The week 16 Jaguars at Buccaneers betting matchup is a gigantic one for both teams considering they are each atop of their division but barely. Jacksonville (8-6) is in a three way tie with the Colts and Texans for first in the AFC South while Tampa Bay (7-8) could be knotted with the Falcons and Saints with a loss.
Oddsmakers have Jacksonville as a slight -1.5 favorite in this matchup and it does look like franchise QB Trevor Lawrence will clear the concussion protocol and be available on Sunday. The Bucs are hot with three straight wins so this contest should be a good one.
Why the Jaguars Have Value at -1.5
There’s been some strange line movement in this game, with Tampa Bay opening as a -3 point favorite but that switching to Jacksonville -1.5. A lot of that had to do with Lawrence’s uncertainty (head, ankle) but you could argue the Jags shouldn’t be favored here regardless. Jacksonville is on the road the losers of three straight and are still giving points to Tampa Bayat home on a three game win streak?
Aside from just betting against the “too easy” play of Tampa Bay, the Jaguars can cover this number with Lawrence back under center after being cleared to play. Lawrence has had a couple tough games in a row, but he’s also played two of the better defenses in the NFL in Baltimore and Cleveland. The Bucs have allowed 25+ points in three of their last five.
The Jaguars travel on Sunday but it’s in-state just 170 miles to the Southwest. Not only that, Jacksonville has been a very good road team this year, going 4-1 away from Duval County.
Why the Bucs Have Value at +1.5
Maybe oddsmakers just don’t trust Tampa Bay yet considering they are still just 7-7, but this is a team with momentum. Green Bay was playing for their playoff lives last week and all the Bucs did was go into Lambeau and dominate in a 34-20 win as +3.5 underdogs.
Tampa Bay QB Baker Mayfield led the win over Green Bay going 22/28 for 381 yards and 4 TD passes. That performance led to Mayfield being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, and he now has 7 TDs to 1 INT during the Bucs’ three game win streak. The Jags are giving up 29.3 ppg during their three straight losses.
Lawrence is back under center for the Jaguars, but how effective is he going to be after being in concussion protocol all week? Lawrence has also been battling an ankle injury since the Monday night loss to the Bengals in week 13 so he’s pretty banged up right now.
Free Week 16 Jaguars at Buccaneers Betting Pick
This is solely a play on the line, because it’s very interesting that the Jaguars are favored here. This game is a tale of two first place teams heading in the opposite direction. Tampa’s QB was the Player of the Week – Jacksonville’s didn’t know if he was going to play until Saturday night, and it’s still Jacksonville that is favored? The trap is on Tampa Bay.
Free Pick: Jaguars -1.5