Plenty of eyes will be on Sunday’s Week 1 matchup that has the Kansas City Chiefs going on the road to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kickoff is set for 1:00 EST at TIAA Bank Field and will be televised locally on CBS.
Oddsmakers opened up this line at the Chiefs -3.5. It crept up to KC -4, but is back down to the original number of 3.5 at most books. The total can be had at 51.5 or 52 depending on where you shop.
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Jaguars vs Chiefs Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview
Kansas City Chiefs
When the Chiefs traded away Alex Smith to the Redskins, a lot of people wondered if KC was making a mistake and jumping the gun to Patrick Mahomes to early. I can remember some media experts even picking them last in the division. Turns out Andy Reid and the front office new what they were doing.
Mahomes won the MVP and was an over-time coin flip away from liking going to the Super Bowl. Mahomes threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. A remarkable feat given that Peyton Manning is the only other QB in NFL history to top 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a single season.
The Chiefs are the favorites to win their fourth straight AFC West title and considered by many to be right there with the Patriots as the team to beat in the AFC. With that said, not everyone is sold on Mahomes and the Chiefs. Many feel the young quarterback is going to regress and there wasn’t enough done to fix one of the league’s worst defenses.
The Jaguars are a prime example of how quickly things can change in this league. Jacksonville finished last in the AFC South at 3-13 in 2016. The very next year they won the division at 10-6 and had the Patriots on the ropes in the AFC Championship Game. Expected to build off that big turnaround, the Jaguars instead returned to the basement of the division at 5-11.
Most of the blame for the Jaguars not living up to expectations in 2018 were put on the arm of quarterback Blake Bortles. That’s why the team didn’t hesitate in moving on from Bortles and bringing in Philadelphia legend Nick Foles in the offseason. With a quarterback they have confidence in, Jacksonville believes they are one of the elite teams in the league in 2019.
One thing is for sure, the Jaguars should once again have one of the best defenses in the league. Despite last year’s struggles, Jacksonville still ranked 5th in total defense and T-4th in scoring defense. That unit might even be stronger given all the hype around their first round pick in Kentucky defensive end Josh Allen.
These two teams squared off at Arrowhead in Week 5 of last season. Kansas City won that contest 30-14 and were up 23-0 in the 2nd half before the Jaguars finally got on the board. Turnovers were a problem for Jacksonville, as they coughed it up 5 times and finished with a -3 turnover differential. Jags did outgain the Chiefs 502-424, but that’s a bit misleading given all the garbage yards KC’s defense gave up in the 2nd half.
Free NFL Betting Predictions and ATS Pick: Chiefs -3.5
My early lean would be to lay the points with Kansas City. I don’t see the Chiefs having any problem going into Jacksonville and getting a win by at least 4 points. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if KC won this game going away.
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I think the biggest thing that is keeping the hype down on the Chiefs in 2019, is the fact that very few people believe Mahomes can be as good as he was last year. Not because they don’t think he’s good, but just because of how rare his numbers were last year.
I get it, but I’m willing to go on record here and say that last year will not be the only time Mahomes throws for 5,000+ yards and 50 or more touchdowns. In fact, I think he does it again in 2019 and he might just shatter some of the records.
The big thing you have to keep in mind is that he’s in a perfect situation playing for one of the brilliant offensive minds in the league in Andy Reid. A supporting cast that was arguably one of the best in the league last year, looks even stronger, especially with the recent addition of running back LeSean McCoy. The amount of speed that this team has is crazy and there’s so many different weapons that defenses really have no shot.
I want to make it clear that I think the Jaguars defense is going to be really good. I just think the Chiefs offense is going to be something special. Mahomes and that offense are going to put points on the board and I just don’t think Jacksonville can keep pace.
I get the love affair people have for Nick Foles, but he’s the quarterback that people should be picking to regress. Eagles head coach Doug Peterson (Andy Reid disciple) had a lot more to do with Foles turning his career around than he gets credit for.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Foles struggled behind what looks to be one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Not to mention the Jags lack of a go-to receiver or tight end. They do have a great back in Leonard Fournette, but he only averaged 3.3 yards/carry in limited action last year.
On top of that, I love what Kansas City has done on the defensive side of the ball. They completely blew things up on that side of the ball and have a whole new mentality under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. I think they are better across the board and will be playing with a chip on their shoulder after all the negative talk they got last year. Give me the Chiefs -3.5!