Green Bay at Jacksonville Week 1 Expert Betting Pick
One of the most intriguing Week 1 games in the NFL this season is from Jacksonville as many think the Jaguars will finally return to the playoff this year with one of the most talented young rosters in the NFL. Their opponent is the Green Bay Packers, who are playoff regulars under Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay is a 4.5-point favorite on NFL odds.
Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Green Bay at Jacksonville Week 1 Expert Betting Pick & TV Info
When: Sunday, Sept. 11, 1 PM ET
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville
Radio: Green Bay / Jacksonville
Opening NFL Lines: Packers -4.5 (48)
Green Bay vs Jacksonville Historic Betting Trends
These teams last played in 2012 in Green Bay. The Packers won 24-15. Rodgers connected with Donald Driver for a 4-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Mason Crosby made up for an earlier miss with a 25-yard field goal and Green Bay escaped against what was one of the NFL’s worst teams that season. Rodgers was 22 of 35 for 186 yards and two touchdowns, which moved him past Bart Starr into second place on the Green Bay career list. Jacksonville’s quarterback back then was the forgettable Blaine Gabbert. The Jaguars hurt themselves repeatedly with drops and untimely penalties.
Why Bet Green Bay?
Because Rodgers might be the NFL’s top QB. But will the team have top receiver Jordy Nelson healthy? He missed all of last year with a torn ACL and is currently on the PUP list with tendonitis in the other knee from favoring it during rehab. He’s not playing in any preseason games and it’s quite possible that Nelson won’t be ready for Week 1. That would be a huge blow. Nelson hasn't put a timetable on his return. He would only say that he plans to play in the regular-season opener.
“The only timetable is Week 1,” Nelson said. “That’s the only thing we’re worried about. We’re just going to progress as it goes. Not different from what I said with the ACL — as things work forward, you continue to work forward with it and go from there.”
Nelson’s preseason injury last year had significant impact on quarterback Rodgers, who lost his best deep threat, and the offense, which plummeted to 23rd overall and tied for 25th in passing. If the Packers have to play a meaningful game or two without their Pro Bowl receiver, early indications suggest they’ll be better off than they were last year. They are deeper at receiver with Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, Trevor Davis, Eddie Lacy and eventually Jared Cook and Ty Montgomery.
Why Bet Jacksonville?
Tackle Luke Joeckel, the No. 2 overall pick in 2013, has been average at best in three seasons. The Jaguars really like free-agent addition Kelvin Beachum’s quick feet, and that allows him to better handle speed off the edge, which is Joeckel’s biggest problem. Beachum seems likely to beat out Joeckel for the starting left tackle job. The O-Line should improve this season not just because of Beachum. It starts with Brandon Linder, who missed almost all of last season with a shoulder injury. He’s the best offensive lineman on the Jaguars roster at the moment. Having him back should be a huge help to the unit that struggled without him in 2015.
The Jags were one of the most active teams in the offseason. They underwent a major facelift on the defensive side of the ball in free agency and the draft. They added one of the NFL’s better defensive tackles this offseason in Malik Jackson. He was given a six-year, $90 million deal. Jackson showed up to camp 13 pounds lighter. He was a little heavier in the spring because the Jaguars wanted to line him up at their big end spot in addition to three-technique defensive tackle. Though he’ll mainly line up at tackle, the Jaguars still plan on giving him reps at big end, but felt he didn’t need the extra bulk.
The Jags also will welcome back last year’s first-round pick, defensive end Dante Fowler, from injury that sidelined him all of 2015. Fowler has proved to be worthy of his first-round selection thus far at Jaguars camp as part of their much-improved defensive unit. He is expected to be the team’s featured edge rusher this season, joining Jackson and Sen’Derrick Marks on the defensive line.
My Expert Pick
I like Jacksonville in a minor upset in NFL betting.