Vegas win projection for Jacksonville Jaguars is too low

May 26, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; A general view of Everbank Field during Jacksonville Jaguars organized team activities. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
May 26, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; A general view of Everbank Field during Jacksonville Jaguars organized team activities. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports /

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a much better team, at least on paper, compared to recent seasons, but the odds-setters in Vegas are underestimating them.

With the doldrums of the deadzone finally setting in, we have plenty of time to discuss how the Jacksonville Jaguars will do in terms of wins and losses in the upcoming season.

After pulling everyone into the hype last offseason, the Jaguars have effectively pushed away anyone from expecting them to be a relevant team in 2017. The hesitance is primarily due to the staggering regression of quarterback Blake Bortles in 2016, but in general it’s understandable for analysts and casual observers to not buy into a team that has failed to win more than 5 games over the last 6 seasons.

Historically, the people who set the odds in Las Vegas are very good at their jobs. It makes sense, as their objective is to make it as difficult as possible for bettors to decide which side to take.

This year, they have set the over/under for the Jaguars wins at 6.5. I think that’s too low and Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders agrees:

"Jacksonville JaguarsOver/under: 6.5 (as low as 5.5) | Our projection: 7.7Meanwhile, at the bottom of the AFC South, the Jaguars were shackled to a parade of Blake Bortles interceptions that masked just how good their defense became last year. The development of Jalen Ramsey into a star cornerback over the second half of the season raised the tide for everyone else on the field. Not only will the Jaguars add corner A.J. Bouye from the Texans, they’ll also break in young linebacker Myles Jack with a full-time role. The system doesn’t see much reason to expect a decline with all the talented youth on hand. In fact, it looks at a unit that was last in turnovers per drive last season and expects improvement. Keep in mind, the Jaguars underperformed their Pythagorean wins last year by 2.8 and went just 2-8 in one-score games.More from Jacksonville Jaguars NewsJacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdomJaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect nowJaguars News: This division rival might be making a big moveFormer Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeawaysFurthermore, with Leonard Fournette in tow, the Jaguars may have a shot at the offensive identity former head coach Gus Bradley always wanted. Our projection for their offense falls somewhere between last year’s disaster and 2015’s low-key breakout. And the cherry on top of it all? We have the Jaguars with the second-easiest schedule in the NFL next season.But, again, betting on the Jaguars to beat their win total is a bet on Bortles to not be a complete disaster in 2017. If 2015 was a total mirage rather than something the Jaguars’ passing game can aspire to repeat, our projection might look silly in a few months."

McCown is using the win projection estimated by FO’s simulations, so he has a pretty strong analytical argument here.

Once again, it all comes down to Blake Bortles – the breaker of analytics.

Bortles’ extremely high-variance play makes it difficult for stiffer numerical models to really nail down how the team is going to do. But at a quick glance, I agree that this team is just too talented and their schedule is too easy for them to not win at least 6 games.

What do you think? Are you taking the over on the Jaguars winning more than 6.5 games?