The Jaguars pulled a shocker in Pittsburgh last week to make the AFC championship game for the first time since 1999. And they’re big underdogs again for Sunday’s battle against the playoff-tested Patriots in Foxboro (3:05 pm ET, CBS). How are we playing this one with our free NFL playoffs picks?

The Line

Most AFC championship game betting odds opened New England at right around -9, with a total of 47. As of mid-week most shops had dipped the Patriots to -8.5, and the total to 46.

AFC Championship Game Betting Match-Up

Jacksonville (12-6 SU, 10-8 ATS this season) opened these playoffs with that ugly 10-3 wild-card victory over Buffalo, then shocked most of the football betting world last week by upsetting the Steelers for the second time this season in Pittsburgh 45-42. The Jags, as seven-point dogs, pounced out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, allowed the Steelers to pull within seven points three different times from there, but added a late field goal for insurance and hung on for the unlikely win.

Jacksonville also cashed in getting upwards of +275 on the NFL betting moneyline.

The Jags racked up 378 yards on offense, which is a lot for them, and while the box score says the defense gave up 545 yards to Pittsburgh most of that came in semi-prevent mode, protecting that big early lead.

Jacksonville is now 3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS this season against teams that made the playoffs.

On the injury front Jags RB Leonard Fournette, who ran for 109 yards last week and scored three touchdowns, also re-hurt his ankle. Hopefully, for the sake of a good game, he’ll be good to go Sunday.

New England (14-3 SU, 12-5 ATS), meanwhile, reached its seventh straight AFC championship game by snuffing Tennessee last week 35-14. The Patriots spotted the Titans the first seven points of the game, then scored the next 35 and covered as 13-point favorites.

New England outgained Tennessee 438-267, outrushed the Titans 101-65 and won time-of-possession by a 33-27 split.

The Patriots are now 6-2 both SU and ATS against teams that made the playoffs.

These two teams met most recently back in September of 2015, a 51-17 New England victory. But obviously Jacksonville is a little better team now than it was that day.

Totals Report

The totals are split 9-9 in Jags games this season, which are averaging 44 points.

The unders are 9-8 in Patriots games, which are averaging 47 points.

Free AFC Championship Game Picks

The Jags are coming off a huge effort last week in Pittsburgh, and they’re also playing for the 12th week in a row. We expect a letdown. Meanwhile the Patriots looked a tad rusty early in last week’s game, coming off the bye of a week before, but they’ll almost undoubtedly come out much quicker Sunday. Also, nine of New England’s 14 victories this season have come by double-digits. We’re hoping for an entertaining game but we’re also giving the points with the Patriots.


Dizzy McGee

Dizzy McGee has been hooked on sports betting since the day he hit a 3-team NFL parlay at the age of 10. With 30 years of sports betting under his belt he now shares his betting insights and theories by writing about them at WagerTalk.

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