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The New York Jets and Market Inefficiencies

After writing a blog about NFL Futures, which includes team over/under win totals and odds of each team making the playoffs, Bovada came out with even more NFL Futures bets.

One team I’ve been oddly curious about are the New York Jets, who last year finished with a record of 7-9 and this year have an over/under win total set at 6.5. I’m not the sharpest sports bettor, but that 6.5 doesn’t seem to add up.

The Jets opened the 2019 season with a 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills, a team that would go on to finish 10-6 (and should have won a playoff game). After that, starting quarterback Sam Darnold went down with mononucleosis, an affliction that would cost him three games. In the meantime, backup Trevor Siemian tore his ACL after just six passes, and his replacement Nick Falk came in and looked like a 3rd-string QB. After losing their first game with Darnold, the Jets lost the next three by a composite score of 84-23.

When Darnold returned the season was already over. But despite starting the year 1-7, the Jets finished strong, winning 6 of their final 8 contests. In Darnold’s starts the team went 7-6 with a -22 point differential, but even that number is a bit misleading. They lost to 33-0 on Monday Night Football against the Patriots and 42-21 against the Baltimore Ravens — who finished 14-2. While throwing out those two lopsided losses defeats the purpose of referencing point differential, it’s my opinion that their true talent level last year was at least league average.

That is why I’m suspect that the Jets over/under for the 2020 season — where Darnold is set to be the starter for the duration — is only 6.5. It’s possible that an o/u of 7.5 is too ambitious, but only if you expect the AFC East to be markedly better in 2020. I think there’s a good chance it’s worse. Buffalo and New England both have an over/under of 8.5 wins, and Miami is at 6. Counting the Jets 6.5, that gives the East a combined 29.5 wins.

Among all eight NFL divisions, the only division with a projection so low is the AFC South (also 29.5 wins). In short, the AFC East is not a world beater division. It’s supposed to be, as every other year, pretty poor compared to the rest of the league. The difference in 2020 is that the Patriots are without Tom Brady, and while it’s unclear whether or not they are going to tank (as I believe), there is reason to expect them to take a step back.

That ought to be good news for the Jets, only Vegas doesn’t really agree. Not with me, anyway. What’s more peculiar, and in fact the reason I am writing this blog in the first place, is that Vegas has lookahead game lines for every single New York Jets game next year. That’s not the news, though. The news is that the Jets are only favored to win one of those 16 games.

That is where this doesn’t add up. Below are the matchups and lines:

AZ (-1) @ NYJ
BUF (-2.5) @ NYJ
CLE (-1.5) @ NYJ
DEN (-1) @ NYJ
LV (-1) @ NYJ
MIA (+4.5) @ NYJ 
NE (-5.5) @ NYJ
NYJ (+7) @ BUF
NYJ (+7) @ IND
NYJ (+13.5) @ KC
NYJ (+5.5) @ LAC
NYJ (+7) @ LAR
NYJ (+1.5) @ MIA
NYJ (+9.5) @ NE
NYJ (+8.5) @ SEA
SF (-7.5) @ NYJ

So let’s break this down. The Jets, with an over/under win total of 6.5, are home underdogs against all of Arizona (over/under 7), Buffalo (o/u 8.5), Cleveland (o/u 8.5), Denver (o/u 7.5), Las Vegas (o/u 7.5), New England (o/u 8.5) and San Francisco (o/u 10.5). The only team they are favored at home against are the Miami Dolphins, who have an over/under of 6. On top of that the Jets are underdogs in all of their road games.

Now, I get it. Buffalo, New England and San Francisco are all betting favorites to be playoff teams. But the rest? Arizona is only expected to be a half-win better, yet they are a one-point road favorite. Given the roughly three-point home field advantage, Vegas is saying the Cardinals are four points better than the Jets. Ditto the Broncos and Raiders, each at 7.5 wins.

The message of this article is that the numbers don’t make any sense. It’s strange to me that a team projected to win 6.5 games (meaning either 6 or 7) are only favored to win once out of 16.

What does it mean? It means if you have disposable capital to blow, you could make a decent amount of cash by blindly taking the Jets plus the points in 15 of those 16 games. One thing we know for sure: they aren’t going to go 1-7 at home. You could take them +1 against all of AZ, DEN, and LV, +1.5 against CLE, +2.5 against BUF, +5.5 against NE, and +7.5 against SF. That would be a start, anyway.

I am a Chiefs fan, of course, so I don’t really have a dog in this fight. The Jets aren’t going to win the Super Bowl next year, they are underdogs even to make the playoffs. And hey, maybe Vegas is right and they are only going to win 6 or 7 games next season.

But if that’s the case, if 6 or 7 wins is all that’s in store, you can still make a good chunk of change by betting on them right now. Because while a 6-10 or 7-9 season isn’t anything to write home about, at this moment you are getting points 15 times out of 16 games. Winning money against sports books is the goal, and betting on the Jets is one way you could take advantage.

1 Comment so far

  1. Pingback: AFC East Preview |

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