Steelers vs. Jaguars Odds & Picks: How To Bet Sunday’s Matchup
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images. Pictured: Diontae Johnson.
Steelers vs. Jaguars Odds
The Steelers remain the NFL’s last undefeated team while the Jaguars have lost eight straight games.
Will this game be as comfortable a Steelers win as most expect? Let’s examine how to find betting value on Sunday’s mismatch.
The Steelers offense has started to click on all cylinders. They rank fifth in the NFL with 30.1 points per game, including a league-leading 33.2 points per game at home.
Yet, despite their high weekly scoring totals, the Steelers offense has been less than efficient all season — they’re only 16th in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA, including an abysmal 29th in run defensive DVOA.
They also rank just 31st in adjusted line yards per rushing attempts, barely ahead of the last-place Giants.
However, their offensive line has done a wonderful job of protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, ranking first with an impressive 3.5% adjusted sack rate. Roethlisberger has transformed the Steelers passing attack after recovering from offseason elbow surgery. Despite ranking just 27th among all quarterbacks in yards per attempt (6.7), he’s in the midst of one of the most efficient seasons of his 17-year career. Roethlisberger ranks fifth in passing touchdowns (22) and has tallied consecutive QB7 and QB3 fantasy performances.
Their trio of elite wideouts should find success against a Jaguars defense that has allowed the eighth-most receiving yards and ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
In the games in which second-year wideout Diontae Johnson wasn’t injured, he averaged 11.8 targets, seven receptions, 84.4 receiving yards and 0.8 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, rookie Chase Claypool ranks second among all wideouts with nine total touchdowns. He’s seen a huge increase in volume, with 32 targets over the last three games.
Finally, veteran JuJu Smith-Schuster has dominated in the middle of the field, ranking fourth at the position with a 79.6% slot rate. He’s also fourth at the position in red-zone targets (12) and ninth in yards after catch (249.5).
Rookie quarterback Jake Luton will be making his third appearance, this time against a top-ranked Steelers pass defense that’s averaging 4.0 sacks per game, most in the NFL.
He’s found an early connection with leading wideout D.J. Chark. In Week 9, Chark registered the overall fantasy WR5 performance with 12 targets, seven receptions, 146 receiving yards and a touchdown. Luton will need to connect often with Chark and veteran Keelan Cole, especially given Laviska Shenault’s absence.
The key to the Jacksonville offense has been undrafted free agent James Robinson — the Illinois State product has been complete bell cow running back, ranking first in positional opportunity share (85.1%).
Unfortunately, the Steelers’ rush defense has provided one of the most difficult matchup for opposing running backs this season. The Steelers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to the position, and a league-best 27 receptions. Robinson’s impact will be limited, putting even more pressure on the rookie Luton.
Jacksonville’s biggest challenge will be on defense. The Jaguars ranks 31st in defense DVOA, including 31st against the pass. They’ve allowed the eighth-most receiving yards and ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Here are the wide receiver tandem performances allowed by Jacksonville over just the past two weeks:
- Will Fuller (5/100/1), Brandin Cooks (3/83/1)
- Davante Adams (8/66/1), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4/149/1)
- Keenan Allen (10/125), Jalen Guyton (2/84/1)
Against the Steelers’ talented trio of wide receivers, the Jaguars will need their best effort of the season.
This is a tricky situational spot for the Steelers, who have a rematch with AFC North rival Ravens coming up on Thanksgiving Day. Pittsburgh has also historically struggled as a huge road favorite under head coach Mike Tomlin.
As a double-digit road favorite under Tomlin, the Steelers are just 1-10 against the spread, per our Bet Labs data:
The talent disparity is too great between Pittsburgh and Jacksonville for a Steelers loss, but the 10-point spread and big-play passing ability with Luton gives me pause.
I’m teasing the Steelers down to -4 as well as the over down to 40 total points. The Steelers will score, and even if they are up big, the Jaguars should be able to generate enough points to crest this adjusted total.
PICK: Tease Steelers to -4, total to 40