Easy Money Thursday Night Football Picks For 9/30/2021
Action Jackson’s TNF Record: 2-4
After a rough 0-2 start to the season, I’ve been splitting bets the past two weeks, finding success on point-total betting while struggling to nail the elusive spread bets. You don’t make money going .500, but Thursday night usually has the toughest matchups to bet, so ya know what? I’ll take it. Back off assholes.
This week’s matchup pits the #1 pick from the past two drafts and two teams that are in very different places this season. Jacksonville has lost 18 straight games dating back to Week 1 of last season. And they have looked completely lost this year under the tyrannical dictator known as Urban Meyer. Cincinnati has been ignited by the return of Joe Burrow and his pairing with former LSU teammate Ja'Marr Chase. And the Bengals currently sports a 2-1 record.
Let’s get into this week’s picks for another beautiful night of mediocre football between players hopped up on painkillers to survive a 3-day turnaround.
Easy Money Picks for Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cincinnati Bengals
When Jacksonville Has the Ball
An off-season that began with hope around the Prince Who Was Promised (Trevor Lawrence) has come crashing back to reality after the first three games. The former Heismann winner has looked skittish, inaccurate, and indecisive in his rookie debut. After 3 games, he leads the league in interceptions (yes, including Zach Wilson), has the second-lowest completion percentage (54%), and has the third-worst QB rating across all quarterbacks.
It’s hard to pin all the blame on a rookie QB. The Jaguars’ line has been abysmal (5 sacks in each of the first 2 games). And the play-calling from Urban Meyer isn’t doing him any favors. Lawrence is throwing the ball downfield at the 3rd highest rate in the league, leading to turnovers or confidence-crushing incompletions. However, he'll need to step it up and regain his college confidence and form if the Jaguars have a shot of hanging with Cincinnatti.
The Bengals’ defense has looked dominant so far, giving up just 18 points a game and holding the Steelers to just 10 points last week. This defense remains super balanced, with game-changers at each key position. Larry Ogunjobi and Trey Hendrickson have been giving offensive lines fits all season. Logan Wilson has an NFL-high 3 picks. And while their secondary is injury-depleted (they’re praying for Trae Waynes to bounce back from a hamstring injury), they’ve been able to hold teams in check in the passing game.
Jacksonville has run the ball well this year, led by James Robinson (5.2 YPC, 4th in the NFL), and has good weapons on the outside with D.J. Chark (22 YPC) and Marvin Jones. If they have any shot of moving the ball against Cincy, then they’ll need to establish the run game early and set Lawrence up for easy throws to increase his confidence.
When Cincinnati Has the Ball
The story of the Bengals’ season so far has been rekindling of the Ja'Marr Chase-Joe Burrow spark in the passing game. Getting back with your college ex isn’t usually a good idea. But these two have defied the odds and shown us that true connections never really die.
After 3 games, Chase leads all rookie receivers with 4 TDs (second in the entire league) and 220 yards through the air. He has become the vertical threat the Burrow sorely needs. And, paired with Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, Cincinnati has one of the most balanced passing games in the league. To top it off, Joe Mixon is out to prove he’s a top 5 back in this league this season. And, so far, he has lived up to his own hype. He’s second in the league with 286 yards rushing. And he has worn down defenses with 4.3 yards a carry and 11 first downs.
The Cincinnati Bengals should have no problem with the Jacksonville Jaguars defense, which has been even worse than the offense this year. While their run defense has been solid, they’ve allowed the 4th most passing yards in the league and are 31st in total sacks. They’ve been getting to the quarterback (7th in the league in pressures) but not finishing the job. They’ll need Josh Allen, their star defensive end who tallied 10.5 sacks in his rookie year, to step it up and get pressure on Burrow early if they want to have a chance.
There’s just not a ton to like about the Jaguars this year. And Cincinnati feels like a team on the precipice of a breakout season. Of course, that could mean a massive let-down game, and anything can happen on a Thursday night, but I’m anticipating a slugfest with the Bengals pulling away late.
Joe Mixon has been one of the most consistent, solid backs in the past few seasons. And it feels like this is his year to crack the upper echelon. At +350 odds, you’d be smart to bet on him popping at least 2 in from the red zone tonight.
Happy betting tonight. Let’s see if we can crack .500 and regain a small amount of dignity.