Fans and bettors will be treated to one of the best showdowns of the entire first week of the pre-season – at least, for the first couple of series.As with the majority of pre-season openers, however, the focus for both teams will be on serving youth and helping settle position battles.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Ah, the ol’ three-point spread – a pre-season fixture. This one isn’t likely to move all that much, given that we pretty much know how this one is going to unfold from a personnel perspective. Those of you who value trends of any kind should take note: the Saints have covered in 14 of their previous 19 road games overall, and have gone a perfect 4-0 ATS in their previous four head-to-head encounters with the Jaguars.
As boring as the spread is for this game, the total of 34.5 isn’t much sexier. And while neither team is trending in one particular direction here, it’s worth pointing out that the Jaguars have gone above 40 total points in five of their previous nine pre-season games, while the Saints have played in just two 40-point exhibition contests over the previous two seasons. The teams haven’t met in the pre-season since 2012, when Jacksonville prevailed 27-24.
New Orleans Saints
There’s a good chance quarterback Drew Brees will sit out the preseason opener, with Tom Savage, Taysom Hill and J.T. Barrett expected to split time as they jockey for the backup role. Look for running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara to see one series apiece, or share the work over two series, barring a pre-game injury. The most intriguing player to watch might be Shane Vereen, who should see plenty of action as the No. 3 option on the depth chart.
The Jaguars will also be resting the majority of their starters, but there will be no shortage of intrigue Thursday night. Keep an eye on wide receiver Donte Moncrief, who is expected to compete for a starting role but is listed well down the depth chart at the moment and might only see limited action due to injury. Blake Bortles likely won’t be on the field for this one, leaving Cody Kessler and Tanner Lee to share the reps vs. New Orleans.