The New England Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday ( ). The Patriots are 7.5-point favorites in the NFL playoffs, down one from the opener. The line had moved as high as 9.5 before concerns over QB Tom Brady's hand send it diving. Brady returned to practice Friday, but may wear a glove on his throwing hand against the Jaguars.
The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 46, down from an open of 47.
Before you lock in any picks for Jaguars-Patriots, you need to see what Galin Dragiev has to say.
Last week, Dragiev told SportsLine readers to back New England -13.5 over Tennessee, saying that the game would "get ugly quickly." Sure enough, the Patriots built a 21-7 halftime lead en route to a 21-point demolition.
Strikingly, that improved Dragiev to 16-4 in his past 20 NFL picks, a stunning 80 percent cash rate. Anyone who has followed his advice is up big.
Part of his success: Dragiev, a daily fantasy sports specialist, learned early on to predict the outcome of the game before determining how success trickles down to individual players, so he spent more time studying team outcomes than projecting individual players. When it comes to predictions, he trusts numbers above all else.
Now, he has examined every angle, every matchup and every trend in Jaguars vs. Patriots and locked in his pick. You can only see it over at SportsLine.
Dragiev knows Brady's injured hand has thrown a wrinkle into the Patriots-Jaguars betting line. It required multiple stitches and the 13-time Pro Bowler missed practiced on Thursday before returning on Friday. He's officially listed as questionable and could wear a glove on his throwing hand to protect the stitches, which he's not used to doing.
On Saturday, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald Tweeted that Brady's outlook was trending up: "After thorough treatment for a few days, Tom Brady's hand is expected to be just fine tomorrow against the Jaguars, according to those around him."
And CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora added, "Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. Believe that. He's good to go. We'll all see as much tomorrow."
Dragiev also knows the Jaguars rely on defense and running the ball, both of which could help them stay within the spread.
The Jags were tops in the league in rushing yards at 141.4 per game, seven more than the closest team. In the postseason, their 159.5 rushing average is over 25 more than anyone else.
Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette, despite missing a portion of last week's game with an ankle injury, piled up 109 yards rushing and three touchdowns against the Steelers. He's topped 100 yards from scrimmage three of the last five weeks and scored five times during that span.
SportsLine's advanced projection model says that Fournette will once again top 100 yards rushing on Sunday against New England and find the end zone.
Defensively, the Jaguars were second in scoring defense (16.8 points per game) and No. 1 against the pass (169.9 yards per game).
But just because the Jaguars can run the ball and play tough defense doesn't mean they'll keep it close against Brady's Pats in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Even if the Patriots are stymied through the air due to Jacksonville's defense or Brady's ailment, they've been able to run effectively. Dion Lewis had 141 yards from scrimmage against the Titans, 133 against the Jets in Week 17, and 153 against the Bills in Week 16. He had 20 catches over that span.
The Patriots will also get running back Rex Burkhead (knee) back from injury. Burkhead has six touchdowns in his past four games and gives New England another versatile player out of the backfield in the AFC title game. He has been sidelined since Dec. 17 and practiced on a limited basis all week.
It's no surprise that Dragiev is leaning Under, but he knows there's a critical x-factor that determines which side of Jaguars-Patriots you need to be all over. He's only sharing his strong pick over at SportsLine.
So what side of Jaguars vs. Patriots do you need to jump on in the AFC Championship Game? Visit SportsLine now to see what critical x-factor determines which side of the Jaguars-Patriots spread prevails, all from an expert on a 16-4 run in NFL picks, and find out.