There are times when sportsbooks reflect oddsmaker sentiment. And then there are other times when they denote opportunity, enabling a bettor to read between the lines.
That’s the case for assessing the upcoming NFL season for the New York Jets, who finished 7-9 last year in the AFC East.
What the board says and what it implies are two different things for New Jersey online sports betting fans. Let’s examine the key questions and variables for the Jets and their chances in the 2020-21 NFL betting season.
Will the New York Jets win the 2021 Super Bowl?
It’s an accurate forecast for a team that has only one Super Bowl win to its name and features the league’s longest drought — 51 years — since claiming it.
|Super Bowl LV odds||DraftKings||FanDuel||Fox Bet||BetMGM||PointsBet|
|New York Jets||+8000||+8500||+9000||+10000||+12000|
Portraying the Jets unseating the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs or the Baltimore Ravens, who buried them in one late-season game last year, is a stretch.
Add the San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers to the list of formidable obstacles the Jets would face and it makes a trip to and a win at Super Bowl LV very much a pipe dream.
Will the Jets win the AFC title?
The verdict is 44-1 at FanDuel and 40-1 at DraftKings, as the same problems loom: Kansas City and Baltimore.
The odds are on the same wavelength at PointsBet NJ and Fox Bet sportsbook app.
|AFC Championship odds||DraftKings||FanDuel||Fox Bet||BetMGM|
|New York Jets||+4000||+4400||+5000||+4000|
Yet the next realm of consideration brings them into the discussion, with an interesting angle.
Will the Jets win the AFC East?
Here’s where things get a bit interesting for the Jets.
The franchise is in the four-team DraftKings loop that includes the favored Buffalo Bills at +120, the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots at +130 and the Miami Dolphins at +800. The Jets are +850.
FanDuel has a slight flip-flop of New England at +115 and Buffalo at +125, with the Jets and Dolphins slated for the bottom at +850.
|AFC East odds||DraftKings||FanDuel||Fox Bet||BetMGM||PointsBet|
|New York Jets||+850||+850||+800||+800||+875|
Per most NJ online sportsbooks, the Jets are ticketed for the cellar. But there are indications that they are not as weak as experts believe.
The division odds are long, but compare them, at least, to the team that shares MetLife Stadium with them, the New York Giants.
For instance, DraftKings has Big Blue at +1000 to win the division, behind the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. The Washington Football Team is +1300.
FanDuel has the Giants at +1500 and the cellar-dwelling Washington Football Team at +2300.
The Jets, as potential last-place finishers, are less of a price longshot than the projected third- and fourth-place teams in the weaker NFC East.
Translation: The Jets may not be great, but they are also not bad. Factor that fundamental belief into other considerations, like over-under season-win totals and individual game wagering.
Or consider another comparison with the Giants at DraftKings.
Big Blue would return +600 if they finished second in the four-team loop. The Jets would only return +380 for second place. That means it would be a surprise, but not a shock, if the Jets finished ahead of two AFC East teams.
This suggests they have more parity with the top teams than their win-the-division odds indicate.
Can the Jets make the NFL playoffs?
The above odds might make you think this is a silly question to ask, but this is worth a solid look.
The yes is +365 and the no is -500 at DraftKings. They are +430 at FanDuel for yes and -650 for no.
The Jets would have to improve one notch above where they are now to make the playoffs, but evidence suggests it could be worth a shot.
The Jets were 7-9 last year, but their 6-2 second-half record was the best in the entire AFC East — even better than the Patriots, who perennially win it but showed signs of getting old last year.
Getting past New England and staying healthy
New England limped into the playoffs, getting beaten at home by the Miami Dolphins in the last game of the season and then by the Tennessee Titans in the opening round.
Much has been made of quarterback Tom Brady signing with Tampa Bay, which will rejuvenate him, but Brady already had regressed last year. The line did not protect him. The New England mystique is gone.
The key to cashing a Jets playoff bet or hitting second place is for them to gain a victory against New England this season.
The Jets could have made the playoffs last year. But that’s only if they had won both their season-opening game against Buffalo and a late-season matchup with then-winless Cincinnati. But the Bengals halted the Jets.
The Jets were supposed to be a good team last year, but they underachieved.
Quarterback Sam Darnold has a talented arm, and Le’Veon Bell is one of the league’s elite running backs.
Open holes for him, let the running game key a ball-control attack, and this team is good enough to win nine games, provided Bell stays healthy. (Bell was nursing a tight hamstring in late August).
Jets have a chance to move up the AFC ladder
DraftKings anticipates parity in the AFC East.
What does that mean? Well, to put it simply, not a single team in the division is expected to win NINE games, let alone 10.
Buffalo and New England have the highest over-under projected win total, 8.5. Miami and the Jets are at 6.5, with the over at +110, and the under is -134 for the Jets.
That’s the most persuasive sign of balance I have ever seen in an NFL division. Rarely will one see the division winner projected to win fewer than 10 games.
But fewer than nine? They are almost suggesting 8-8 could take this.
FanDuel did establish New England as the AFC East front-runner, with an over-under win total of 9.5. But the under is -160, as the betting majority believes the fabled Pats will win nine games tops.
This total is down two games from where we usually see New England’s over-under wins projection. There is a changing of the guard forecast for the AFC East already.
Why shouldn’t the Jets be in the middle of that discussion?
And here’s one other thing: There was no preseason. These scenarios often, although not always, become great equalizers.
When the year starts, it could resemble the beginning of the preseason. This is good news for the weak teams, as almost everybody is on the same level until the elite athletes separate themselves from the pack.
The Jets flopped last season when the acquisition of Bell could not lift them into the playoffs. This year, expectations are down, but the value is up.