Eagles-Jaguars Betting Preview: Will Jacksonville Right the Ship in London?

Eagles-Jaguars Betting Preview: Will Jacksonville Right the Ship in London? article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carson Wentz (11), Calais Campbell (93).

Betting odds: Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars (in London)

  • Spread: Eagles -3.5 (+100)
  • Over/Under: 43
  • Time: 9:30 a.m. ET
  • TV channel: NFL Network/DTV

>> All odds as of Thursday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: Bettors clearly want no part of a team trying to decide between Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler at quarterback. Eighty-one percent of tickets and 83% of dollars wagered are laying the points with Philly.

One-sided Eagles money has moved this line from an opener of Philadelphia -2 to -3.5 (+100) at the time of writing (see live betting data here).

This number has hit +3.5 a few different times earlier in the week, and sharp bettors pounced on the Jags and the hook each instance to drive the line back to +3. PJ Walsh

Trends to know: The Jacksonville Jaguars have scored 14 points or fewer in three consecutive games heading into a Week 8 matchup in London.

According to our Bet Labs data, teams to score 14 points or fewer in three consecutive games since 2003 have performed well against the first-half spread at home, but have not held up well on the road or on a neutral site:

  • At home: 46-22-2 (+20.2 units)
  • On road/neutral: 18-33-1 (-16.3 units)

Since the last game the Jaguars played in London (Week 3 of last season), they are 3-6 against the first-half spread on the road, including 1-6 in their past seven first halves. Evan Abrams

The Jaguars are a small dog in London. Sound familiar?

Well, it should as Jacksonville has been a short dog (three points or fewer) each of the past three seasons. They have won all three games outright against the Bills (2015), Colts (2016) and Ravens (2017).

This will mark the sixth time the Jaguars play at Wembley, the most of any NFL team. That recent experience (and success) should help in a battle of two desperate teams, especially in the Eagles’ first trip across the pond. Stuckey

Did you know? The Jaguars have lost three straight games by an average of 20.7 points per game.

Since 2003, teams with a negative scoring margin average of 20 or more points in three consecutive games have gone 45-33-2 ATS when listed as an underdog in their next game. John Ewing

Which team is healthier? Eagles

The Jaguars’ normally dominant secondary will have its depth tested Sunday, as cornerbacks A.J. Bouye (calf) and Tyler Patmon (neck) didn’t even make the trip to London and D.J. Hayden (toe) is not expected to play.

The defense also faces the prospect of being without defensive line stalwarts Dante Fowler Jr. (groin) and Marcell Dareus (illness).

The Eagles have already ruled out cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring) and running back/returner Darren Sproles (hamstring), but they’re mostly healthy otherwise.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. Ian Hartitz 

Biggest mismatch: Philly edge rush vs. Jaguars tackles

What is wrong with the Jaguars? It’s almost all about their offense, as the defense is still playing at a high level. Injuries have played a major role (Leonard Fournette, Austin Seferian-Jenkins) and forced the Jaguars to rely more on Bortles passing to a new and unproven group of receivers.

The offensive line is built for a power running game (its advanced metrics grade out well there), but it struggles immensely in pass protection. It doesn’t help that the O-line is down to its third left tackle in Josh Walker, who is actually a guard.

The injury to Cam Robinson is having ripple effects along Jacksonville’s front, which has allowed 18 sacks and ranks 19th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate metric.

For comparison, last year’s AFC runner-up allowed only 24 sacks all regular season and finished in the top five in adjusted sack rate.

The Jags have lost their identity as a power-rushing team (part of the reason they traded for running back Carlos Hyde), and it’s taken them from a contender to a pretender.

While Bortles deserves a big chunk of the blame for the turnover problems (their -12 differential is second-worst in league), the skill-position injuries and tackle play deserve some, too. The Eagles have a banged-up defensive front, but are more than capable of forcing Bortles into more mistakes if the Jaguars can’t get the running game going. Stuckey

DFS edge: This game has an ugly total of 41 points in London. Given Bortles’ struggles, the Eagles defense could be an appealing target with their No. 1-ranked pass rush, per Pro Football Focus.

The Eagles rank in the top three in quarterback hurries, pressures and hits this season. Philly’s defense costs just $2,900 on DraftKings, but it has the sixth-highest ceiling projection in our FantasyLabs Player Models. Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Eagles -3

The Eagles have not looked like reigning Super Bowl champions, and you can place some blame on the defense for blown fourth-quarter leads. Still, this unit ranks in the top five in red-zone defense and third-down conversion percentage.

The issue has mainly been their offense. Injuries have played a role, but the offensive line play has been very poor. The Eagles’ offensive line has given up 22 sacks and ranks 24th in adjusted sack rate.

Eagles quarterbacks have been hit 54 times this season; only the Texans have allowed more quarterback hits this season. However, while the Jaguars have elite talent along the defensive line, they only have 15 sacks and rank 22nd in adjusted sack rate.

Their defense usually starts with pressure up front (which they haven’t been getting enough of) and elite coverage on the backend, which hasn’t been up to par mainly due to injuries.

With Bouye sidelined, the Jags could have Jalen Ramsey (who also might not be 100%) playing alongside three undrafted rookie corners on Sunday.

My matchup to watch is Nelson Agholor against Tre Herndon. Among receivers with at least 20 receptions, Agholor ranks dead last in yards per catch at 8.5, as the Eagles have consistently thrown short routes to him all season.

However, I think this is the week they run fewer two-TE sets and more three-WR sets to take advantage of the Jags’ disastrous situation at slot corner.

Agholor averaged 12.4 yards per catch last season and is more than capable of exploiting Herndon.

The Jags have the experience advantage playing in London, but I think the Eagles’ defensive front has a better chance of getting pressure.

In a game of two desperate teams, give me Carson Wentz over Bortles — especially with all of these potential injuries in the Jags’ secondary.

Be sure to shop for the best number here. At the time of writing, there were still a few -3s around the market. Stuckey

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.