Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis won’t be the highest profile game on the NFL betting card this week but we like the value as one of our early NFL picks. Just for good measure, we back it up with a second play from the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears (gulp!)
Jags QB Blaine Gabbert looks to rebound this week from one of his worst outings as a pro
Early NFL picks last season were 29-20 ATS (59-percent) but this year we got off to a bad start in Week 2 with the Over/Under play on Denver at Atlanta. We’ll look to get back on track this Sunday with one side play and a total.
JACKSONVILLE AT INDIANAPOLIS
The Jaguars put up a good fight in Week 1 at Minnesota but were completely shut down in their home opener by the Houston Texans. Indianapolis shook off its Week 1 blowout loss by edging the Vikings 23-20 on a last minute field goal from Adam Vinatieri.
It was the third home win in a row for the Colts, dating back to last season, and NFL odds at Pinnacle offer Indy as a 3-point favorite while they look for their first divisional win in the Andrew Luck era.
Jacksonville is in for a long season and bettors will expect to find them getting points from online sportsbooks in most, if not every contest. The Jags are 11-8-1 ATS as a divisional road dog and 4-1 ATS their past five trips to Indy, including a 17-3 SU/ATS win in Week 10, 2011.
RB Jones-Drew rushed for 114 yards in that contest and 169 yards in the second meeting between these teams and after a quiet week in a game that was out of hand early, look for MJD to punish Indy’s run defenders.
Small divisional home favorites with a bye on-deck are only 3-6 SU since realignment, covering the spread just twice (2-7 ATS) and with a decisive edge in the run game; we’ll take the points with a desperate road team off a blowout loss.
Early Pick: Take the Jaguars
ST. LOUIS AT CHICAGO
Our second early buy comes from the Windy City, where Jay Cutler and the Bears will try and pull back to the win column after getting steamrolled by the Green Bay Packers in Week 2 Thursday Night Football.
Since Week 13, 2010, home teams with a few extra days of prep have played 11 overs, 2 unders and 1 push and since 2007, home teams in this spot are 22-9-2 O/U with an average 48 total points scored per game.
When the home team is favored, games have gone 13-6 O/U and going back to 1998, home favs of -7 or more points are 18-0 SU, 14-4 ATS and 11-5-2 O/U, with the home side averaging 33 PPG.
The Bears scored 30-plus points in each of their first five “real” home games in 2011 and continued that trend with a 40-burger against the Colts in Week 1. With 54 points in its first two games, St. Louis has shown they can contribute at least a couple touchdowns and with good weather in the forecast, we’re jumping on this one before it makes a run.
Pick: Take the Over 44
ATS: Against the spread