Jaguars vs. Pats Over/Under Pick
Will Sunday's AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars fall under the betting total at 3:05 p.m. ET?
Matchup: Jaguars (10-6) at Patriots (13-3)
TV: CBS, 3:05 p.m. ET
Line: Patriots -7.5
ODDS: According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the over/under currently sits at 45.5 points after hitting the board at 47. As for the point spread, the Patriots are 7.5-point home favorites to beat the Jaguars, who opened as 8.5-point underdogs.
PUBLIC BETTING: As of this writing, 64% of betting tickets are on the Patriots to cover the spread and 65% of the money is also on New England. As for the total, 52% of the betting tickets and 81% of the money is on the under.
INJURY REPORT: Tom Brady is officially questionable for this game but should play. Reportedly the injury was serious enough to require stitches and Brady did wear a glove on his hand all week. Still, it'll be a major upset if we see Brian Hoyer taking live snaps for the Patriots at any point during this game.
Other injuries of note for the Patriots: LaAdrian Waddle (knee) and Alan Branch (knee) are both questionable. Marcus Cannon (ankle), Nate Ebner (knee), Dont'a Hightower (chest) and Cyrus Jones (knee) are all out for the year. But none of those injuries are new.
For the Jaguars, Allen Robinson (knee) has missed most of the season and is done for the year, although that's not a new injury either. Pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr. (shoulder) is probable while Tashaun Gipson (foot) is questionable.
OUR PREDICTION: The Jaguars are first in defensive points allowed per game, first in yards allowed per drive and first in fist downs allowed per game. They were also second in scoring defense this season and pressured opposing quarterbacks 35.7 percent of the time this season when they didn't blitz, which was the fifth-best rate in the NFL.
Essentially, Jacksonville doesn't need to blitz in order to get pressure. That's significant when facing Brady. Teams that can get pressure in his face and play man-to-man on the outside have a shot against the Pats. Defenses that have to blitz all the time or mainly play zone Brady picks apart.
The Jaguars have the defense to limit the Patriots' scoring. With Brady also banged up, perhaps he won't be the sniper he normally is in the passing game.
On the other side you have a Jaguars team that has to play with a lead or else they're cooked. That's because Blake Bortles has a 63.0 competition percentage with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions while leading and a 57 competition percentage with five touchdowns and nine picks when trailing. They have to run the ball with Leonard Fournette and ensure Bortles doesn't have to throw to win.
So you have a great defense, a banged-up Hall of Fame quarterback and a team that needs to use a ball-control offense to win the game. I love the under.
NFL CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY OVER/UNDER PREDICTION: JAGUARS/PATRIOTS UNDER 45.5