NFL Spread: Buffalo Bills at Jaguars 2018 NFL Wild Card Game Odds
The line: Jacksonville -8 (O/U: 39.5)
The Jaguars (10-6) are an impressive football team on paper sporting the NFL’s second best defense and sixth best offense. They play an imposing, physical brand of football that is predicated on running the ball with toughness. They’ll also be playing at home where they’ve posted a 6-2 record this season.
The Bills also like to run the football, but they have proven to be one of the NFL’s worst at stopping the run. Buffalo is 3-5 away from home and will have its work cut out for them in this game for sure. With the line just a point away from a key number and points likely to be at a premium, betting this contest has some tricky elements.
By the numbers
- Jacksonville has the NFL’s best rushing attack at 141.4 ypg/Buffalo ranks sixth at 126.1 ypg
- Jacksonville ranks 17th in passing/Buffalo ranks next-to-last in the league at 31st
- Jacksonville ranks second in total defense/Buffalo ranks 26th
- Jacksonsville ranks 21st in stopping the run/Buffalo ranks 29th
- Jacksonville ranks 1st in stopping the pass/Buffalo ranks 20th
If we are willing to trust what the numbers are telling us here, Buffalo has one true strength – running the football. Jacksonville is surprisingly subpar at stopping the run given the quality of their overall defense, but let’s dig a little deeper. Jacksonville should have the ability to make Buffalo’s offense even more one-dimensional than it has been all year. When the 31st passing offense faces the best passing defense, it doesn’t take much analysis to project very few passing yards for the Bills.
Rarely do I bet a game entirely on statistical analyis, but Jacksonville should be able to run at will on Buffalo’s poor defense. Couple that with the late-season improvement from Jags QB Blake Bortles, and Jacksonville simply has more ways to score than will Buffalo.
If the Jags are able to get an early lead while playing in front of their home fans, Buffalo is in trouble. Should the Jags get up by a couple of TD’s, Buffalo is in bigger trouble. Simply put, any scenario where the Bills have to throw the ball is a gargantuan advantage for Jacksonville.
Betting considerations and pick
Normally I don’t like to lay this many points in NFL playoff games, but I’ll make a confident exception here. The Bills don’t impress me statistically or via the eye test. The only way I see the Bills keeping this one close is if they have success running the ball. Buffalo’s margin for error is razor-thin in this game and that’s never a good thing.TAKE Jacksonville -8 Bovada
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