tennessee jettisons Ryan Tannehill before the season to turn to Levis and Malik Willis.

Books have Tennessee at 7.5 wins, Indianapolis at 6.5 and Houston at 5.5. These teams are clustered together and will play each other in the final few weeks, leaving several hedge opportunities. It’s possible Houston finishes second in the division even with six or seven wins.

I like Jaguars-Texans 1-2 exact finish in the AFC South at +600.

If you like the Jaguars pitch and want to dream bigger, you can go individual or team.

If Jacksonville gets to 13 or 14 wins, it’ll have a shot at the 1-seed, especially since every other AFC contender has tough division competition. The Jaguars aren’t a Super Bowl roster, but a top-2 seed gives them a real chance, and the 1-seed means a bye. A great regular season makes the Jaguars a value at +1600 to win the AFC at bet365.

Don’t trust the Jaguars in the postseason? Any quarterback of a top-2 seed is an MVP threat, and everybody loves Trevor Lawrence. A great Jacksonville season almost certainly means a huge Lawrence season. He’s +2000 to win MVP at bet365, my favorite midrange sleeper MVP bet on the board.

However you do it, the message is clear.

Jacksonville finally didn’t have to focus on the future in this year’s NFL Draft. The Jaguars may have won the present instead, and it’s time for you to invest.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.