Calling all bettors! The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the best underdog stories of the 2022 campaign. Now they’re a trendy pick to win Super Bowl 58. Should we take a flier on this team on the rise? And how will free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft impact their chances? The following betting odds are based on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jacksonville Jaguars Super Bowl 58 Odds and Futures
Last February’s early odds for Super Bowl 57 offered clues on what sportsbooks were thinking and how that wove into the thinking of the broader betting market.
For example, the Kansas City Chiefs were the top favorite (+650 odds) of winning this year’s Super Bowl, while the Buffalo Bills were No. 2. Not too shabby as far as year-long predictions go.
But the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers were Nos. 3 and 4, respectively — though, in fairness, Davante Adams’ status in Green Bay remained unclear at that point. The Tennessee Titans (No. 9) and Denver Broncos (No. 10) clearly underwhelmed. The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t even in the top third.
What about the Jags? Entering last season, they had the sixth-worst odds of winning this year’s Super Bowl — even worse than the season before, when they finished with a 3-14 record. There was a general expectation that Jacksonville would continue to rebuild in 2022. Instead, they came only two victories short of a Super Bowl appearance.
But this team still has plenty of room for improvement, and a lot can change between now and the NFL draft. So how should bettors respond to their currently respectable +2800 odds? For answers, let’s briefly examine this past season.
Travis Etienne Jr. and Other 2022 Season Takeaways
Jacksonville improved in nearly all aspects last season, and that’s an understatement. In 2021, they surrendered the fifth-most points while scoring the fewest. Their net-negative 12-point differential per contest was the league’s third-worst showing since 2015. Yeah, not good.
Then in 2022, they engineered a dramatic turnaround. Defensive improvements and an almost completely re-made receiving corps helped propel them to 10th in scoring and 12th in scoring defense. Yeah, not bad.
In particular, the Jags took some public grief for signing Christian Kirk that offseason to a massive contract, as well as bringing in long-time underperformers Zay Jones and Evan Engram. But in a new system with a rapidly developing quarterback, the plan worked.
Not right away, of course. They began the season 3-7 and were on the verge of falling to 3-8 at the hands of Baltimore. But with 14 seconds remaining, down 27-20, Trevor Lawrence threw a go-ahead TD pass to Marvin Jones, followed by a two-point conversion to Zay Jones. They sustained that drive after being 3rd-and-21, 4th-and-5, and then later 3rd-and-6.
That was only their second win in eight games decided by a touchdown or less. They went on to win their next three close contests, including that miraculous playoff comeback vs. the Chargers, in which they trailed 27-0.
Talent isn’t enough. In the Jaguars’ case, they have a lot of it. But in a league where some teams wilt as the season progresses, Jacksonville continued to look better, culminating in a respectable seven-point loss to the Chiefs, decided in the end by two fourth-quarter Jaguar turnovers, including at KC’s 6-yard line.
Lawrence is still getting better, and as I wrote last summer, he’ll likely be a perennial elite or near-elite NFL quarterback by 2024. Maybe I was a year off. It could begin as soon as 2023.
And the X factor in all this was Travis Etienne Jr., who returned after sitting on the injured reserve during his rookie campaign. The formerly unheralded James Robinson did phenomenally well, including in 2020, when he gained the most yards from scrimmage (1,414) of any undrafted rookie RB in league history.
Etienne proceeded to tear up the turf/grass last year, finishing the regular season with 1,441 total yards and a sterling 5.1 yards per carry. He also racked up 201 total yards in the playoffs, including 5.7 yards per carry.
That comes to 1,642 yards on 289 touches. Two thousand-plus total yards (assuming Jacksonville returns to the postseason) seems realistic in 2023, especially when considering that 77% of his touches occurred after Week 6, when he transitioned from co-pilot to bell cow.
The AFC is a brutally tough conference these days, with three premier teams and several fearsome contenders. The market certainly seems to respect the Jags’ chances. At the same time, we should consider how close they came to vanquishing the Chiefs in January and how the continued development of their youthful corps could turn them into a powerhouse.
2023 Offseason Moves
Last offseason, the Jaguars made waves in free agency and the draft, condensing what might have been a two-year rebuild into a few months.
What can they do for an encore, especially in this brief period before costly extensions to Lawrence (and quite possibly Etienne and others) will hit the books beginning in 2025?
NFL Free Agency
In the coming weeks, we’ll update this section with breaking news on key Jaguars arrivals and departures through free agency and trades, how it impacts their Super Bowl odds, and how it might inform our decision to bet on them to win it all.
In early May, we’ll update this section on key Jaguars draft picks and UDFA signings, with an eye toward any instant-impact players who could help catapult them to “strong Super Bowl contender” status.