The New England Patriots kick off their preseason schedule Thursday, taking on the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars as 3 1/2-point home favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
New England returns to action for the first time since its 34-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI as three-point favorites and will be looking for a third straight preseason win at home in Thursday night’s Jaguars vs. Patriots betting matchup at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots didn’t rest on their laurels following their second Super Bowl win in three years. Management kept busy in the offseason, acquiring wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints via trade and inking Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million free-agent contract.
Those moves have solidified New England as a large +375 favorite to repeat on the Super Bowl LII odds. However, fans can expect to see Patriots stars get limited action Thursday, with quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, and wideouts Julian Edelman and Cooks reportedly set to sit out the club’s preseason opener.
Patriots preseason games have tended to be low-scoring affairs in recent years. New England has averaged just 17.9 points per game over its past nine August outings but has been equally stingy on defense, holding opponents to 22 or fewer points in nine of 10, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
The Jaguars wrap up a week of joint practice with New England as +150 underdogs in Thursday night’s opener. Jacksonville begins this season looking to rebound from an ugly 3-13 campaign in 2016, and sits near the bottom of the Super Bowl odds at +10,000.
Jacksonville has been a truly dismal road team over the past three seasons, going 2-23 straight up over their past 25 regular season games away from EverBank Field, including a lopsided 51-17 loss in New England as 14-point underdogs in September 2015.
The Jaguars have not fared much better on the road in the preseason, going 4-12 SU in their past 16, but are 9-6-1 against the spread in those August contests and 3-4-1 ATS when pegged as underdogs of three or fewer points.
These two teams split a pair of previous preseason tilts at Gillette Stadium. The Jaguars blanked New England 31-0 as 3 1/2-point road underdogs in 2004, and the Patriots dominated in a 47-12 victory as three-point chalk in 2011.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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