If you keep up with Vegas then you know it’s been a rare occurrence over the past few seasons to see the Jaguars favored in a game. Before being favored in the final Thursday night football game last season against the Tennessee Titans, the Jaguars were underdogs in a ridiculous 42 consecutive games.
Heading into the 2015 season, it appears to be more of the same. The Jaguars are 3.5-point underdogs at home against the Carolina Panthers to open the regular season.
While the Panthers were a playoff team and even won a postseason game, the Carolina club finished with a losing record (7-8-1) and snuck into the playoffs on the shoulders of an extremely weak division. Similarly, their playoff victory against a fledgling Arizona Cardinals team quarterbacked by Ryan Lindley was wildly unimpressive.
Regardless of the opponent, what it comes down to is the perception of the Jaguars. The team has been bad for the better part of a decade and no one is going to buy in on the changes made by general manager David Caldwell until we see tangible results on the field and in the win column.
"Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5) over Carolina PanthersWe’re going to be on the Jaguars a lot this season. Prepare for that.Jacksonville, along with Oakland, continually occupies the basement of the league in terms of interest level, and that often pushes the Jaguars into favorable situations with regard to handicapping. That isn’t to say that the Jags will be good this season (they probably won’t be), but value will be there based on the fact that the public is terrified to back Jacksonville, and we’ll take advantage.The first instance of that comes in Week 1, as the banged-up Carolina Panthers are laying more than a field goal on the road. Even if Cam Newton’s offense was completely healthy, this line is too high, and when you factor in that the Panthers will go to battle with Philly Brown and Ted Ginn as starting wide receivers, things come into focus.The jury is firmly out on Blake Bortles at this point, but if you’re going to give me more than a field goal at home against a potentially mediocre opponent, I’ll claim that line and run."
Rowland focuses on the fear most people have of picking the Jaguars against the spread, but this isn’t exactly a huge spread. Advocating the Jaguars on a sub-touchdown line means he thinks the Jaguars have a good shot at winning this game outright. This is a very winnable game for the upstart squad and nobody should be shocked if they start the season 1-0.
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