Sunday’s matchup between the Steelers and the Jaguars will have a lot of emotions and desperation on the line. Pittsburgh looks to get revenge on the Jaguars who defeated them twice last year, including in the playoffs. Jacksonville must win or their season is over. Kickoff inside TIAA Bank Field is at 1 PM ET.
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As mentioned, the Jaguars defeated the Steelers twice last year. They’ve also won 6 out of the last 9 games against Pittsburgh and lead the overall head-to-head series with a record of 14-11. In the last two games, Pittsburgh lost by an average of 12 ppg.
Pittsburgh (6-2-1) is undefeated on the road with a record of 3-0-1. They demolished the Panthers last week on TNF by a score of 52-21. The Steelers come into this matchup having won 5 straight games, reestablishing themselves as one of the AFC’s best teams. Can Pittsburgh end the Jaguars season and get revenge?
Jacksonville (3-6) has lost 5 straight games and is on the verge of being eliminated from any real contention at a playoff spot. Their once vaunted defense has struggled badly over the last month, but not as much as their anemic offense. Can Jacksonville save their season with a big win over the Steelers?
The spread for this game has been all over the place depending on which sportsbook you use. With many online sites, the spread opened with the Jaguars getting 3.5 points. However, some online betting sites opened with Jacksonville getting 5 points. Throughout the week, depending on the site, the spread went as high as +7 for the Jags. Currently, the spread sits at +5 for Jacksonville at most sportsbooks. The Over/Under hasn’t seen much movement since opening at 47.5 points. Currently, most online sportsbooks have the spread at 46.5 total points.
Free NFL Spread Bet and Game Prediction: Pittsburgh -5
It’s not surprising that the Steelers have won 5 games in a row. They do have one of the top offenses in the league. Pittsburgh’s offense is 4th in the NFL for total ypg (419.9), 3rd in passing ypg (314.2), and 4th in scoring at 31 ppg.
During their winning streak, Big Ben has thrown for 13 TDs and only 2 INTs. He’s also rushed for a TD. Ben has averaged 294.8 ypg during this span.
During their losing streak, Jacksonville has allowed 28.6 ppg. For the season, the Jaguars have allowed 22.1 ppg and 334 total ypg. However, the Jags have allowed far more than that during the last 5 games.
Even worse for Jacksonville is their offense. Over the last 5 games, the Jags have scored 14.4 ppg. Their season average is 17.8 ppg. Pittsburgh’s defense has come alive during this winning streak and they’ve really cleaned up a lot of their early season issues. Of note, Pittsburgh only allows 23.2 ppg and 90.8 rushing ypg. That’s bad news for the Jaguars who could struggle to run the ball this weekend as they are a run first team.
Last week against the Colts, Jacksonville only tallied 91 yards on the ground and ended up losing the game. In fact, over their last 5 games (all losses), the best rushing output the Jags could muster up was 101 yards against the Chiefs. They lost that game 30-14.
If Pittsburgh can contain the Jacksonville rushing attack then the Jags are going to have to rely on QB Blake Bortles to win the game. The embattled QB has 12 TD passes to 8 INTs on the year. During their losing streak, Bortles has thrown 5 TDs and 5 INTS.
The Jaguars are 0-5 SU and 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 4-8 SU when an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points, 8-17 SU as an Underdog, 3-6 SU in their last 9 November games, 3-5 ATS in their last 8 games during weeks 10 through 13, 5-10 SU when playing against a winning team, and 3-11 SU after 2 consecutive losses.
The Steelers are 5-0 SU and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games, 9-0-1 SU in their last 10 road games, 4-1 SU in their last 5 road games at Jacksonville, 7-2 SU in their last 9 games during November, 11-2 SU against teams with a losing record, and 8-1 SU in their last 9 games during weeks 10 through 13.
I expect both defenses to play well against the run on Sunday. That means it should be a passing game, which favors the Steelers and Big Ben over Bortles and the Jags. Furthermore, Pittsburgh has more talent on offense than the Jaguars do. There’s no doubt in my mind that Pittsburgh leaves Florida with the victory.
With that said, the Steelers moneyline of -240 doesn’t offer any value otherwise, I would jump on that. I do like the Total of 46.5 as I can see these teams exceeding that amount. However, I think the smart play here is with Pittsburgh covering the spread of -5 (-110). I believe Pittsburgh will win by a touchdown or more. These two teams are heading in different directions and Jacksonville just doesn’t have the same ferociousness this year as they did last year.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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