The Jets and Giants took different paths to a 4-13 record and last place in their divisions last season, but oddly, they share similarly rosy outlooks in the preseason betting markets.
The Jets were expected to be bad in quarterback Zach Wilson’s rookie season, and despite promising early wins over the Titans and Bengals, they lived up (or down) to it. They’re hoping some bold offseason moves, including drafting Ohio State playmaker Garrett Wilson, help them improve one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
The Giants were hit hard by injuries, including a neck injury that ended quarterback Daniel Jones’ season and fueled an 0-6 finish. The Giants are hopeful that Jones and running back Saquon Barkley can stay healthy and have productive seasons to revive an offense that ranked 31st in the NFL in 2021.
The Jets and Giants have drawn heavy action throughout the off-season, likely as a result of the massive numbers of New Yorkers engaging in the newly legal betting market. For example, the Jets have drawn the highest futures handle and bet count at FanDuel, leading to one person questioning the sanity of such a trend.
Let’s dive into a few aspects of each team’s betting outlook heading into the first Sunday of the NFL season:
Jets over 5.5 wins
As mentioned, the Jets are drawing heavy action, which has evidently pushed the bookmakers to protect themselves by offering less-than-appetizing odds on Team Green taking a step forward. The consensus line on the over is in the -170 range, but DraftKings is offering it at -150.
If the Jets are going to hit the over, they’ll likely have to load up with early wins, as their schedule gets brutal beginning with Week 6: at Green Bay, at Denver, vs. New England, vs. Buffalo, and at New England. If they can’t find a way to win at least two of their first five games — against Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Miami — an over ticket won’t be looking very good by the time they reach Week 12 and a potential reprieve against the Bears.
Though the Jets probably are an improved team, it’s far from guaranteed they’ll win two additional games. The under seems like the stronger play.
Giants over 7.5 wins
Because the Giants had a better roster than the Jets before their flood of injuries, the bookmakers have taken a different approach in their case. They installed the win total at a rather optimistic number, prompting the majority of the action to come in on the under, producing odds on the under in the -145 range. DraftKings posted its number at seven, with both sides listed at -110.
With games against the Packers, Titans, Ravens, Colts, Vikings, Cowboys (twice) and Eagles (twice), it’s easier to foresee the under hitting than the over.
Jets to make playoffs
As they should, the Jets have some of the longest odds on the board to reach the postseason, with only the Falcons (+790) and Texans (+1500) getting longer odds than the Jets’ +710 (at FanDuel).
The franchise hasn’t reached the playoffs since Mark Sanchez led it to back-to-back AFC Championship games way back in 2009-10. While it’s highly unlikely the Jets will make up that much ground in one season, it’s probably smarter to take this action than the over on their season win total given the relative odds.
In other words, rather than laying -150 on the Jets to win six games, why not take this action and hope they can win nine games to sneak in as the Steelers and Eagles did in 2021?
Giants to win NFC East
The Giants are +800 at most sportsbooks, the longest odds in the division, behind the Commanders at +500.
If you’re looking to ride the local squad, this, too, might be the way to go. That’s not a commentary on the Giants — the Commanders under Carson Wentz might be a stronger play — as much as a nod to how topsy-turvy the NFC East can be, with three different division winners in the past three years.
Of course, the last time the Giants won the division was 2011. Things finished up pretty well that season, a 21-17 victory over the Patriots in the Super Bowl, so why not dream big?
Breece Hall Offensive Rookie of the Year
Kenny Pickett (+850), George Pickens (+900), Dameon Pierce (+900) and Chris Olave (+1000) are the only rookies considered to have stronger chances to win this award than the Jets’ first-year running back, who is also +1000 (at DraftKings).
Teams just don’t draft running backs like they used to, and Hall, a second-rounder from Iowa State, was the first back selected. He may split carries early with Michael Carter, but he has the talent to separate himself and put up the kind of numbers that will draw the attention of voters.
The bonus is you also get his pass-catching skills. He had 36 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games for the Hawkeyes last year.
Daniel Jones Comeback Player of the Year
This award is given out by the Associated Press every year to a player who overcomes adversity either by recovering from an injury or reversing his bad play from the previous season.
The favorites are running backs Derrick Henry (+400) and Brian Robinson Jr. (+450), but Jones offers nice value at +1600. The past four winners have all been quarterbacks, including Joe Burrow of the Bengals in 2021.
Jones played in just 11 games last season due to the neck injury, and with a new coach and offensive coordinator, he could put up good enough numbers to pull this one off. Just returning to the performance of his rookie season — when he passed for 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for a career-best 55.7 QB rating — might get it done.
Photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY