Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sam Darnold
- Win Over/Under: 6 (+110/-130)
- Make AFC Playoffs: +425 (19%)
- Win AFC East: +1000 (9%)
- Win AFC Championship: +5000 (2%)
- Win Super Bowl: +10000 (0.99%)
The Action Network’s 2018 New York Jets Projected Wins: 5.83 (30th)
When the Jets go long enough without a butt fumble or locker-room sucker punch, they actually start to resemble a functional football team.
This is key if you’re a bettor, because the Jets have so mastered the art of setting a low bar that last year’s 5-11 record equated to a comfortable over on their season win total, which was set as low as 3.5 at some books.
And when they found themselves playing up to the level of a 7.25-win team (based on their Pythagorean total), they even had time to throw the public off the scent with a four-game Bryce Petty tank session to close out the year.
This knocked them back down to a 5.7 Pythagorean total, smack dab in the middle of the fraudulent Bills (6.4) and miserable Cutler-led Dolphins (5.0).
This sets up perfectly for 2018, because nobody realizes the Jets were clearly the second-best team in the division when they had a competent quarterback.
So what do these sneaky Jets do?
Go out and get two more competent quarterbacks, while somehow getting the Dolphins to claim Petty on waivers.
Now McCown is probably their worst quarterback, and they’re using Teddy Bridgewater as human trade bait after taking Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick.
Both oddsmakers and beat writers already agree that Darnold is the favorite to start Week 1, and recent history suggests the rookie could help them hit their win total and make the playoffs: Since 2000, teams that have drafted a quarterback in the top five picks and started him for at least 13 games in Year 1 have reached seven wins 75% of the time and made the postseason at a 33% rate.
The defense might finally stop bleeding the second-most yardage to No. 1 wideouts after giving cornerback Trumaine Johnson $45 million guaranteed, which essentially allows Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine to go back to playing on All-Pro instead of All-Madden. Add in last year’s No. 6 overall pick Jamal Adams, and head coach Todd Bowles might have his best secondary since Arizona.
These wouldn’t be the Jets if they didn’t have flaws: They have the second-worst offensive line according to Pro Football Focus. They have a bizarre infatuation with former Browns. And wide receiver Robby Anderson was arrested again this offseason.
But the Jets have less downside than the Bills and more upside than the Dolphins in a division that’s seen its No. 2 finisher rack up 9-10 wins a year and make two of the past three postseasons.
On average, one of every four non-playoff teams from one season makes the next postseason, and the Jets have a potential franchise quarterback, a last-place schedule and one of the best payouts on the board. I’m making the bold call. – Chris Raybon
The Bets: Over 6 Wins, Make AFC Playoffs
New York Jets 2018 Schedule
- Games favored: 4
- Avg. spread: +3.6
- Strength of schedule: 17th (1 = Easiest, 32 = Hardest)
Survivor Pool 101
- Use the Jets: Week 2 vs. MIA, Week 12 vs. BUF
- Use Jets’ opponents: Week 4 @ JAC, Week 13 @ TEN, Week 17 @ NE
Fantasy Football Outlook
- Top pick: WR Robby Anderson
- Sleeper: RB Bilal Powell
- Potential bust: RB Isaiah Crowell
Best of “I’ll Take That Bet” on ESPN+
“There’s really not much betting action around the Jets anywhere.”
– Westgate bookmaker Jeff Sherman to The Action Network’s Michael Leboff
Sam Darnold to Win Rookie of the Year? (+1000)
I’ve seen this bet up as high as +300, but you can still get it at +1000 as of this writing. Darnold has a chance to be the only rookie quarterback to start Week 1, and if the Jets somehow back into a 9-7 record as similarly mediocre AFC East teams have recently done, he’ll mesmerize voters and give running back Saquon Barkley a run for his money, but with six times the payout and less injury risk. – Chris Raybon
The Bet: Darnold for Rookie of the Year +1000
You Don’t Have to Worry About Robby Anderson Getting Suspended in DFS
Anderson might have a more difficult time shaking free of the law than NFL cornerbacks. He was actually a top-15 wideout with a healthy McCown in Weeks 1-13 last season.
According to the FantasyLabs NFL Trends tool, he’s been especially productive at home, averaging 13.6 DraftKings points per game with a +5.7 Plus/Minus and ridiculous 31% Upside Rating, all while going under the radar with 2.7% average ownership rate. – Ian Hartitz