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Leonard Fournette’s Release Moves Week 1 Odds & Creates Betting Value On Colts vs. Jaguars

Leonard Fournette’s Release Moves Week 1 Odds & Creates Betting Value On Colts vs. Jaguars article feature image

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Considering there’s just 10 days until the start of the 2020 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ release of running back Leonard Fournette certainly came as a surprise.

Fournette rushed for a career-high 1,152 yards last season and improved as a receiver, too, snagging 76 passes for 522 yards through the air.

The fourth-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft was the focal point of Jacksonville’s offense over the past three seasons, so the offense will certainly be down a key contributor this season. But how valuable is Fournette from a betting perspective? And what does this mean for Colts vs. Jaguars Week 1 odds?

Colts vs. Jaguars Odds, Pick

Betting Market Movement

The Jaguars opened as 7-point home underdogs at FanDuel Sportsbook back on July 9 and the spread did not budge all summer … well, until Fournette’s release Monday morning.

Shortly after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Fournette’s release, FanDuel moved this spread off the key number of 7 for the first time since opening the game.

Why is this important? Because since the start of the 2003 season, 9.39% of all games have ended with a margin of victory of seven points — the second-most frequent margin behind three.

In today’s NFL, running backs aren’t as valuable as they were in the past, so it’s a bit curious to see a ball-carrier moving a point spread — especially off a number as important as 7.

In fact, Schefter also reported that Jacksonville had been trying to trade Fournette since the spring, but according to head coach Doug Marrone, “We couldn’t get anything, a fifth, a sixth, anything. We couldn’t get anything.”

Thirty one teams refused to give up even a seventh-round pick for Fournette, yet this line moved off 7? This immediately seemed like a buy-back opportunity on the Jags, but let’s first dig a little deeper.

Historical Data

Even before Fournette’s release, the Jaguars were already showing value based on our Bet Labs data.

Since the start of the 2003 season, underdogs of more than seven points (which as I explained above is important due to the frequency of games landing on seven), are 224-184-8 (54.9%) against the spread (ATS) when facing divisional opponents.

Considering the spread value of getting more than a touchdown, it’s reasonable to conclude that the familiarity between teams that play each other twice each season leads to closer games, therefore benefiting the large underdog.

Additionally, teams like Jacksonville that were poor the previous season are often undervalued because the market (and the majority of bettors) are still making wagers based on their perceptions from last year.

Through the first three weeks of a new NFL season, underdogs that won fewer than seven games the year prior are 178-131-10 (57.6%) ATS.

As we already know, Jacksonville is now a 7.5-point dog against Indy and coming off a six-win season, making it a match for this system.

Considering the edge highlighted by historical data, and now the line move to +7.5 due to Fournette’s release, buying back the market reaction is a savvy way to snag additional line value and an especially key betting number.

At the time of writing, the market is currently split between Jacksonville +7 and +7.5, so it’s imperative to visit our NFL Live Odds page and shop for one of the many books offering the hook.

The pick: Jaguars (+7.5) [Bet now at FanDuel and get a $500 risk-free bet.]

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