Monday NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Jaguars vs. Saints Betting Preview (Aug. 23)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Trevor Lawrence.
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When you think about the New Orleans Saints, who do you picture? You’re probably thinking about the Saints triplets, right? Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, electric runner Alvin Kamara and leading receiver Michael Thomas — plus maybe a little side of coach Sean Payton?
Well, these are not your mother’s Saints.
Brees is retired. Thomas is out indefinitely with an injury. Kamara is fine but busy promoting his new cereal brand. He didn’t practice Saturday, and for that matter neither did Tre’Quan Smith or Chris Hogan. Nor did the usual kicker Wil Lutz, and there’s no punter right now either. This team is not the brand-name Saints we’ve all come to know and love.
Jameis Winston will start Monday night. He and Taysom Hill are continuing to compete for the starting job, but neither one will get much help from the skill players with so many names injured or out. The Saints are mostly interested in figuring out whether Latavius Murray or Devonta Freeman should get that final RB roster spot.
New Orleans might not be going all out in this one, but the Jaguars have a little more at stake. Trevor Lawrence has yet to be named the starter, and this is a chance for him to announce himself to a national audience on ESPN and lock up the starting job in the process. We should also get more from running back Travis Etienne, who only had a few touches in the opener, as Urban Meyer and Co. look to establish the run and find a team identity.
Even when Lawrence goes out, the Jaguars are incentivized to go hard and help backup QB Gardner Minshew look good. Minshew is one of the better backups in the NFL right now, and the Jaguars may like to help him improve his stock in case they’d like to trade him now that Lawrence is locked in.
I’m banking on Jacksonville’s incentive to make some noise Monday night and against the Saints being anything like the Saints from the past. This is a chance for Meyer to get his first professional win. I’ll play the Jaguars moneyline at +165 on DraftKings.
I’m also thinking about sprinkling a little on the Saints to lead at halftime with the Jags winning the game at +850 there. New Orleans has an excellent O-line and defense, so if the Saints do look decent early, that gives me some odds on a Jags comeback. If you just want to play the Jacksonville moneyline but think the Saints could be good early, you might look to wait and play a live moneyline at better odds.
Pick: Jaguars ML +165