NFL Preseason Week 1 Betting: Insights on Falcons-Jets, Lions-Raiders
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jon Gruden
- Friday's preseason slate features the Falcons-Jets and Lions-Raiders games.
- Despite having the superior roster, the Falcons are +3.5 road underdogs against the Jets.
- The Lions-Raiders over/under of 37 points is one of the highest totals of Week 1.
Thursday night gave us a glorious 12-game slate of preseason football. Friday night has only two games, but it’s football, and you can bet on it.
No complaints here.
While the preseason isn’t quite “real” football, the usage and production of players reveals the potential they and their units might have in the regular season. For preseason player projections and daily fantasy analysis, see the FantasyLabs Models as well as our evergreen and slate-specific DFS content.
Let’s take a look at key storylines for each team playing Friday.
- Atlanta Falcons Moneyline: +156
- New York Jets Moneyline: -181
- Over/Under: 35.5
- Kickoff: Aug. 10, 2018 – 7:30 p.m. ET
The Falcons averaged a ludicrous 33.8 points per game in 2016 under then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan but just 22.1 last season with Steve Sarkisian. Improved red-zone play-calling would help everyone involved in the offense (especially wide receiver Julio Jones), but there’s also reason to believe the Falcons will have notable touchdown progression based on their 2017 efficiency.
- Yards per play: 5.9 (T-3rd)
- Net yards per pass attempt: 7.2 (3rd)
- Yards per rush: 4.3 (T-7th)
New York Jets
The Jets opened as modest -1 favorites but have since moved to -3.5 with 64% of the tickets. Sam Darnold was considered the draft’s No. 1 quarterback prospect by some, and the Jets got him at No. 3. They reportedly hope Darnold will win the starting job in the preseason. As the team already knows what it has in the 39-year-old Josh McCown, it’s likely that Darnold and trade bait Teddy Bridgewater will play most of the snaps on Friday.
- Detroit Lions Moneyline: +137
- Oakland Raiders Moneyline: -157
- Over/Under: 37
- Kickoff: Aug. 10, 2018 – 10:30 p.m. ET
With the departure of tight end Eric Ebron, 86 targets from last year’s offense are now available. While Marvin Jones and Golden Tate have secure roles, Kenny Golladay has the potential to emerge as quarterback Matthew Stafford’s No. 3 receiver. As a rookie last year, Golladay posted the highest game speed of the trio (AirYards.com) and averaged a robust 17 yards per catch. If Golladay absorbs a large portion of Ebron’s target share, the Lions offense can support all three receivers in fantasy. It also remains to be seen if second-round running back Kerryon Johnson can find a way to separate himself from a committee with LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick and maybe even Ameer Abdullah.
Jon Gruden has left the “Monday Night Football” booth to return the Raiders to the promised land. Although he oversaw top-10 scoring offenses in four of six seasons with the Eagles and Raiders, Gruden failed to coach a single top-10 unit from 2002 to 2008 with the Buccaneers. Gruden has a number of questions facing him: How high is Amari Cooper’s ceiling? What should he do about Khalil Mack’s contract situation? The biggest question Gruden needs an answer to: Is Derek Carr his franchise quarterback?
Falcons (+3.5) vs. Jets
Atlanta has a talented roster and is one year removed from the Super Bowl while the Jets overachieved last year with a 5-11 finish. In a battle between backups, I’ll take the points.
Lions-Raiders OVER 37
The game opened at 36 and has climbed from there. While only 32% of the tickets are on the over, 53% of the money is betting on a shootout. With backups likely to play the majority of the snaps, it helps that both teams have rookie-free quarterback depth charts.