Jacksonville Jaguars (+380) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-490) Total: 52.5 (O-115, U-105)
It’s been an interesting season for both of these respective teams. The Jags had the first overall pick in last year’s NFL draft and are now back in the postseason, while the Chiefs have continued to be a massive threat in the Super Bowl picture. Jacksonville came back from down 27-0 in the Wild Card Round against the Los Angeles Chargers, but one thing is for sure here, you’re not going to get away with something like that transpiring against a veteran-led Chiefs squad.
There’s a lot of talent on this Jags team, but the Chiefs are in a class of their own, evidenced by their -490 price on the moneyline, in addition to also being 8.5-point home favorites. Defense has been an area of concern for the Chiefs, but the bye week should have helped them get healthier, in addition to figuring out some of the issues that have hampered them. The Jags have an offense that can click if given the opportunity, so getting pressure on Trevor Lawrence will be a key to victory for Kansas City.
It also can’t be understated how dominant the Chiefs continue to be at home, where they finished the year with a 7-1 record. Will a sophomore quarterback like Lawrence be able to manufacture offense in one of the harshest environments in the NFL? We’re not so sure, at least not to the point he’ll be able to keep up with what Patrick Mahomes will bring to the table.
The Jaguars are likely ahead of schedule for where you’d expect them to be after a very down season last year. The Chiefs are still classified as the king of the AFC and continue to have the best Super Bowl odds at +300. Kansas City may have struggled against the spread in the regular season, but they know the importance of these games and will show the Jaguars why they currently sit on the throne. As a result, bettors should feel comfortable laying the points here with the home side.
Best Bet: Chiefs -8.5 (-105)
The Jaguars showed two versions of play in the Wild Card Round, and if they don’t find a healthier option, Mahomes and company will pick them apart and create a miserable time. The total for this matchup opened at 52 and has moved up a half point. There’s likely some value here in expecting a high-scoring affair. Still, these teams did already collide and finish with a total of 44 points, so there’s at least some merit in fading a high-scoring battle on Saturday afternoon. Mahomes in January has proven to be a different animal, and he’s one of the best we’ve seen at creating offense out of nothing, which should make for an environment where the Jags will have to keep up with them. They might not be able to match them score for score, but these teams should be able to create enough offense to exceed the 52.5-point total.
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