Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars kicks off this Sunday at 1:00pm EST in Jacksonville as a home game for the Jaguars. Houston is currently a +9.5 underdog and +335 on the moneyline while the total is set at 44. Read on for more Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars best bets and predictions as Houston looks to keep this close by covering the spread.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction & Best Bet
The Jacksonville Jaguars came into the year with Super Bowl aspirations and have yet to look any part of a contender two games into the year. This is in large part of their offense, a unit that has mightily regressed in Off EPA. Expectations were that this unit would take a step forward with the arrival of Calvin Ridley to help bolster the receiving unit, but that has yet to be the case as their offensive line has failed to let any plays develop.
While the talent is certainly there at quarterback and the skill positions, none of that matters if your offensive line cannot do their part. A major reason for their dip in Off EPA as their offensive line ranks in the bottom 10 in PFF. Trevor Lawrence has found himself under constant pressure in a collapsing pocket and the ground game is doomed from the start as opposing defensive lines plug the gaps with ease.
The addition of Will Anderson Jr has given the Texans immediate production in the pass rush department and is more than capable of making Lawrence uncomfortable in the pocket. Their secondary has taken some hits due to injury, but Derek Stingley Jr is capable of shadowing Ridley in singular coverage if Lawrence has to get the ball out of his hands faster than anticipated.
As for the Texans offense, this is a unit that is poised to steadily improve as rookie quarterback CJ Stroud gets his feet out under him. He has done an excellent job at taking care of the ball, finishing his last outing throwing for 384 yards and two touchdowns.
Every bit of that production will be needed to crack this Jags defense as Jacksonville is well above average in Def EPA. With Tank Dell carving out a bigger role in his newfound starting duties, and Nico Collins developing into a reliable number one target, the Texans receiving unit will be capable of moving the ball into scoring territory. Especially if Dameon Pierce gets back on track, using the ground game to open up the passing lanes on the outside.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction & Best Bet: Houston +10
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Odds
With talent on both ends of the ball, oddsmakers have created the perfect buy low spot for the Houston Texans as they opened them at +10. Bettors were quick to back that belief, taking them down to as low as +9 in some shops. Their last outing against the Colts was underwhelming but the advantages in the trenches are too great to pass up.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 46. Bettors believe points will be scored at a slightly slower pace, backing the under down to as low as 44. A strong correlation with the Texans steam as their defense will be in a good position to slow down the Jags scoring pace.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Key Injuries
While the Jags are fairly healthy, the Texans injury report has been a different story with CJ Stroud, Tank Dell, Laremy Tunsil, Jimmie Ward, and Jalen Pitre all being listed as questionable.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Key Matchups
Can Dameon Pierce hit the ground running against the Jags front seven?
Dameon Pierce Vs. Jags Front Seven
An intriguing battle is in store involving the Texans ground game as Dameon Pierce looks to bounce back after a relatively quiet start to the season. So far, he has rushed for a lowly 69 total yards on 26 attempts and zero touchdowns.
DeMeco Ryans on the value of running backs and what they mean to the #Texans offense particularly
Loose translation: Yes. We need to run Dameon Pierce more 🤞 😏 pic.twitter.com/MorlBDWnXN
— Shaun Bijani (@ShaunBijani) September 11, 2023
He now faces a 3-4 formation that allows opposing running backs to get to the second level of the defense at a higher rate. Dameon Pierce will find himself with plenty of open field to work with, potentially forcing the defense to stack the box should he continue to slash the distance to gain in half. His production plays a major part to the pass attack as this potentially opens up passing lanes on the outside for Stroud to work with.