Most NFL bets are made securely. When the New England Patriots come to town, you can wager on them being the favorite and them winning. This is not always the case for some teams. There are teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, that are constantly pinned as the loser, the stepping stone, the team to make easy money off of. This year, Jacksonville has something to say for all those who have discredited them. They await the chance to beat New England in the AFC Championship to advance to Super Bowl LII. Throw the Jaguars into the Super Bowl betting mix and you’ve got an interesting storyline, one that shows the true nature of the National Football League.
In Super Bowl LI, a lot of people took Atlanta because of their dominance throughout the regular season. It was a very close spread, and the Pats are always in contention, but this was the first instance in a while where many thought New England might not have a chance. Those predictions seemed to be coming true at halftime with the Falcons up 28-3. New England decided to change the course of the game by mounting the largest comeback in Super Bowl history to beat Atlanta in overtime. At halftime, the Patriots were at 16/1 odds of coming back in the Vegas sportsbooks. As that game showed us, the sportsbooks do not always get it right, but one thing is for sure, those types of wagers are there for a reason.
While Super Bowl LI was arguably the most exciting comeback in NFL history, it is certainly not the first. It is also not the first instance of a team thought to be down and out pulled off the victory. Jacksonville has echoed that sentiment this season, most recently with their performance in Pittsburgh against the Steelers for the Divisional round. No one expected Jacksonville to make it out of there, not to mention put up 45 points against one of the best teams in the league. The Jags shocked the sports world and made a case for being AFC Champion.
The AFC Championship is this Sunday, and as things stand now, New England is favored. They are expected to win by at least a touchdown. The over/under is set at 45 points, meaning sportsbooks expect this game to feature a lot of scoring. While this pick is obvious considering the talent and success the Patriots have, Jacksonville just proved the sportsbooks wrong last week. They pose an actual threat to New England.
If we’re talking Super Bowl odds, Jacksonville could run against either the Minnesota Vikings or Philadelphia Eagles—whichever of the 2 wins the NFC. You could make an argument that New England is the harder game. If Jacksonville shows up again, they could send the sportsbooks into pandemonium. You can bet that there is a high number of bets going New England’s way, but after last week, Jacksonville has merited the attention of both novice and professional bettors.
The NFL is an up-and-down league. For example, the Patriots are not the same team as last year. They are without key players. Tom Brady is another year older and likely approaching retirement. It would seem fitting that a young and hungry team like Jacksonville could knock them off when they least expect it. New England is favored, but Jacksonville has the gall to pull off what most seem to think is impossible.