Check out our best bets in this week’s Fab Five-NFL Edition:
Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL: Sunday, November 18, 2018, TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida, 1:00 PM ET
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a great form at the moment after a shaky start of the season as they won five consecutive games to climb at the top of the AFC North with a 6-2-1 record and ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. On the other hand, the situation is completely different as the Jacksonville Jaguars lost five in a row and dropped to a 3-6 record in the AFC South and are practically without a chance to reach the postseason.
The Steelers destroyed the Panthers to secure the fifth straight victory
Pittsburgh recorded three consecutive wins over the divisional rivals Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Baltimore before they welcomed the Carolina Panthers and nobody expected to see such a dominance against one of the NFL’s best teams. Carolina actually got to a 7-0 lead in the first drive of the game but the Steelers took over since and with an excellent combination of offense and defense, the hosts secured a big, 52-21 win. Pittsburgh totaled 457 yards in opposite to Carolina’s 242 and scored 31 points in the opening half, while their passing game was particularly pleasing as they dismantled the Panthers with 324 passing yards and five touchdowns. Pittsburgh is the 3rd team in the NFL in passing yardage per contest (314.2) but they are facing the best passing defense in the league that allows just 200.6 yards to the opposing receivers. Mike Tomlin might need to turn to the running in case his passing doesn’t work as Jacksonville is allowing 118.6 rushing yards per contest, so James Conner will have his chance on the ground.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 15, 2018
The veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is completing 66.1 percent of his passes for 2888 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions for the Steelers. Roethlisberger had the best game of the season and one of the best of his career in a win over the Panthers as he threw for 328 yards and five touchdowns failing to complete only three passes in the process. The upcoming matchup is not a favorable one for Big Ben but he should be good to collect 200+ yards in connection with Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The Jaguars fell short in Indianapolis despite scoring 26 points
Jacksonville failed to score more than 18 points in four consecutive games and lost all four as a result but even though they had 26 on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, the Jags couldn’t avoid a 29-26 defeat. The Jaguars were never up as the Colts controlled the tilt since the beginning but the visitors won seven first downs more than Indianapolis (24-17) and recorded 415 total yards in opposite to the Colts’ 366. It was one of the best offensive performances form the Jags this season and despite the fact that they didn’t allow a single point in the second quarter, the damage was already done in the opening 30 minutes. Jacksonville was excellent in the passing game and collected 324 yards with a couple of touchdowns and they are averaging 264.9 passing yards per contest this year, so the hosts will have an opportunity to hurt Pittsburgh through the air as the Steelers are allowing 245.3 yards to the opposing receivers. However, the Jags can forget about their running game as Pittsburgh allows just 90.8 rushing yards per contest.
"If we can get a big win against a team like this, that might be the spark to make this run." pic.twitter.com/qSmNPxX1vb
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) November 14, 2018
The quarterback Blake Bortles is completing 61.3 percent of his passes for 2341 yards with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions for the Jaguars. Bortles had an excellent showing in a loss to the Colts as he posted 320 yards with two touchdowns and the Jags need him on this one to lead the offense again and connect with multiple receivers. He connected with his running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon ten times and will probably need to use them as receivers once again if Pittsburgh shuts down their running game, so another 300+ yard display could be on the cards for the five-year quarterback.
- 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games following an ATS loss
- 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games overall
- 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game
- 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a straight up win
- 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games in Week 11
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games played in November
- 4-0 ATS in their last four games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Pittsburgh won three out of the previous six H2H encounters but Jacksonville won the last three including the latest one in January this year when they upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs. Even though the underdog is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 duels, the road team is 5-0 ATS in their previous five meetings, and the Steelers are currently the hottest team in the NFL, so I am backing them to cover the -5 spread. The 4th best offense in the NFL that is averaging 31.0 points per contest has multiple offensive weapons such as Big Ben, Antonio Brown, James Conner, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, while the Jaguars are scoring just 17.8 points per game and they cannot rely solely on the defense here.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers -5 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
The total is set at 47.5 which is a bit too high considering Jacksonville’s home games that are usually low-scoring ones. Four of their five home games produced under 47.5 points this season and although they are facing one of the best offenses in the league, I am backing under on this one. Under is 7-2 in the last nine meetings in Jacksonville; under is 20-6 in Steelers previous 26 road games, while under is 12-5 in Jaguars last 17 vs. AFC opponents, so I believe the hosts will be able to somewhat limit the Steelers offensively and take this tilt to under.
Prediction: Under 47.5 (-110)
Full-Game Prop Bet
Jacksonville didn’t allow more than 24 points in their five home games this season and although Pittsburgh scored at least 28 points in four of their last five games, the visitors are facing a sturdy Jaguars defense and I am backing the hosts to keep the Steelers under 26.5 points on this one.
Prediction: Team Points: Pittsburgh Steelers Under 26.5 (-120)
Half-Time Side Pick
The Jaguars were down at halftime in each of their previous five games, losing all five in the end, while Pittsburgh didn’t trail after the opening 30 minutes in their nine games this season and I don’t think they will here, so I am backing the visitors to have a lead after the first half. The spread is set at -3 and I am going with the Steelers to cover it, while in case they are up by exactly three points, you’ll get your stake back.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (-115)
Half-Time Total Bet
Only two of the Jaguars’ last seven games produced more than 23 points at halftime and even though the situation is different in Pittsburgh’s recent games which were more efficient than Jacksonville’s, I am going with under. Jacksonville’s offense is not good enough to make a high-scoring affair out of this one, so the hosts will rely on their defense in order to get a win, so I expect to see a rather unproductive first half in terms of points.
Prediction: Under 23 (-105)
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Pittsburgh managed to keep their opponents to under 2.5 points in the first quarter only twice in nine games this season and even though they are facing one of the least productive offenses in the NFL, I am backing the hosts to score at least one field goal in the opening 15 minutes here.
Prediction: 1st Quarter Team Points: Jacksonville Jaguars Over 2.5 (-138)