Jaguars vs. Lions Odds & Picks: How We’re Betting This Week 6 Matchup
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Stafford.
Jaguars vs. Lions Odds
The Lions head south to take on the Jaguars for a Week 6 matchup. In May, when lines were released for every NFL game this season, the Lions were installed as 1.5-point favorites for this game. Now Detroit is -3 across the market, with Jacksonville failing to impress last week in a double-digit loss to the previously-winless Houston.
The Lions are coming off their Week 5 bye, so they should be the fresher of the two teams. Detroit has been guilty of fading late in games, but we’ll that that getting off to a fast start hasn’t been a problem for the Lions.
The Jaguars’ Week 1 victory over the Colts is starting to look more like an aberration. The Jaguars haven’t been able to build on that win, as they’ve proceeded to lose their next four games, including back-to-back losses against the Bengals and the Texans, who are a combined 2-7 on the season.
When evaluating NFL teams, it’s important to also consider their strength of schedule. Per TeamRankings, Jacksonville is listed 22nd based on strength of schedule, while the Lions are ranked seventh. In spite of their weaker schedule, the Jaguars often playing from behind, as 66.6% of their plays are through the air and only 33.4% on the ground.
The Jaguars’ porous defense prevents them from being more balanced in their attack as they’re ninth in the league with 4.6 yards per carry. They’ll be facing a Lions defense that’s ranked 29th in allowing their opponents to 5.2 yards per carry.
Another element that has hindered the Jaguars has been their inability to protect the football. As a team, the Jaguars are averaging at least one fumble per game, and they’re ranked 24th in the league in fumbles lost per game. The turnover battle is critical in the NFL, and consistently losing it is a one-way ticket to an unsuccessful season.
As far as injuries are concerned, Jacksonville looks to be in decent shape heading into this matchup. Quarterback Gardner Minshew could have his full complement of wide receivers with Laviska Shenault Jr. no longer listed on the injury report, and D.J. Chark has been listed as questionable. On defense, linebacker Josh Allen and defensive tackle Abry Jones are also listed as questionable.
While the Lions may trail the Jaguars in some offensive categories, I see them narrowing that gap after getting through the first four weeks of their tough schedule.
Detroit’s previous opponents have gone 14-5 while Jacksonville’s are a combined 11-12 on the season. The strength of schedule for both teams is key, particularly when you normalize the data and use an unbiased metric like net yards per play (YPP). Detroit’s net YPP is -0.8 while Jacksonville is at -0.9. So overall, the Lions have performed slightly better or, at worst, they’re right on par with the Jaguars despite playing tougher opponents.
While the bye week might have come a bit early for the Lions, it would have been a welcome break after a difficult 1-3 start.
Jacksonville could be the ultimate get-right game for Detroit, as the Jaguars are actually the worst team defensively per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metrics. They’re allowing a league-high 8.7 yards per pass attempt and I’d expect the Lions to target Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon, who has struggled this season as evidenced by his 45.5 Pro Football Focus rating.
On the injury front, the Lions are relatively healthy coming into this game but they’ll be without cornerback Desmond Trufant, who continues to deal with a hamstring injury that he picked up in Week 1 against the Bears. Trufant missed the next two weeks and returned to play in Week 4 against the Saints but then re-aggravated the injury in that game.
The Jaguars started the season with a softer schedule and still have only one game in the win column. Now, they’ll take on a well-rested Lions team fresh off their bye.
Historically, road favorites with at least 13 days between games are 53-27-1 in this spot for 66.3%. While that’s a win rate I can get behind, I like Detroit’s chances to come out hot in the first half. Over the last two years in September and October, Detroit is 9-2 against the spread in this spot for 6.21 units.
A first-half play would also avoid having to deal with the second half, when a dome team like Detroit can get fatigued — particularly if it’s a hot humid day in Jacksonville.
You can head over to BetMGM right now and grab the Lions in the first half at -0.5 / -118. I would play this number up to -1.5.
PICK: Lions 1H -0.5 (-118)