The Jacksonville Jaguars host the Tennessee Titans tonight in an AFC South Division battle to kickoff the third week of National Football League action. The Titans are favored tonight, and bet on. The public bet against the Titans the first week and they thumped the Cleveland Browns on the road, 43-13. Last week, Tennessee was at home and their fans figured a second win was just 60 minutes of game clock away. Nearly 70% of the wagers last week were on the Titans, and they lost their home opener to the Indianapolis Colts, 19-17.
How does the public think the Titans will respond to their recent loss? With a win … on the road, as a point spread favorite. Once again, nearly 70% of the bettors figure Tennessee wins in Jacksonville.
Is the third time the charm for the public, or are they about to line up on the wrong side in three consecutive Tennessee games? We have some pretty compelling evidence working against the road team tonight and the wise guys agree, moving the point spread down with their money while most of the public players are betting the Titans.
The Jaguars looked to solve their long-standing quarterback problems with the acquisition of one-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, Nick Foles. Their quarterback woes continued when the veteran signal caller’s first series after he tossed a touchdown pass against the Kansas City Chiefs, ended for him with a broken collarbone.
In comes Gardner Minshew, a sixth round choice out of Washington State. The rookie has some impressive credentials, including finishing fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting and putting up huge passing yards in his only season in the Northwest. He started his college career at East Carolina, and transferred for his final collegiate season to the Huskies.
In relief of Foles in the opening loss to Kansas City, Minshew did throw a pair of touchdowns against a single interception while completing 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards. That was a real good start for a sixth round choice, although another sixth round choice, Tom Brady, turned out to be the best quarterback ever.
Last week, the Jaguars had the motivation to overcome the loss of their quarterback, and Minshew had the pressure of working with the first unit all week and being the man everyone was counting on come Sunday. His performance against the Houston Texans was more than many could expect from a rookie thrown into battle, but is that as good as it gets for Minshew?
Does he do better tonight at home after a second week of work with the first unit, or does he look like a rookie soon to pass the starting role over to recently acquired Joshua Dobbs.
Dobbs is a quarterback that showed some promise in Pittsburgh and was traded by the Steelers to the Jaguars in response to Jacksonville losing Foles. Little did the Steelers know at the time that they would soon be in need of a proven backup because their starter, Ben Roethlisberger, would be knocked out of action with a season ending injury.
The best time to back a team from a motivational perspective is when they play that first game with a new quarterback. If they win that game, then the motivation to make up for the loss of their starting quarterback is replaced by a confidence that they can win with the backup … which most often leads to a loss.
The Jaguars didn’t win the game in Minshew’s first start. But the contest came down to a two-point conversion late that left the Houston Texans with a one point win, and the Jaguars still working to compensate for the loss of their starting quarterback this week.
Tonight, they are getting a spread reduced by smart money, a line that gave the Jaguars as many as 2½ points early in the week, and at least one point less tonight.
Sometimes, smart money requires paying a price on the line … which is a lot better than paying a price at the window.
Qoxhi Picks: Jacksonville Jaguars (+1½) over Tennessee Titans