Young quarterbacks could be the star of the show as Joe Burrow meets struggling rookie Trevor Lawrence when the Cincinnati Bengals play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.
Jacksonville’s Lawrence, like most rookies this season, has yet to get out of the starting blocks, so the Week Four game couldn’t be any bigger in the matchup featuring the No. 1 overall picks in the past two NFL drafts.
|Game: Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)
Location: Paul Brown Stadium. Date: Thursday
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
Cincinnati won the most recent meeting last year, notching a 33-25 win at home.
Joe Burrow went 25 of 36 for 300 yards and one touchdown. It wasn’t his cleanest game, but despite being down three points at the half, he orchestrated a 17-point third quarter to take control of the game.
Jacksonville has the 13-10 lifetime edge over the Bengals, but Cincinnati has won three of the last five meetings dating back to 2012.
Next game: vs Tennessee Titans
There was solid betting support for the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Arizona Cardinals. Despite having an 0-2 record, Las Vegas NFL odds had the Jaguars as only +8 underdogs at home.
They failed to cover the spread in the 31-19 loss, which looked to be going the way of the Jaguars at halftime. They held a 13-7 halftime lead following a 106-yard touchdown, but they were unable to stop the Cardinals, who scored 24 second-half points.
Trevor Lawrence thru 3 games, now has as many picks (6) as Tua Tagovailoa does throughout his entire career. But Tua is the one that’s labeled a bust? pic.twitter.com/OqmaJNUHUm
— KD ➐ (@notkdk3) September 26, 2021
Lawrence continued to struggle with 219 yards and two interceptions. He has been one of the worst rookie quarterbacks, which is surprising given his record with Clemson.
The total was set at 52 points, so it went under by two points. The Jaguars scored only six second-half points and that helped with the under cashing. They haven’t scored more than 21 points in a game.
It’s a sizable injured list for the Jaguars, who are still missing wideout Tavon Austin and linebacker Dylan Moses.
The likes of Jordan Smith and Tre Herndon could be a game-time decision.
Next game: vs Green Bay Packers
Most NFL predictions had the Bengals losing to Pittsburgh last week, but the result was never in doubt.
Cincinnati’s 24-10 win in Pittsburgh was a highlight victory for this franchise, which could be in for a successful season. Burrow threw only 18 passes, but completed 14 and had three touchdowns passes and one interception.
The highest-graded QB from Week 3:
Joe Burrow – 90.3 🐅 pic.twitter.com/KQTt9rB3dX
— PFF (@PFF) September 27, 2021
Burrow was efficient and with Joe Mixon rushing for 90 yards, it allowed the Bengals to vary their offense.
Cincinnati entered the game as +2½ underdogs, so it covered the spread easily. The over/under was 42 points, so the under cashed, mostly thanks to the fourth quarter going for only three points.
Wide receiver Tee Higgins sat out Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury and his status is uncertain for Sunday.
There aren’t many concerns on the offensive side of the ball, but the Bengals are thin at the cornerback position with Trae Waynes and Darius Phillips on injured reserve.
Betting on the Game
Despite starting 0-3, there has been solid sportsbook support for the Jaguars. The opening line of +7½ has been backed into -115, which is a solid betting move for a winless team.
We saw similar betting moves for the Jaguars last week before the lines moved back in favor of the Cardinals. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the line shift in favor of the Bengals, especially with home-field advantage.
Most of the market movement is due to bettors believing Lawrence will improve sooner rather than later. His college form has yet to be seen in the NFL, but seeing steady betting support isn’t surprising.
Despite throwing seven interceptions in three games, Lawrence isn’t about to take his foot off the pedal.
“You learn from all of them, but you can’t let it change the way you play,” Lawrence told ESPN. “As far as making better decisions, that does need to change for sure, but I’ve got to be the same guy. I still have to go play. I can’t play timid, and not take any shots or chances.”
Until we see improvement from Lawrence, we can’t back the Jaguars with any confidence.
Our money is with the Bengals at -7½, which based on last week’s win shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If the support continues to come for Jacksonville, the line could move to -7, but we think a double-digit win is on the cards.
We can’t see the Bengals losing at home to the Jaguars, so the -330 price is worth locking in.
The Bengals have a good offensive balance with Burrow and Mixon and that could be too much for Jacksonville’s defense to handle.
When you bet on NFL, you need to find value in relation to the chances of winning. The Bengals have a high chance of winning, so the -330 is a fair price from bookmakers.
Bookmakers expect a low-scoring game. The under/over is 46 points, and we’re leaning toward the over.
Burrow could have a field day against this defense, and we expect Lawrence to play better. It should result in more points, especially for the Bengals, whose team total is 27.