The first Monday night game of this upcoming NFL season takes place in Detroit when the Lions and Jets meet for their Week 1 season-opener. How are we leaning on this one for our free NFL picks?
NFL Spread Action
Most Week 1 NFL betting odds opened Detroit as a 6.5-point favorite for this game, with an over/under of 44. Several shops then bumped the Lions to -7 in early NFL betting action.
The Jets finished 5-11 for the second straight season last year but went 9-6-1 ATS. Then again, much of that ATS success probably derived from low expectations from oddsmakers and bettors alike. New York actually started 3-2 last year but lost nine of its last 11. And yet the Jets played over a regular-season wins O/U of 4.5. Heading into this season, with slightly higher expectations, New York faces an O/U of 6 wins.
Over the off-season the Jets supposedly found their QB of the future with USC’s Sam Darnold. And he looked good in his first exhibition action. Veteran Josh McCown will probably start for New York in Week 1, but as of this writing that’s still uncertain.
The Lions, meanwhile, finished 9-7 for the second year in a row last season (8-7-1 ATS) but unlike 2016 missed the playoffs. Detroit reached 6-4 but a 1-3 skid proved hurtful. Still, a Week 17 victory over Green Bay pushed the Lions over a wins total of 8. Heading into this season, with a new head coach and slightly diminished expectations, the Lions face an O/U of 7.5.
As just mentioned, Detroit parted ways with Coach Caldwell and replaced him with Coach Patricia, New England’s former DC. But is this an upgrade? We’re dubious.
The Jets posted one of the worst home/road splits in the NFL last year, going 4-4 SU, 7-1 ATS at MetLife Stadium, 1-7 SU, 2-5-1 ATS anywhere else. New York also ranked 29th in total yardage at -47 YPG.
The Lions ranked 20th in total offense last year at -18 YPG and 29th in total rushing at -37 YPG. And Detroit still hasn’t produced a single 100-yard rusher over its last 68 games.
These teams last met four seasons ago, a 24-17 Lions win in New Jersey. But that outcome means absolutely nothing when it comes to handicapping this game.
The totals split 8-8 in Jets games last year, which averaged 42.5 total points.
Overs played 10-6 in Lions games last year, which averaged 49 points.
Free NFL Pick
Detroit may experience a learning curve early this season with the new coach and new systems, and as far as we know the Lions still can’t run the ball. New York, meanwhile, isn’t great, but with McCown it has enough to keep this one close. However, if it’s Darnold we’re leery of betting on a rookie QB making his first start. We’re leaning Jets here, but there’s also a good chance we’ll pass on this game when the time comes.
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