The Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Everbank Field. It is the Jags’ first playoff appearance since 2007. The oddsmakers opened Blake Bortles & Co. as 7.5-point favorites at home, yet a majority of early spread tickets are taking the Bills and the points. This is likely a reaction to the way Jacksonville ended its season.
The Jaguars enter the playoffs having lost two in a row, the team’s first losing streak of the season. No team wants to limp into the postseason but should back-to-back loses to the 49ers and Titans concern bettors?
Using the Bet Labs database, teams that lost their previous game have gone 27-28 straight-up and 23-31-1 (42.6%) ATS in the playoffs since 2003-04. Hmm, not great but if you dive deeper into the results a surprising trend emerges.
Small sample size alert! While we would not recommend placing a wager based solely on these results there is a clear divide between teams that lost their previous game (12-25 ATS) and those on a losing streak (11-6-1 ATS). The difference in ATS win rate can be attributed to public perception. Recreational bettors can give one-loss teams who rested starters in Week 17 a free pass heading into the playoffs, but that’s much more difficult to do with teams off two or more losses.
One loss can be forgiven but bookmakers know casual bettors will have a hard time backing a team on a losing streak in the postseason, which can lead to inflated lines. Of the previous 18 teams to enter the playoffs on a skid of two or more games, only seven received a majority of spread bets.
Recreational gamblers are shying away from the Jags, though the line has moved to Jacksonville -9 at CRIS, a sharp book, despite a majority of tickets and money being placed on Buffalo. This betting trend, as well as analysis from our NFL expert Stuckey and the history of playoff outliers favors the chalk.
#Sacksonville for the win and cover!
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Photo Courtesy of Jim Brown – USA Today Sports