Jacksonville Jaguars Odds to Win the Super Bowl
by Alan Matthews - 5/30/2014
We start our 2014 NFL team previews at the bottom with the longest shot by far to win the Super Bowl: the Jaguars. This is a franchise that hasn't had a winning record since 2007 and has totaled 11 wins the past three seasons. That obviously means high draft picks, but so far it looks like Jacksonville has whiffed. We obviously don't yet know what 2014 No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles will be for a while. Last year's No. 2 overall pick, offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, broke his ankle during the season and thus didn't play much. Joeckel logged 272 snaps out of a possible 1,056 last season. The team's first-round pick in 2012 was talented receiver Justin Blackmon, who can't stop failing drug tests. And the No. 10 overall pick in 2011 was quarterback Blaine Gabbert. We all know how that turned out.
Jacksonville started last season 0-8, losing every game by at least 10 points. It really looked like one of the worst teams in NFL history. Then came the bye week, and the Jaguars were very competitive after, including winning four of five at one point. Two of their four losses after the bye were by a touchdown or less. So it's a credit to the coaching staff that it kept the team playing hard.
When you look at the skill-position talent on this group and the fact Blackmon played only four games, well, you can see why it was one of the NFL's worst offenses. The Jaguars ranked 31st in total yards, 31st in rushing and dead last in points at 15.4 per game. The team's first touchdown in a true home game -- i.e. not including one in London -- came in Week 11! The Jaguars were held to single-digits four times in their first seven games but then not again, so it did improve a bit. Jacksonville gave up on Gabbert after Week 6, and Chad Henne started the rest of the way. He will be the guy this year as well as the team already has said it expects Bortles to sit and learn all year. The Jags don't want to wreck him as a rookie as the previous regime did to Gabbert. Jacksonville isn't expecting Blackmon all season. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is gone, but that's not a huge loss as his career was trending downward. The team's new starting running back is career backup Toby Gerhart. He'll get you those tough 3 yards, but that's about it. This again might be the worst collection of skill position talent in the NFL. The future all depends on Bortles and two rookie receivers, Marqise Lee (a second-round steal in my opinion) and Allen Robinson.
Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley made his reputation in the NFL as Seattle's defensive coordinator, but this group lacks game-changing talent as well. It finished 27th in yards allowed, 29th against the run and 28th in points at 28.1 per game. To be fair, the offense was so putrid at times that the defense was on the field a lot and often already in its own territory. I do wonder whether Jacksonville would have taken Jadeveon Clowney over Bortles had Clowney slipped that far. I believe so, even though Jags officials insist Bortles was their guy all along. The Jaguars badly need someone to rush the passer as they finished tied for last in 2013 with 31 sacks. Jason Babin led with 7.5, and he's back but also past his prime at 34. I'd bet the house the Jaguars take a pass-rushing end or linebacker with the undoubtedly very high 2015 first-round pick. Clemson's Vic Beasley perhaps?
2014 Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule Analysis
The Jaguars have a strength of schedule that ranks as the fourth-easiest in the NFL as their opponents last year combined to go 116-140, a winning percentage of .453. At home, Jacksonville's strength of schedule is the second-easiest with an opponents' winning percentage of .430. The Jags are the biggest Week 1 underdogs at +11 in Philadelphia. The Eagles weren't exactly gangbusters at home last year, going 4-4. Plus, they lost a playoff game there. Jacksonville was a decent 3-5 on the road, including winning three straight away games at one point. None of those teams the Jags beat finished over .500. The Jaguars are probably looking at a 0-4 start if not worse. They certainly will be sizable dogs Week 2 in Washington, Week 3 vs. the Colts, which easily swept Jacksonville in 2013, and Week 4 in San Diego. The next six weeks offer the best chance for any type of winning streak: vs. Pittsburgh, at Tennessee, vs. Cleveland, vs. Miami, at Cincinnati, vs. Dallas. There's no reason the Jaguars can't win all of those -- not in a row but have a chance in each -- except for in the Bengals. They might even be favored against the Browns.
2014 Jacksonville Jaguars Futures Odds
Odds courtesy of Sportsbook.ag . The Jaguars are +25000 to win the Super Bowl, +11000 to win the AFC championship and +2000 to win the AFC South. So put down $100 on that treble, and should the Jags shock the world you can retire to a Caribbean island. Jacksonville's wins total is 4.5, with the "over" actually the biggest favorite of any "over" on the board at -185. That's surprising. Bortles is +1200 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
2014 Jacksonville Jaguars Predictions
Needless to say I wouldn't recommend any of those futures title odds, and I don't see Bortles wining OROY because I believe the Jaguars when they say he's
not going to play if at all possible. I would circle Week 12 at Indianapolis as a possible time to get him in there as it's after the bye week.
Jacksonville has three home games after the bye, and at least Bortles might fire up the fan base a little and give a reason to buy season tickets for 2015.
I would go "under" the 4.5 wins; I expect a second straight 4-12 record. The Jags beat Cleveland, Dallas and division rivals Houston and Tennessee once
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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