The regular-season home debut of No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence will be Sunday when the Jacksonville Jaguars play host to the Denver Broncos. Lawrence and Jacksonville are coming off a difficult 37-21 loss at Houston last weekend while the Broncos are going for a second straight win. Let’s take a closer look at this contest and some ways to go if you bet online.
|Game: Denver Broncos (1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Location: TIAA Bank Field. Date: Sunday
Time: 1 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
Head to Head
There isn’t a lot of recent history between these two teams. Their last meeting was in 2019, a Jaguars win in Denver. Jacksonville has a 7-6 edge in the all-time series, including a 3-2 edge in games played in Florida, though the Broncos won in their last visit to Jacksonville.
The peak of this rivalry was playoff meetings in back-to-back seasons in 1996 and 1997, with the teams splitting those games.
Next game: vs. New York Jets
The new-look Broncos went on the road in Week 1 and came away with a 27-13 victory over the New York Giants. Denver had a new starting quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, who passed for 264 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Melvin Gordon III had 101 yards on just 11 carries, getting into the end zone once. Denver outgained New York, 420-314, holding the ball for 35:08 of the contest.
After falling behind 7-3 in the first quarter, the Broncos scored the next 24 points to turn it into a blowout. Denver easily won the game outright after coming into the game as a three-point underdog. The Broncos were 5-3 against the spread on the road in 2020.
The season-opening win was costly for the Broncos, who lost wide receiver Jerry Jeudy for a few weeks after he ended up on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Jeudy, in his second NFL season, had six catches for 72 yards before suffering the high ankle sprain.
Denver also lost a key player on the defensive side of the ball, with cornerback Ronald Darby going on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Darby tied for the team lead with six tackles against New York.
Next game: vs. Arizona
Lawrence had his moments in his regular-season debut against Houston, finishing with 332 yards and three touchdowns. But, his youth showed through as well, as he threw three interceptions in Jacksonville’s 37-21 loss.
The Jaguars fell behind 34-7 late in the third quarter before rallying for a couple scores to make the score a little respectable. Still, it wasn’t anywhere near what the NFL odds had in mind for the game, as Jacksonville was a 3½-point favorite. It was the Jaguars’ fourth loss against the spread in the last five games.
Jacksonville was hurt by the three turnovers committed by Lawrence, with the Jaguars’ defense failing to cause a turnover. Houston racked up 449 yards of total offense behind quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
The Jaguars’ defense could be a little short-handed, though cornerback Tre Herndon took a step toward playing by participating some in practice on Thursday. Herndon has been bothered with a knee injury suffered in Week 1.
They could also be missing cornerback Tyson Campbell and defensive ends Jordan Smith and Lerentee McCray.
Betting on the Game
The thought was that Lawrence would bring some instant respectability to the Jaguars, but after the Week 1 loss, Jacksonville is an underdog for its home opener. It doesn’t help that the team just allowed 37 points to what is expected to be one of the worst teams in the league.
Lawrence has to cut down on turnovers and the Jaguars have to show more on defense to keep this one close. Denver isn’t exactly a world-beater, but it showed some competence offensively in its opener. Gordon could have a big game with deep threat Jeudy sidelined.
The point spread started at 6½ points but has now dropped to an even six. Some of that may be coming from the thought that Lawrence gives the Jaguars a puncher’s chance with his passing potential.
If one of your NFL predictions is that the Jaguars will win outright, it might be worth taking a flier on them. The moneyline of +220 is a bit enticing, though that’s trusting the Jaguars to win a game after 16 consecutive losses dating to Week 2 of last season.
Denver has a veteran under center now in Bridgewater, who will take care of the ball to not allow the Jaguars to get short drives off turnovers. Taking the Broncos on the moneyline might be worth it, as things could get close if Lawrence gets hot.
Sunday is expected to be beautiful in Jacksonville, with temperatures in the mid-80s and no precipitation in the forecast. That could lead to some solid offense so the total of 45 could be in danger of being topped.
Denver didn’t have a great offensive game against the Giants but still put up 27 points, while the Jaguars scored 21 points vs Houston. The Broncos’ defense will be bringing the heat to try to rattle Lawrence, especially with Von Miller playing well (two sacks, three tackles for loss) last week.
The over is probably the play here when you’re sports betting, especially if the Jaguars can keep Lawrence upright.