Ultimate indictment: Urban Meyer's firing improves Jaguars' point spread

Lance Pugmire
USA TODAY Sports+

Adding insult to the injury of Urban Meyer’s firing with four NFL games remaining, oddsmakers say the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a better position to win without him.

Tipico Sportsbook moved the Jaguars from 3.5-point favorites to -4.5 Thursday after the midnight firing of Meyer. Other shops, including WynnBET, moved the number to -5. 

As a moneyline bet, the Jaguars improved from -180 at Tipico to -220 without their embattled former head coach.

Jacksonville (2-11) is mired in a five-game losing streak as it turns to former offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for interim leadership and hosts the also-woeful Houston Texans (2-11, 1-5 on the road) Sunday.

FILE - Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer walks along the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla.  Urban Meyer's tumultuous NFL tenure ended after just 13 games -- and two victories -- when the Jacksonville Jaguars fired him early Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021 because of an accumulation of missteps. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

“When a coach is fired, it isn’t always a negative thing for that team in its next matchup,” WynnBET trader Sawyer Johnson said. “It often can be a breath of fresh air and a bonding moment for every member of the organization. 

“Teams in this situation will also most likely be using new schemes that haven’t been shown on film, which gives them the element of surprise.” 

With the exception of a home victory over the Buffalo Bills this season, Meyer’s tenure with the Jaguars was an unmitigated disaster. 

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He arrived from a FOX television gig after being skewered for his initial support of former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith despite a domestic violence case. 

He then hired a strength and conditioning coach, Chris Doyle, who was accused of racism and bullying at Iowa. Meyer recruited his former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow as a tight end. Tebow was ultimately cut. 

The coach then stayed in Ohio following a Thursday night loss to the Browns and was seen dancing with a woman who was not his wife at a Columbus bar as his team had boarded a return flight to Florida. 

Amid the damning lack of development of No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence, former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo told the Tampa Bay Times this week Meyer once kicked him in the leg. Meyer disputed Lambo's account of the incident.

At BetMGM, Director of Trading Jeff Stoneback said he hasn’t witnessed a flood of betting action supporting the Jaguars, but has seen Jacksonville listed as much as a 5.5-point favorite in some spots, so he moved the number one-half point. 

“Usually, a coach gets fired and they bet the other way," Stoneback said. "This one, has gone the complete opposite way."