Sports gamblers looking at Sunday’s game between the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers are betting on a bunch of unknowns.

Head Coach Robert Saleh is running the show for the first time ever. The No.2 overall draft pick, QB Zach Wilson, is starting his first NFL game.

Oh, did we mention a couple of Panthers players are looking for revenge against Gang Green? QB Sam Darnold and WR Robbie Anderson are reunited this year in Charlotte and will want to punish the NY Jets for giving up on both.

NFL Week 1 for the New York Jets is a total crapshoot.

For pure entertainment purposes, this amateur (awful) sports gambler and long-suffering New York Jets fan is putting down $5 each on five different wagers.

1. Will New York Jets +5 be enough?

The line on this game started at 4.5 points. Uncertainty surrounding WR Jamison Crowder’s availability likely has something to do with the movement. Crowder has been the Jets’ best receiver the last two seasons.

But, the Jets signed WR Corey Davis in the offseason to take the pressure off Crowder and open up the field a bit for their rookie QB.

Defensively, neither of these teams scare anyone. However, Saleh being a defensive-minded coach could spark new life into that side of the ball.

The New York Jets could win this game outright because everyone, including Carolina, will overlook them.

Most sportsbooks put the line at 5.5 (-110). FanDuel Sportsbook‘s 5 points at -104 feels like a gift.

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2. Will both teams score 20 or more points?

Both of these teams gave up an average of more than 25 points per game in 2020.

Neither squad made any significant defensive upgrades in the offseason. The Jets are getting former-Pro Bowl LB CJ Mosley back this season after he opted out in 2020 because of COVID concerns.

In the first couple weeks of any NFL season, it feels like offenses have a slight advantage over defenses. Because of that, expect a handful of big scoring plays for both teams.

Will the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers both score more than 20 points in this game? I’m going with Yes, which is +120 at BetMGM Sportsbook.

3. New York Jets outcome of 1st drive: field goal attempt

The New York Jets were downright awful in 2020.

However, one thing the Jets did better than almost any other NFL team (besides finding ways to lose) was score on the opening drive. In fact, during one stretch last year (Weeks 7-12), the Jets scored on each opening drive.

The New York Jets kicked four FGs and scored two TDs during those games.

Not hard to imagine Wilson and Davis leading the Jets down the field in the 1st quarter, only to have the drive stall around the 26-yard line.

I could see the Jets lining up and hitting an opening drive field goal this Sunday. This scenario is +400 at Caesars Sportsbook NJ.

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4. Sam Darnold to get 300+ passing yards

Darnold got a raw deal with the New York Jets. The No. 3 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft had Adam Gase as his head coach. Enough said.

Darnold also had some ballers around him (RB Le’Veon Bell, Crowder, Anderson) whose skills helped showcase why the Jets were so high on the former USC signal-caller. Darnold had some highlight-worthy moments in New York with those guys.

He still has that ability in Charlotte. And, without the shackles of awful coaching, many expect Darnold to have a respectable NFL career.
This game will be the first glimpse of that future.

Revenge game. Check.

Offensive advantage over defense in Week 1. Check.

Big play guy in Anderson. Check.

I could see Darnold easily throwing for more than 300 yards on Sunday. The odds are +100 at PointsBet sportsbook.

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5. New York Jets to score in every quarter and lose

The New York Jets are famous (infamous?) for giving their fans hope only to find the most soul-crushing ways imaginable to take it away.

Scoring in every quarter of a Week 1 game that the Jets have a real opportunity to win but still lose would be totally in character for this franchise. Same ol’ Jets.

Not really hard to imagine a scenario where the Jets keep this game close until the fourth quarter. Maybe something like a 24-21 game entering the final frame?

And then, in true J-E-T-S fashion, Darnold hits Anderson on a go route on 2nd and 12 with about 3:00 minutes to go. Ball game.

Panthers win 28-24.

What are the odds of this happening, you ask? FOX Bet NJ currently has the line at +570. Sure, I’ll put five on it.

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AP Photo/Ashley Landis

About

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.