Recommended Wagers: Jacksonville and Pittsburgh (Part 1)

Due to the number of recommendations, I’m doing this a tad differently. I’ll focus on two games per post with shorter analysis on each game. This is both a testament to my laziness and my perceived laziness on your part, as I don’t think people would actually read 6 in depth break downs. Sorry for the insult.

Miami @ Jacksonville
Recommended Wager: JAX -3.0
Strength: 4.77

Key Injuries:
Miami Dolphins: (Week 11 bye)
-LB Elandon Robers (concussion) was INACTIVE week 2 after being limited. He will return week 3.
-CB Byron Jones (groin) was injured week 2. He is OUT after not practicing all week.
IR: WR Albert Wilson (opt out), WR Antonio Callways (suspension till week 8), Vince Biegel (Achilles)

Jacksonville Jaguars: (Week 7 bye)
-WR DJ Chark Jr. (chest) is QUESTIONABLE. He got in two limited sessions Mon/Tue then did not practice Wednesday. It’s expected that he’ll play.
-C Brandon Linder (knee) was injured week 2. He is OUT after not practicing all week.
IR: RB Ryquell Armstead (reserve/COVID-19), DE Josh Mauro (suspension), DT Al Woods (opt out), CB Rashaan Melvin (opt out), Josh Lambo (left hip).

Line movement: The line opened at Jags -1 and was quickly bet up to 3, which is where things sit now.

We kick things off with Thursday Night Football, taking the Jags -3.0 over the Dolphins.

Listen up, you pansies. Maybe you aren’t convinced by the models brilliance. Maybe you think analytics are dumb. Maybe you think we’re just a bunch of nerds with internet access. OK, fine. I won’t dispute any of that. But are you really going to not take the Mustache vs the fucking Dolphins? I didn’t think so.

The Jags offense is actually off to a sneaky good start, ranking top 5 in the entire league in EPA/play (expected points added). Minshew is completing 75.4% of his passes, good for 7.9 YPA, 6 TDs, and 2 picks. It’s not a total surprise to see the gritty 6th rounder off to an efficient start after posting a 70.3 PFF grade last year. The teams top receiver, DJ Chark is banged up with a chest injury, but is expected to play. Meanwhile, 2017 UDFA Keelan Cole is leading the team in targets (12), receptions (11), TDs (2), and is second to Chark in yards. It’s not the best receiving options in the world and they play behind a subpar offensive line, but Minshew alone has put the Jags above the “Tank for Trevor” teams. Unfortunately, the defense doesn’t have a Gardner-equivalent. They essentially gutted their defense in the off-season and are coming off a week where they gave up 33 to the Titans.

The Dolphins may have made some improvements on defense in the offseason, but their offense (until Tua takes over) is still largely the same. Ryan Fitzpatrick — best known for his “yolo” strategy for quarterback and conceiving, will again make the start. He’s both capable of throwing 5 interceptions as he is putting up MVP-esque numbers. The offensive line is still bad, and there isn’t a ton outside of DeVante Parker to throw the ball to. To his credit, this-says-tight-end-but-that-looks-like-a-receiver Mike Gesicki is off to hot start, catching 11 passes for 160 yards and a TD. As mentioned, the defense made improvements over the joke status they were a year ago, but they haven’t looked great in either of their first two games and will be without Byron Jones (groin), the teams top corner.

Houston @ Pittsburgh
Recommended wager: PIT -4.0
Strength: 6.29

Houston @ Pittsburgh
Houston Texans: (Week 8 bye)
-RB Duke Johnson Jr (sprained ankle) was injured in week 1 and INACTIVE week 2 after being questionable/limited in practice.
IR: CB Gareon Conley (ankle)

Pittsburgh Steelers: (Week 8 bye)
-G David DeCastro (knee) was INACTIVE weeks 1 and 2. He has not practiced this year, but will reportedly return week 3.
IR: RT Zach Banner (season ending – ACL), G Stefen Wisnewski (pectoral)

***note, if you’re checking the Steelers injury report, pay no attention to the Wednesday absences. It’s common for them to hold players out on Wednesday even though there’s zero chance they won’t play Sunday.

Line movement: The line opened at PIT -6 and was quickly bet down to 4.

Matchup breakdown:
Concerns about a 38-year-old-who-looks-50 quarterback coming off an elbow injury are valid, but Ben Roethlisberger has had a decent start to the season by posting a 71.3 PFF grade and a 68.5% completion percentage. Diontae Johnson is off to such a hot start there’s an argument to be made that he’s surpassed JuJu Smith-Schuster as the teams number one — but both are playing solid, regardless. Perhaps the most impressive receiver has been rookie/vertical threat Chase Claypool — he gets limited snaps, but he’s been crazy efficient when he’s actually on the field. The offensive line is solid as usual. They got hit with the injury bug but should return G David DeCastro, who is one of the better pass protecting guards in football. On defense, the front 7 is a wrecking crew. They were projected as the best in football, and are living up to that with a 86.9 PFF pass rush grade — best in the league. They also have one of the better secondary’s in football. To put it mildly, this defense fucks.

The Texans are a predictable 0-2 after starting the year with games against Ravens and Chiefs. Having to face the Steelers week 3 is a slap in the face from the schedule makers, but we’ll look to profit of it nonetheless. Deshaun Watson is still awesome — but he still plays behind a bad offensive line (exception: Laremy Tunsil) and are without DeAndre Hopkins after they traded him for a running back (still not over that). Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks are a decent enough 1-2 punch, and Jordan Akins has shown some promise at tight end. The defense is a problem, however. The pass rush is JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus, and the secondary is as bad as ever. I have a hard time not seeing JuJu and Johnson running literal circles around the Texans corners.

That’s it for now, bitches.

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