Betting News & Analysis

NFL Week 7 Leveraging Tails: Bet Jaguars alt line vs. overrated New York Giants defense

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) pumps up the crowd after throwing a touchdown pass during the third quarter Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Jaguars blanked the Indianapolis Colts 24-0. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence during Week 2 against Colts

• Parlay Jaguars alt line -5.5 + Over 42.5 (+310): Analytical profiles suggest the Jaguars are the superior team, despite being 3 games worse than the Giants.

• Giants' propensity to blitz and play man coverage fits directly into the strengths of Trevor Lawrence, putting the Jaguars' offense in a good spot.

• The recent growth of Travis Ettienne in Jacksonville offense bodes well for the home team with an advantage in the trenches.

Last updated: Wed. Oct. 19, 11:30 a.m.

Estimated reading time: 5 min

Most bettors place wagers in multiple markets — spreads, totals, teasers, props, etc. — where they generally get oriented by following a bottom-up approach: “Which spreads do I like?” “Which totals stand out this week?”

But the goal in this space is to articulate my process for bets by following a top-down approach. We will consider how a specific thesis on a team, player, or trend is best applied and capitalized on the proper market. Some bets will track more traditional markets, but more often we will look to maximize our upside in the multitude of different markets offered by sportsbooks — dependent on finding the right market for the thesis! Let’s dive in!

We spoke last week about pricing in change — and how change is the name of the game during these middle weeks of the betting season — which led us to betting the Jets, as the market was slow to adjust to the Packers. This week’s piece once again centers around how to price in the early season volatility of the Jaguars — and the surprising Giants, who are off to a 5-1 start.

Parlay Jacksonville Jaguars alt spread -5.5 vs. New York Giants + Over 42.5 (+310 BetMGM)

Bottom Line
The market is pricing the Jaguars at well-below league average, despite efficiency suggesting they're a top-10 team. Against an overrated Giants defense propped up by poor opponents, with the matchup angles favoring the Jaguars, Jacksonville can ride its offense to a dominant win. 

º The belief here is that the Jaguars are better than their record indicates and will score handily to beat the Giants. Rather than bet the alt total at worse odds, we will bet on the Jaguars beating their expectations on offense and covering the -5.5 and the total. 

Market Evaluation

º To know how to price in change and where our views differ from the market, we first need to understand where the market prices in these teams. 

• Courtesy of @inpredict and Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin), we can see the Jaguars are being priced in as the 23rd-best team in the NFL. 

• Using consensus market ratings from media brands — PFF, 538, ESPN, FO, Inpredict — Jacksonville is ranked 17th by the market, suggesting a gap and potential value on the Jags in this spot. 

Fundamental Analysis

º The Giants rank 18th moving the ball on offense, and 15th preventing teams from moving the ball on defense. The Jaguars, meanwhile, are 11th on offense and 10th on defense. 

º EPA/Play suggests a similar story with the Jaguars being a top-10 team, but diverges from Drive Quality in their view of the Giants:

• NYG OFF EPA: 8th

• NYG DEF EPA: 22nd

• JAX OFF EPA: 10th

• JAX DEF EPA: 9th

º The analytical profile — whether using EPA, Drive quality, or market rankings — suggests the Jaguars are the superior team, despite being 3 games worse than the Giants.  

The Giants' average defense might merely be a product of their poor opponents: 

º We’re not only betting the Jaguars in this spot, we are also suggesting this game will go over on the backs of the Jaguars' offense. Consider the Giants' opponents and how their defense might be closer to the 22nd EPA rank than 15th overall. 

• In drive quality, Giants' opponents rank: 22nd, 31st, 25th, 28th, 24th, 4th

• In EPA, Giants' opponents rank: 22nd, 32nd, 25th, 24th,23rd, 4th

º The opponents have been about as bad as it can get. Although their defense has allowed the 7th-fewest points — which is likely contributing to the low total in this game — the Giants have yet to really be tested defensively, aside from Baltimore. 

Matchup Angle 1: The Giants blitz a league-high 50% of the time, and play man at the 4th-highest rate in the NFL. Trevor Lawrence has dominated both the blitz and man coverage:

º Lawrence will be blitzed early and often in this spot, but his .19 EPA against the blitz is 7th-best in the NFL so far

º Against man coverage, Lawrence is 12th in the NFL with a .25 EPA — a number, if extrapolated over the course of a season, that would make him an MVP candidate. 

Matchup Angle 2: Jaguars have advantage in the trenches and a young back whom they're leaning on increasingly in Travis Ettiene:

º The Giants are 4th-worst in EPA against the rush, and are allowing a league-worst 5.6 yards per carry; the Jaguars are 15th in Rush EPA, and 11th in yard per carry. 

º But as Travis Ettiene continues to develop more of a role in this offense — he's finally leading in snaps over James Robinson each of the past 3 weeks — these efficiency numbers should improve. Ettiene has been very successful in PFF colleague Tej Seth’s RYOE. 

º If the Jaguars jump out to a lead, their ability to lean on Ettiene and continue to run the ball efficiently should enable them to put up points deep into this game. 

Judah went 2-0 in Week 6 ‘Leveraging Tails,' improving his record in this space to 5-4 and his overall season record is 11-20 (126.2% ROI).

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