Quarterback Sam Darnold made it clear this week that his focus is on rebuilding his career with the Carolina Panthers, not getting revenge on his former team, the New York Jets. Everyone is going to firmly focused on Darnold’s rematch with his old team. But that’s not the only storyline to watch here. The Jets are starting rookie signal caller Zach Wilson and an all new coaching staff on the sidelines. For the Panthers, this will also be Christian McCaffrey’s first game back in action after missing most of last season. And unlike we’ve been able to say in the past, this game should be a pretty good one. Kickoff is in Carolina at 1 p.m. ET.
Here, we’ll take a look at our picks for best bets for Jets vs. Panthers in Week 1 of the NFL season. Odds come via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jets vs. Panthers Week 1 odds
Spread: Panthers -4
Point total: 44.5
Moneyline: Panthers -200, Jets +170
Our picks for Jets vs. Panthers
Pick against the spread: Panthers -4
Things are definitely looking up for the Jets, finally, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. The Panthers offense is pretty loaded. Beyond McCaffrey, they’ve got a very good group of receivers in DJ Moore, Robby Anderson and rookie Terrance Marshall. The Jets were 6-10 against the spread last season; Carolina went 9-7 against the spread, despite a 5-11 record.
Over/under 44.5 points: Over 44.5
The biggest problem both of these teams face this season is a questionable defense, especially the Jets who ranked 28th in pass defense last season. They were better against the run, but they’re going to have to deal with a highly motivated McCaffrey this week.
Preferred player prop: Christian McCaffrey first touchdown (+400)
Bet against McCaffrey this season at your own peril. Remember, back in 2019 he scored 19 times, 15 on the ground and four receiving touchdowns. He’s the key to the Panthers offense, especially as they look to help Darnold ease into things. He’s scored the first touchdown in six of his last eight appearances against AFC teams, and punched it in for the Panthers first score last year too.
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