The Detroit Lions will host the New York Jets in the opener of Week 1’s Monday Night Football double-header. Kickoff is set for 7:10 EST at Ford Field and will be televised on ESPN.
Taking a look at the Week 1 NFL odds, the books have the Lions listed as a 6.5-point home favorite with the total set at 45 points.
Vegas Betting Odds & Game Preview: Jets vs Lions
Detroit just missed out on back-to-back playoff appearances with a 9-7 record in 2017. The remarkable thing with the Lions is they managed to finish 4-games back of the Vikings in the NFC North, despite a 5-1 record inside the division. While the team had some success under head coach Jim Caldwell, he was let go and Detroit went out and hired Matt Patricia away from the Patriots.
Patricia has spent the last 14 years with New England, serving as the defensive coordinator his final 6 seasons with the team. There’s a lot of excitement with the hire, but Bill Belichick’s assistants haven’t exactly had the greatest run as head coaches. That concern, along with the fact that the Lions play in the same division as the Vikings and Packers has few expecting a lot out of this team in 2018.
New York is coming off a surprising 5-11 season, as there were a lot of experts, including myself, who questioned whether the Jets had enough talent to win a single game in 2017. It was a good enough showing to save the job of head coach Todd Bowles, but there’s still a long way for this team to go to be a competitive force in the AFC. New York ranked in the bottom half of the league in scoring offense, total offense, scoring defense and total defense.
The Jets believe they took a big step towards closing that gap with the No. 3 pick of USC quarterback Sam Darnold. Darnold looked the most NFL ready of the rookie signal callers in the preseason and has been named the starter for the opener. All eyes will be on the rookie and how far he can take this team in his first year on the job.
NFL Betting Free Pick & Game Predictions: Lions -6.5
I would have to lean towards laying the points with Detroit in this one. I think a lot of people are going to look at this line and think this is way too many points for the Lions to be laying, but I just don’t trust the Jets to make a game of this.
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I know there’s a lot of excitement around Darnold and I’ll be the first to say he looked in the preseason. The key here is not get ahead of ourselves. Darnold played the majority of the preseason and 2nd and 3rd string defenses. I just think it’s asking a lot for him to go out and play well on the road in first career start. Not to mention it’s on the biggest stage in Monday Night Football.
I get why the Jets did what they did, but I don’t think Darnold was their best quarterback on the roster. I think Teddy Bridgewater would have gave them the best chance at winning in 2018, but they are building for the future and shipped him out of town.
One of things that I think is getting overlooked with the Jets and their offense, is how they struggled to get anything going in the running game during the preseason. A lot of that is because the offensive line is mediocre at best. I think it’s going to be really hard for the Jets to score a lot of points if they can’t run the ball, especially on the road.
That’s where I see the Lions pulling away, as we can pretty much count on Matthew Stafford and Detroit’s offense putting up points at home. The Lions averaged 27.0 ppg at home last year. I think the offense could be even more potent in 2018, as they should be able to balance out the offense with the addition of running back LeGarrette Blount and rookie Kerryon Johnson. The team is also really high on 2nd year wide-out Kenny Golladay and if he emerges they have quite the trio with Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. Give me Detroit -6.5.