NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Borrowed Copy
by Dennis Ranahan

One of the attributes of a great pilot is the ability to negotiate through hazardous conditions. An experienced hand at the controls would also know to shift to instrument navigation when the weather delivers near zero visibility.

It is at these times that the instruments will be guiding a trajectory and direction much different than what a pilot may instinctively do. In these moments, trusting the instruments over any gut feeling is a really good idea.

I’ve got instruments to handicap the National Football League. I understand why this team or that team is favored and what the direction the line is likely to go if it moves. This week, my instincts land me on the Jacksonville Jaguars in their home meeting against the New York Jets.

The Jaguars won their first two games this year, advanced to the AFC Championship Game last season, and are noted for having perhaps the best defense in the league. Coming off a loss, at home, against a below average Jets team with a rookie quarterback on the road, are elements that allow me to see how this could add up to an easy win for Jacksonville.

How could it be any other way?

This is the best bet on the board, a romp in the making. Bet the Jaguars and laugh all the way to the bank.

Doesn’t that just seem right?

It sure does, and it does to the Jaguars and Jets too. The Jets are always going to be suspect with a rookie quarterback, and while Sam Darnold enjoyed a big opening night in Detroit, his team has lost their last two weeks to the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns. While Miami may be undefeated, and the Browns are much improved, it can be reasonably argued that the Jets contest against the Jaguars represents the most talented opponent they have faced.

By that measure, wouldn’t the Jaguars be the right call here with a point spread that has been shaved from 9 points to 7½?

Wait, the line is going down on this game? Is the public really betting the Jets to generate that move?

Nope. The public is backing the Jaguars at a better than 62% clip.

If the public is betting the Jaguars, and I see how easy it should be for them to beat an overmatched Jets team on their home field, and yet the line has moved 1½ points the other way, what can we deduce?

I don’t always have every reason a game is going to win, but I can read numbers that clearly have a preference based on respected opinions that move lines. I don’t think I have this game figured out as well as they do, and in these situations it is best to do what one should always do, check the instrument panel.

Even off a loss, a confident Jaguars team with a suspect offense is no sure bet to cover a point spread. Someone has figured out that the Jets are the best play of the week by their measurements, and the books are agreeing with them.

I’m only passing on someone else's great work, but our tickets will cash just as if it was an original.

Qoxhi Picks: New York Jets (+7½) over Jacksonville Jaguars