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Jets-Lions Betting Preview: Can Darnold Pull off the Upset in Debut?

Jets-Lions Betting Preview: Can Darnold Pull off the Upset in Debut? article feature image

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sam Darnold

Betting odds: New York Jets at Detroit Lions

  • Spread: Lions -6.5
  • Over/Under: 44.5
  • Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

>> All odds as of Sunday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: The most telling piece of betting market information is what hasn’t happened to this line. The point spread did not budge after the Jets named Sam Darnold as their starting quarterback, indicating the spread of Lions -6.5 has properly accounted for the rookie (see live market data here). — John Ewing

Trends to know: Over the past two seasons, rookie first-round quarterbacks are 11-4 against the spread in their first three starts. Can Darnold keep the trend going? Maybe, but it’s worth noting that from 2003-15, those same quarterbacks went 41-41-2 ATS. — Ewing

When expectations are high in Detroit, bettors simply can’t trust Matthew Stafford. The 30-year-old quarterback has a career mark of 19-27-2 ATS (-7.9 units) when he is listed as a favorite of a field goal or higher.

When Stafford faces a nonplayoff team from the year before as a favorite, the Lions are 21-28-3 ATS (-7.7 units). — Evan Abrams

Key matchup: The Jets’ offensive line isn’t very good, which is pretty concerning when you have a potential franchise quarterback making his debut under center.

A good defense could exploit this issue, but I’m not sure the Lions will be able to take advantage of the Jets’ biggest weakness.

Detroit is implementing a brand-new defensive scheme under a brand-new coach with a lot of roster turnover on defense. It will take time to adjust, as we saw in the preseason, when the Lions registered only two sacks and routinely got torched. — Stuckey

Injury watch: The Jets’ offense is expected to only be without starting wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, but the defense’s depth could be tested early in the season.

Linebacker Avery Williamson (hamstring) should be considered questionable, while the defense will be without linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis and cornerback Rashard Robinson during their respective one- and four-game suspensions.

The Lions don’t have a single player listed on the injury report. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Golden Tate draws the best matchup against the Jets’ interior in slot corner Buster Skrine, who was Pro Football Focus’ No. 85 cornerback in coverage last season.

Tate makes more sense on a full PPR site like DraftKings given that he sees such a large amount of high-completion passes (6.0 average depth of target in 2017). — Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: The Jets were one of the most undervalued teams in the market last year, going 9-6-1 ATS, and I think that could be the case going into this season.

And as I mentioned earlier, they match up pretty well against Detroit.

The one thing that makes me hesitant to bet the Jets is that the Lions have a decided special teams advantage.

Last season, Detroit’s special teams ranked in the top 10 according to Football Outsiders, while the Jets were in the bottom five.

New York’s new kicker, Jason Myers, is an unknown commodity. Detroit’s Matt Prater is as consistent as they come.

With that said, I pounced on Jets +7 when the spread moved off 6.5. That’s just too many points for Stafford & Co. to be laying in this spot. — Stuckey

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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