The Cardinals are 2-0, but the pair of victories that make up that mark are starkly different. While Arizona dominated on both sides of the ball in their Week 1 rout of the Titans on the road, they were lucky to come out winners in a Week 2 shootout with the Vikings. Greg Joseph’s misfire on a very makeable 37-yard field-goal attempt as time expired allowed Kliff Kingsbury’s squad to escape in a game during which the defense allowed 419 total yards.
The Jaguars looked like a team with a suspect defense that also happens to be led by a rookie quarterback behind a porous offensive line while falling to the Broncos by a 23-13 score in Week 2. Jacksonville’s secondary continued to be as much of a problem as it was during a season-opening road loss to the Texans, as Teddy Bridgewater completed 26 of 34 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers contrasted sharply with those of first overall pick Trevor Lawrence, who connected on just 14 of 33 attempts for 118 yards while throwing two interceptions.
Let’s take a closer look to see which side to take in this latest matchup in the NFL pick of the day series.
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Please note that all odds are current as of Friday, September 24.
Cardinals vs Jaguars Prediction
Kyler Murray has opened the 2021 season seemingly on the fast track to MVP consideration. The third-year quarterback is already completing 73.5 percent of his passes, has amassed 689 yards through the air in two games and has nine total touchdowns (seven passing, two rushing). His passing prowess has helped make the relatively underwhelming contributions of running backs James Conner and Chase Edmonds a non-issue for the time being.
Given that Jacksonville has allowed the seventh-most passing yards per game (295.5) and the sixth-highest yards per attempt (8.8), Murray, who has averaged a whopping 10.1 yards per attempt in his own right through two games, and a group of pass catchers that includes fast starters DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and rookie Rondale Moore could be primed for plenty of success.
The Jaguars have managed to average just 292 yards of total offense per game over the first two contests of the season, with Lawrence struggling to build much of a consistent connection with any pass catcher not named Marvin Jones. Any idea of helping the rookie quarterback out with a balanced attack has gone by the wayside for the most part due to game script as well, with James Robinson logging just 16 carries over the first pair of contests.
D.J. Chark, who is arguably the most explosive member of the receiving corps, has brought in just four of 16 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. The Cardinals have already collected seven sacks through two weeks and have held opponents to 5.9 yards per attempt, which could keep Lawrence dinking and dunking throughout the game.
Jacksonville has done a reasonably good job against the run so far while allowing just 3.6 yards per rush, but that won’t help against Murray and his air attack. The Jaguars could put up a good fight for a half-plus, but I see their inability to keep up sinking them by double digits in the end.
Prediction: Cardinals 30, Jaguars 14
Cardinals vs Jaguars Best Bets
Best Bet: Cardinals -7.5 (-105 at BetMGM)
As specified in the game prediction, I see the Cardinals notching a two-touchdown-plus win here. Arizona showed it can get some separation on the road against the Jags’ fellow AFC South denizen, the Titans, in its 38-13 Week 1 win. Meanwhile, the Jags have dropped their first two games by an average of 13 points.
Moreover, it’s worth noting the Cardinals have a 10-5-2 mark against the spread as a road team since the beginning of the 2019 season, the start of Murray’s career/tenure as the starting quarterback.
The line may change throughout the week, however, so be sure to keep an eye on our NFL gameday odds.
Best Bet: Under 52 Total Points (-110 at Caesars)
The Jags have given up 60 points through two games, while the Cardinals already have 71 on the scoreboard across the first pair of contests. Arizona shouldn’t encounter too much resistance through the air here, considering Jacksonville’s secondary will be overmatched by a team that rolls out four legitimate threats at receiver when also factoring in the presence of A.J. Green, as well as an underrated tight end in Maxx Williams.
However, given that I can also see the Cardinals neutralizing Lawrence enough with a mix of scheme and all-out pressure by their very athletic front seven, there should be enough stalled drives here for the Jags not to be able to do too much to contribute to the total, and in turn, allow the Cardinals to take their foot off the gas late.
Best Bet: Cardinals To Win By 13-18 Points (+425 on DraftKings)
The Jaguars’ aforementioned average 13-point margin of defeat and my 30-14 score prediction leads me to suggest rolling the dice on this wager, which also allows us to circumvent the heavy juice on the Cardinals moneyline. Arizona also won its road games last season by an average of 17.8 points, while Jacksonville, albeit under a different coaching staff and quarterback, had an average margin of defeat of 15.6 points in their seven home losses.
Cardinals vs Jaguars Same Game Parlay Picks
Same Game Parlay Odds: +285
- Cardinals -7.5 (-105) at DraftKings
- Under 52.5 points (-130) at DraftKings
This same-game parlay on DraftKings allows us to get to a really appealing price on a couple of wagers that I previously made a case for with an even slightly better point total at play.