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All Signs Point to the UNDER When the Jaguars Face the Cowboys

When you see that these two teams are facing off, an offensive shootout is certainly not the first thing that will come to your mind. The Cowboys are infamous this season for having an offense that consists almost solely of Ezekiel Elliott, while the Jaguars have some offensive question marks of their own. Jacksonville has opened as a 3-point road favorite in Dallas.

The oddsmakers certainly don’t expect this to be a barnburner either, setting the total at the lowest number in the NFL this week: 40.5. This number may initially make you nervous to bet on the UNDER, but I still believe it’s the correct play in this game, and I’ll do my best to show you why.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Cowboys’ last nine games (avg. combined score: 32.78).
  • The Jaguars are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games after an ATS loss.
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Jaguars’ last three games on the road (avg. combined score: 41.0).

Jaguars vs Cowboys Game Center

Both teams are struggling on offense

The Cowboys are lucky that they have Ezekiel Elliott. He is the only thing keeping them from being the absolute worst offense in the league. The star running back from Ohio State is currently responsible for 41 percent of the Cowboys’ offensive yards gained, as well as scoring three of their seven touchdowns to this point.

Overall as an offense, Dallas ranks third-last in points per game (16.6) and fifth-last in yards per game (307.8). The team’s lack of a go-to wide receiver and a porous offensive line leaves a lot to be desired in an offense that was top-five in the league in those same categories just two seasons ago.

The Jaguars haven’t done a whole lot better this year. While they have managed to put up decent offensive yards (404.4 per game), they haven’t been able to translate that into points, only scoring a little over 20 points per game. This is mainly due to the extremely inconsistent play of QB Blake Bortles, who has thrown seven interceptions through the first five games. Jacksonville has the second-worst turnover differential in the league at -7.

It doesn’t help matters that star running back Leonard Fournette has been plagued by injuries for the entire season. He’s only touched the ball 24 times in the two games that he’s appeared in, and he’s expected to sit out for the matchup with Dallas as well.

The Cowboys have a better defense than you may think

Despite having one of the worst offenses in the league, the Cowboys are sitting second in the NFC East and it’s largely due to their stout defense. It isn’t something that has been talked about very often, but Dallas is one of the better teams on the defensive side of the football through the first five weeks. The Cowboys are eighth in yards allowed per game and fifth in points allowed per game, which are both impressive when you consider that they get little to no help from their offensive unit in keeping them off the field (they rank 29th in time of possession).

As far as the Jaguars defense goes, it will probably come to no one’s surprise that they are continuing their stellar performance from last season and dominating on their side of the ball. Despite allowing 30 points to Kansas City last week (only 23 of them were against the defense), I expect them to bounce back against the depleted Cowboys offense. They’re the top team in the league in yards allowed per game, holding opposing offenses to an average of 292.2 yards, and they’re third in the league in points allowed per game at just 17.2.

Ride the trend, take the UNDER

There isn’t a whole lot more to this game than meets the eye. Every stat you can look up and every trend you’ll find will point to the same thing – this game is a matchup of two bad offenses against two fantastic defenses.

The total has hit the UNDER in eight of the last nine games for the Cowboys, and the Jaguars have hit the UNDER in their last three games on the road. The average combined points scored per game between these teams is 37 points, which would mean the UNDER would hit by three points in this game if the averages continue. I don’t know how else to say this, except to blatantly shout: TAKE THE UNDER!

If you refuse to take the UNDER, then I would suggest to take the Jaguars to cover the 3-point spread. They’re 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games after an ATS loss, and their offense is capable of putting up enough points to cover if they can prevent themselves from turning the ball over as often as they have. The Jacksonville offense is the lesser of two evils, and the Jags have an edge on the defensive side of the ball as well.