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Free NFL Pick from Linebacker: Steelers vs Jaguars

Free NFL Pick Linebacker Steelers vs Jaguars

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Jacksonville Jaguars (JAX +6, O/U 47.5)

The Jaguars will welcome a Steelers team to Jacksonville on Sunday that they beat twice in 2017, including in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh will look for revenge as 6-point favorites, but Linebacker predicts Jacksonville will win the game outright 58 percent of the time. We therefore like the Jags to cover in this one, and Linebacker suggests a wager of $196 on JAX +6 for a $100 average bettor.

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Why will Jacksonville cover the spread?

  • Jacksonville’s defense has its hands full defending Ben Roethlisberger and a Pittsburgh offense averaging 314 passing yards per game, good for third-most in the league. The Jags have been exceptional in pass defense this season, however, allowing the fewest yards per game (200.6) and the fourth-lowest opponent completion percentage (61.8%).
  • Big Ben has struggled on the road this season. His QB rating drops from 107.1 at home to 93.3 on the road, and he has just a 7:4 TD:INT ratio on the road compared to 14:3 at home.
  • Leonard Fournette is back from a hamstring injury and is looking to torch Pittsburgh’s defense once again. In two meetings last season, Fournette amassed 290 rushing yards on 53 carries (5.47 ypc) and found the end zone five times.
  • Pittsburgh has been the most efficient team in the red zone this season, scoring TDs on 78.6 percent of its trips. The Steelers should regress more toward the league average of 58.4 percent this week against a Jaguars defense allowing a TD on 56 percent of opponent red-zone drives.
  • Jacksonville’s defense is due to rebound after allowing three passing touchdowns in two straight weeks. Jacksonville allowed just six passing TDs from weeks 1-7 before allowing six in Weeks 8 and 10.

How to bet the total in Steelers @ Jaguars:

Linebacker projects a final score of 24.9 - 22.5 in favor of the Jaguars. With 47.4 projected points and an OVER/UNDER of 47.5, we do not suggest any play on the total.

Need-to-know stats for Steelers @ Jaguars:

  • 21-34, 232.7 yards, 1.39 TDs – Despite Jacksonville’s struggles in pass coverage the last two weeks, we expect Ben Roethlisberger to be held in check on Sunday. Linebacker projects Big Ben to complete 61.6 percent of his passes (66.1% mark on the season) and to fall shy of 250 yards passing. Roethlisberger still has a solid chance to reach pay dirt, however, averaging 1.39 TD passes in our simulations.
  • 23 touches, 111.3 total yards – James Conner has been monstrous for Pittsburgh in Le’Veon Bell’s absence. The second-year back has averaged 22.5 touches and 128.7 total yards per game this season. Linebacker projects he’ll reach his touch average against Jacksonville, but will fall short of his usual yardage mark.
  • 3 receptions, 37.3 yards – Donte Moncrief ends up on top of our projections for Jaguars WRs with just 37.3 projected yards. Blake Bortles has been known to spread the wealth, so nine different receivers project to catch at least one pass for the Jags. Don’t expect a monster game out of any Jacksonville pass catcher.
  • 22-38, 238 yards, 1.47 TDs, 1.04 INTs
  • 4 rushes, 20.2 yards – Speaking of Bortles, the former third overall pick should have a solid outing on Sunday. We project him to throw for more yardage and TDs than Big Ben, but we also know Bortles has some turnover problems, resulting in 1.04 interceptions on average in our simulations. Bortles has been getting it done on the ground this year as well, ranking third among QBs with 269 rushing yards. Linebacker projects he’ll scramble at least a few times, resulting in around 20 yards on the ground.