Best Week 16 prop bets for New York Jets-Jacksonville Jaguars
Sporting a barren roster with nearly two dozen players and coaches out due to COVID-19, the New York Jets (3-11) are looking to end a three-game losing streak and forge a feel-good finish to a tumultuous 2021 season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) are trying to do the same. Jacksonville lost its first game following the firing of first-year head coach Urban Meyer and is trying to snap a six-game skid.
This game will be headlined by the battle between the top two selections in the 2021 NFL draft, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. The two throwers are currently ranked 31st and 32nd, respectively, out of 32 qualifiers in passer rating. Both are trying to generate some positive momentum to carry into their second seasons.
New York is a 1.5-point favorite at most outlets.
Braxton Berrios: Over 40.5 receiving yards (-110)
The Jets will be without their top three wideouts in this game: Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Jamison Crowder. That leaves Braxton Berrios, Keelan Cole, Denzel Mims, Jeff Smith, and D.J. Montgomery to fight it out for targets.
Jacksonville’s defense is extremely lopsided in terms of its pass-run strengths. The Jaguars are fourth-worst in net yards per pass attempt allowed (6.9) and fourth-best in yards per rush attempt allowed (3.9). So, the Jets figure to run a pass-heavy attack today. Someone has got to be a big beneficiary.
I think Braxton Berrios is poised for big numbers.
Berrios has done a decent job over seven games without Jamison Crowder since 2020, averaging 5.1 catches on 7.3 targets for 48.9 yards. He surpassed the 40.5-yard mark in four of those seven games.
Plus, Jacksonville’s greatest weakness against the pass is covering the opponent’s No. 1 receiver – which Berrios will likely be in this game (in terms of targets). The Jaguars have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards per game to No. 1 receivers (72.9).
It’s also important to note that the Jaguars have struggled mightily to defend the slot (where Berrios primarily aligns). Opponents have a passer rating of 115.3 when targeting Jacksonville’s slot defenders, completing 83% of passes while throwing six touchdowns and one interception.
Berrios should have a solid chance of going over his 40.5-yard projection. I also like the alternate prop of 80+ yards at +520 odds.
James O’Shaughnessy: Over 27.5 receiving yards (-110)
The Jets are allowing the sixth-most receiving yards per game to tight ends this season (64.3) and have allowed a tight end to surpass 27.5 yards in nine of their 14 games.
Jacksonville’s top tight end is James O’Shaughnessy, who is averaging 32.5 yards per game this season and has surpassed 27.5 yards in three of his six games.
The Jaguars will be without wide receiver Laviska Shenault in this game, who is tied with Marvin Jones for the team lead in receptions with 4.0 per game, so there will be more opportunities to go around. O’Shaughnessy should be one of the primary beneficiaries against a Jets team that could not stop tight ends if the fate of the universe depended on it.
As bad as the Jets already are at the tight end-defending positions, they are about to be even worse. Safeties Ashtyn Davis, Sharrod Neasman, and Elijah Riley are all set to miss the game, so the Jets will be relying on scrapheap pickups Will Parks and Kai Nacua at safety. Neither player has played a defensive snap this year.
James Robinson: Under 78.5 rushing yards (-110)
Jacksonville’s lead back, James Robinson is being given a lofty expectation of 78.5 rushing yards in this game.
The reason for Robinson’s high benchmark is the Jets’ terrible run defense, which ranks 30th with 141.9 rushing yards allowed per game. While it’s tantalizing to take any running back who is facing that horrid unit, there are reasons to think that Robinson will not get up to the 79-yard mark.
Considering New York’s chronic injuries in the secondary, it seems probable that Jacksonville will lean on the passing game. The Jets are going to have two safeties playing their first snaps of the season. Why not challenge them? Plus, starting slot corner Michael Carter II will miss the game, as will the Jets’ best pass rusher, John Franklin-Myers. This is a golden opportunity to let Trevor Lawrence air it out.
Robinson also has not been anywhere near a reliable bet to post 80-yard rushing games this year. He is averaging 58.2 rushing yards and has surpassed 78.5 rushing yards in only three of his 13 games.
While much of that has to do with Urban Meyer’s inexplicable underutilization of Robinson throughout part of the year, Robinson still has not been a gimme to hit 78.5 yards when used properly. He has eclipsed the mark in three of his six games when given 15-plus carries.
Last week, Robinson faced the Texans’ 32nd-ranked run defense and got a season-high 18 carries, but only produced 75 yards.
Jacksonville will also be without starting right guard Ben Bartch, which should hurt in the run game. Bartch has a decent Pro Football Focus run blocking grade of 63.7, ranking at the 54th percentile among 107 qualified guards. Bartch’s likely replacement, Will Richardson, has the second-worst run blocking grade out of 107 qualifiers (40.6).
However, Richardson can be trusted a tad more in the passing game thanks to his excellent 76.9 PFF pass blocking grade – another reason the Jaguars could decide to play pass-heavy.
Trevor Lawrence: Over 218.5 passing yards (-110)
Playing into all of the reasons we just dove into that the Jaguars will run a pass-heavy offense, it makes sense to bet on Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence is averaging 210.4 passing yards per game this season and has eclipsed 218.5 yards in seven of his 14 games. But considering the injuries, strengths, and weaknesses of both Jacksonville’s offense and New York’s defense, Lawrence figures to get a boatload of pass attempts in this one.
The Jets have allowed the opposing quarterback to throw for over 218.5 yards in 10 of their 13 games this season.
The game script will be a key factor here. When asked to throw at least 33 passes, Lawrence has surpassed 218.5 yards in seven of 10 games. Meanwhile, the Jets have allowed more than 218.5 yards to all six of the quarterbacks that threw at least 33 passes against them this season.
Considering New York’s defensive injuries, there seems to be a good chance that Lawrence gets the volume of passing chances that he needs to go over this benchmark.
First touchdown scorer: Tyler Kroft (+2200)
Here’s a fun one that is worth the play at such rewarding odds.
Jets tight end Tyler Kroft grabbed two red-zone touchdowns from Zach Wilson in the preseason, but only has one score in seven games this season.
However, Kroft has been getting plenty of snaps in the red zone and is often featured as one of the primary reads in red-zone passing concepts. He gets a decent enough sample of opportunities to be trusted as a potential touchdown scorer.
Plus, the Jets will be without their other frequently-used tight end, Ryan Griffin. Throw in all of the wide receiver losses and suddenly Kroft climbs to the top of the list of New York’s most likely touchdown scorers.
The Jets have also been mounting some long first-quarter drives lately, frequently putting themselves in position for the short red-zone touchdowns that Kroft is most likely to score on.
Jacksonville is allowing a league-high 43.1 yards per drive within the opponent’s first three drives of the game, so the Jets should have a good chance to move the ball early in the game and put Kroft in position to get open for a red-zone touchdown.
Why not take this shot at +2200?
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