Game: Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Saints -4, Jags +4
Both Jacksonville and New Orleans enter tonight’s Week 2 preseason matchup having lost in Week 1. Neither team was all that impressive offensively, though the Saints could have been had it not been for six turnovers. Head coach Sean Payton will want to get that corrected in Week 2. He will also want to get closer to making a decision at quarterback – Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill?
Payton has said that Winston will start tonight’s game. Last week, the former Heisman Trophy winner was 7-for-12 for 96 yards and a touchdown. He also threw one of three interceptions tossed by Saints quarterbacks. Winston will roll with the first-team offense and tonight could be his last chance at convincing Payton that he should be the starter over fan-favorite Taysom Hill.
Hill, of course, is the jack-of-all-trades quarterback who has played a variety of positions since being signed as an undrafted rookie. Hill was 8-of-12 for 81 yards last week. He also threw an interception.
Tonight, Hill will get most of his snaps with the Saints second-team offense which is probably a good thing for bettors looking to back the Saints at home. Going up against the Jags second unit on defense will allow Hill to shine. That will only serve to make the starting quarterback decision that much more difficult for Payton.
On the other end, Jags head coach Urban Meyer may have a little quarterback controversy brewing in Jacksonville. Last year’s starter Gardner Minshew, has played well throughout training camp. He’s played well enough that Meyer has yet to name No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence the starter. Neither quarterback was all that effective last week in a loss to Cleveland. The Jags didn’t score until the fourth quarter.
With quarterback competitions on both sides of tonight’s matchup, look for Payton and Meyer to give all their quarterbacks ample opportunities for success. That means more balls in the air which will have an impact on scoring. Playing indoors at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is also an advantage for the offenses.
They do not have to deal with any weather conditions, which normally leads to more Overs when betting totals. With tonight’s total at 39.5, bettors should consider the Over before that total begins to rise.
As mentioned, last week the Saints committed six turnovers. You can bet that is something that Payton and his coaching staff addressed all week in preparation for tonight’s game. The Saints will do a better job of protecting the football. They might also have the better third quarterback in former Notre Dame star Ian Book.
Last week, Book completed 9-of-16 passes for 196 yards. Book is capable of leading the Saints to the end zone late in the game, especially against a Jags defense that is still learning the scheme.
Don’t forget the Jags No. 3 quarterback either. C.J. Beathard has plenty of experience in the league. He was 13-for-16 for 104 yards and a touchdown last week in the loss to the Browns.