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Betting on NFL football games, explained

News: Sports Betting Launch The News Journal-USA TODAY NETWORK

Week 1 of the NFL season is now here, and for many folks like myself, it’s like Christmas Day as it’s also the return of the NFL betting season.

Every Saturday I will break down how to bet the Jaguars upcoming game, as well as some of the other favorable betting match ups for the week.

But first, a little tip before we get started, you’re likely to win some weeks and you’re likely to lose some weeks. Don’t be an idiot and wager the rent money or the kids’ tuition. Play what expendable funds you have, should you partake, and ALWAYS know your limits.

Most folks who have bet on games have a go to site, and really most of the big name sites are reputable and perfectly fine. For the first timers, a quick Google search will get you where you want to go and for the sake of these articles, I’ll be using lines provided by

This week’s game

The opening week of the NFL season is almost always the most difficult to bet on. We have almost no information on the teams, and the only somewhat clear picture is the injury report, though even that can be murky. Also, Week 1 tends to have a lot of craziness happen that no one expected, (hello last year’s Jaguars-Texans opener).

If you’re not familiar with how the betting system for a game works, you can find a very good Lehman’s explanation here, before you get started.

With that all said, let’s look at this week’s Jaguars vs. Giants match up.

Betting Line: Jaguars -3 (-115); Over/Under: 42.5; Money Line: Jaguars -145

Breakdown: The Jaguars open the season as one of four road favorites in the league, as the -3 line has held firm all week. While a 3 point favorite doesn’t seem like a lot, keep in mind Vegas tends to spot the home team a “default advantage” of 3 points, so the bookmakers clearly feel the Jags have a relatively strong advantage heading into the game. The -115 juice speaks as much, as you’re going to be paying $115 to win $100 on the spread line, and $145 to win $100 on the money line.

Last season the Jaguars were a very good 9-7 ATS (Against the Spread), while going 4-4 ATS on the road. On the flip side the Giants, while only winning three games in 2017, were a decent 7-9 ATS, but a mediocre 3-5 ATS at MetLife Stadium.

I am a bit surprised the line hasn’t moved towards a -4 Jags lean with the news of the Giants losing Olivier Vernon for the game and a clean sheet on the Jags injury report but that can still change as we move towards kick off.

This will be the first Giants home opener since a 2012 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, so the home field will definitely play a role and make no mistake New York has offensive talent, but I feel like with as healthy a team as the Jags may field the entire season, they’re the overall better team here and the Jaguars defense turns in an as expected “Sacksonville” performance.

Prediction: Jaguars cover the -3 spread and the ML, but we miss on the 42.5 O/U as the Jaguars win, 21-16.

Other picks around the league

Browns +5 over Steelers

49ers vs. Vikings OVER 45.5

Bengals +2.5 over Colts

Texans vs. Patriots OVER 50.0

Redskins +1 over Cardinals