Jaguars vs. Texans Betting Odds & Picks: Will Jacksonville’s Defense Rebound in Week 2?

Jaguars vs. Texans Betting Odds & Picks: Will Jacksonville’s Defense Rebound in Week 2? article feature image
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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20).

Jaguars at Texans Betting Odds

  • Odds: Texans -9
  • Total: 43.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Odds above as of Thursday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet all Week 2 NFL spreads at reduced juice (-105).

It’s difficult to start a season as poorly as the Jaguars did in their 40-26 loss to the Chiefs, a game that featured both ejections and injuries. Along with losing the game, Jacksonville also lost its starting quarterback Nick Foles to a collarbone injury.

Now the Jaguars will take a rookie quarterback into a divisional matchup with the rival Houston Texans as 9-point underdogs. Is this line too high for the Texans to cover?

Our experts break down the most important angles of this matchup, complete with Sean Koerner’s projected odds and our staff’s favorite picks.

Jaguars-Texans Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Texans

The Jaguars have an abundance of names names on their injury report. Most notable is defensive end Yannick Ngakoue who hasn’t practiced this week.

His potential absence would be good news for Deshaun Watson given that Ngakoue led the Jags in quarterback pressures, hits and was second on the team in sacks last season. Cornerback A.J. Bouye was also added to the injury report on Thursday, but he still got in a limited practice.

Keke Coutee (ankle) is back to practicing in full, but DeAndre Hopkins (ribs) has been limited over the past two days. However, the Texans limited him in practices most of last season, so there’s likely nothing to worry about here. —Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Texans -7.5
  • Projected Total: 43

The Jaguars lost Foles to a broken collarbone, so they’re going to have to roll with Gardner Minshew. I have this drop-off being right around 3.5 points.

Minshew is a raw rookie who had an up and down preseason. He at least got to see in-game action against the Chiefs and did look fairly comfortable considering he was thrown into the fire. His ability to move around the pocket and scramble if needed is going to make this feel like a Blake Bortles-led Jaguars going forward.

I’m thinking the Texans -9 is too much of an adjustment. The Jaguars defense is still very solid and could keep this a low-scoring game, which can make getting a big number like 9 even more valuable. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Texans RB Duke Johnson vs. Jaguars’ Linebackers in Coverage

The Texans went 2-0 against the Jaguars last season, but Watson was held in check through the air (6.2 yards per attempt, 186.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game). In the words of the late Notorious B.I.G: Things done changed.

Last season, Watson didn’t have an able blindside protector like Laremy Tunsil to combat the Jags’ ferocious pass rush, and didn’t have a reliable check-down option who could make plays in space. Instead, he had to constantly rely on Hopkins to win against Jalen Ramsey and Bouye.

Week 1 served as a reminder that Ramsey and Bouye can be beat — I think Sammy Watkins (9-198-3) just scored another touchdown — but it also exposed the Jags’ linebacking unit, which combined to allow 13-of-14 passes for 138 yards to be completed in their coverage, including 9-of-9 for 68 yards vs. running backs, according to Pro Football Focus.

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen (41)

Lamar Miller (IR; ACL) averaged just 2.1 catches for 15.1 yards in his three years as the Texans lead back and managed all of three catches for -1 yards on five targets in two meetings with the Jags last season — he’s no Johnson.

The former Brown averages 9.2 yards per reception in his career, nearly two full yards more than what Miller has posted with Houston (7.4), and Johnson got right to work with four catches for 33 yards in his first game with the Texans last week.

Houston’s arsenal of downfield weapons (Hopkins, Will Fuller and Kenny Stills) will be the top priority for Jacksonville after getting destroyed by Watkins last week, leaving Johnson with ample space to operate against Quincy Williams, Najee Goode, Myles Jack and Co. — Chris Raybon

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Jaguars +9

I think this line is a complete overreaction to Week 1.

The Jaguars got stomped on their own field in embarrassing fashion, primarily due to their highly-touted defense not showing up. Jack got thrown out in the first half and the secondary was confused and/or missed assignments on a number of big Chiefs plays on offense (credit Andy Reid and Co. for the scheming).

Still, the Jaguars have one of the NFL’s better defensive units, one that has given Watson fits throughout his young career. Houston tried to upgrade its offensive line with the signing of Tunsil, but this is still not a strong unit and it showed in Week 1 against the Saints.

After New Orleans recorded six sacks on Monday night, the Texans’ offensive line is right back in the basement at 32nd overall in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, which is where they finished last season.

It’s only one game, but this unit still has a long way to go and the Jags have the personnel up front to get to Watson with the talent at corner on the back end to match up on the outside.

The Texans also don’t have a top-tier tight end to exploit one of the Jaguars’ biggest coverage weaknesses. Johnson could have some success out of the backfield as Raybon alluded to above, but I fully expect a major bounce-back performance from the Jaguars defense in week two.

Minshew got thrown into the fire in Week 1 and looked much better than I anticipated. He can do enough against a very poor Texans secondary to keep the Jags within this number.

I make this Jaguars +7, so will gladly take anything above a touchdown. The extra day of rest and prep also doesn’t hurt Jacksonville.