Week 8 NFL picks and analysis

Our NFL betting writer is here with picks and predictions for Sunday’s matchup in London between the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars, scheduled to air at 9:30 a.m. ET on ESPN+.

The Broncos are running out of time for Russell Wilson to lead them into contention following a loss last week with their franchise quarterback out because of a hamstring injury. Jacksonville has been in almost every game, but finishing is another story.

Broncos vs. Jaguars predictions


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Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence
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Broncos vs. Jaguars picks and analysis

Russell Wilson missed Week 7 but intends to return from a hamstring injury. While he plans to play, hamstrings don’t hush easily and Wilson’s health is something to watch closely as his backup, Brett Rypien, represents a major drop-off.

Jaguars -2.5

Denver was thrilled to obtain Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason but it hasn’t been a happy honeymoon period. The Broncos are last in the NFL in scoring offense (14.3) and Wilson has completed a career-worst 58.6 percent of his passes and has just five touchdown passes.

The Broncos (2-5) can’t afford a fifth straight loss if they want to remain part of the AFC West race but the Jaguars (2-5) are equally desperate. Jacksonville blew a fourth-quarter lead in losing 23-17 to the New York Giants last week and are on the verge of falling out of the AFC South derby

The interesting thing is that second-year-pro Trevor Lawrence of the Jaguars will be the best quarterback on the field on Sunday. Expect him to come through and help Jacksonville end its skid and cover the spread.

Pick: Jaguars to cover -2.5

Under 39.5 total points

Lawrence passed for a season-best 310 yards in the latest loss. The contest ended with a pass to Christian Kirk, who was stopped at the Giants’ 1-yard line to add another loss to the Jacksonville ledger.

Don’t overlook the history of the International Series games being dramatically low-scoring with the noteworthy exception of this year’s Saints-Vikings thriller.

The 2021 No. 1 overall draft has thrown nine touchdown passes this season but seven came during a three-game span. He has thrown four interceptions while hitting 63 percent of his passes for 1,707 yards.

The Jaguars are in the building process, but the Broncos, who have taken a step backward, are a team they can beat. Jacksonville gave up 57 points over the past two setbacks but Denver isn’t going to regularly dent the scoreboard.

This is a contest in which points will be at a premium even if Wilson suits up.

Pick: Under 39.5 total points

Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson
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Betting on the NFL?

Trevor Lawrence under 1.5 touchdown passes (-194)

It is hard to see a quarterback throwing for two or more touchdown passes in this game. Wilson hasn’t been getting it done and Rypien didn’t throw a scoring pass when he filled in during last week’s 16-9 loss to the New York Jets.

Lawrence has one touchdown pass over the past three games and Denver has shut down average receivers.

Pick: Trevor Lawrence under 1.5 touchdown passes

Broncos vs. Jaguars odds

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook. Correct at the time of publishing and subject to change.

Total Points 39.5 Team Spread Moneyline
Over -110 Broncos (+2.5) -110 +118
Under -110 Jaguars (-2.5) -110 -140

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