The year is 2011. Rex Ryan's New York Jets fell behind 24-0 in the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez almost engineered an improbable comeback. Unfortunately, the comeback fell short as the Jets lost 24-19 in the AFC Championship Game. That's the last playoff game the Jets have played. Their 11 year drought is the longest currently in the NFL. The second longest drought belongs to the Denver Broncos, who have only gone six years since making the postseason.
Jets fans have been through a lot. Their most successful season in the last decade featured Todd Bowles and Ryan Fitzpatrick. They've suffered through Geno Smith and Sam Darnold at quarterback, Adam Gase at coach and John Idzik and Mike Maccagnan running the team. However, with Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh now at the helm, there's hope around the franchise for the first time in quite a few years.
A lot will come down to Zach Wilson. Can he grow in his sophomore year and take steps to establish himself as a franchise quarterback? He might miss the start of the season, but he shouldn't be out long. Around Wilson, the pieces are there. He has two solid young running backs, two highly touted young receivers and a decent enough offensive line. The defense has potential as well with Carl Lawson returning, the addition of Sauce Gardner and Jermaine Johnson in the draft and the signings of Jordan Whitehead, Kwon Alexander and Solomon Thomas.
However, the Jets have a long way to go. The loaded AFC will not make it any easier on them. Yahoo's Frank Schwab has them ranked 27th in his preseason power rankings. The betting market seems to agree that they'll be one of the worst teams in the league. However, bettors seem to think this could be the year the Jets take a major step forward.
Jets are expected to be bad
Last season, the Jets went 4-13. However, quarterback Zach Wilson is another year older and the team around him is improved, highlighted by the four picks they had in the top 36 of the draft this past season. Therefore, it should be no surprise that oddsmakers are expecting the Jets to be better this season. Their win total is set at 5.5 wins. While better, it's still one of the lowest in the league. It's tied with Seattle for the third lowest win total ahead of only the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons.
However, bettors are expecting the Jets to surpass expectations. New York is the fourth most popular win total over bet at BetMGM to this point, behind only Detroit, New Orleans and Pittsburgh. Currently, 69% of bets and 78% of the money is backing the Jets to go over 5.5 wins.
New York opened as an extreme long shot to make the playoffs at +900. Those odds suggested they make the playoffs just 10% of the time. The odds are currently off the board due to the uncertainty with Wilson, but to date, 96% of bets were backing the Jets to make the playoffs. They've received more money backing them to make the playoffs than any team in the league and they're the biggest liability for BetMGM in the make/miss playoffs market.
The Jets are 22-to-1 to win the AFC East. Only the Texans and the Falcons have longer odds to win their respective division. However, over 24% of bets are backing New York to win the division at these odds, making them the largest liability at BetMGM. It doesn't seem oddsmakers care, as the Jets are -400 favorites to finish in fourth place in the AFC East. Those odds suggest New York finishes in the basement 80% of the time.
New York is 150-to-1 to win the Super Bowl in 2022. Those odds are tied for fourth worst in the league with the Giants and Jaguars. Only Seattle, Atlanta and Houston have worse odds. The Jets are 80-to-1 to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, tied with Jacksonville for the second worst odds. Only the Texans have worse odds.
If we're looking at more realistic markets, the Jets are +650 to finish with the fewest number of wins during the regular season. Those are the third best odds behind only Houston and Atlanta. The Jets are 12-to-1 to score the fewest points in the regular season. Those odds are tied for sixth best with Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
Jets awards and player props
What does the betting market think of some of the Jets' top players for this upcoming season?
Zach Wilson suffered a meniscus injury in the preseason opener, but he shouldn't miss much if any regular season action. Wilson is currently 100-to-1 to win NFL MVP. Those odds are the same as fellow quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones, Ryan Tannehill and Justin Fields.
Wilson is 66-to-1 to lead the league in passing yards, and the same odds are available for him to lead the league in passing touchdowns. He finished 30th and 31st in the two categories last season. One stat that Wilson is expected to excel in is throwing interceptions. He's the current co-favorite to lead the league in picks alongside Davis Mills. Wilson had 11 interceptions in 13 games last season. Due to Wilson's injury, no other player props are available currently.
Breece Hall was the first running back drafted in this past year's draft and he's 10-to-1 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Those odds are tied for third best with Skyy Moore and Chris Olave. Only George Pickens and Kenny Pickett have better odds. Hall is the most popular bet to win the award at BetMGM, getting 9.6% of the bets. Hall is 50-to-1 to lead the league in rushing and 66-to-1 to lead the league in rushing touchdowns in his rookie season.
The Jets used the fourth overall pick to draft Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner out of Cincinnati and he's one of the betting favorites to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Gardner is 12-to-1 to win the award, tied for the 5th best odds with Quay Walker. Only Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Travon Walker and Kyle Hamilton have better odds. Gardner is the third most popular bet behind Hutchinson and Thibodeaux. Sauce's interception prop for the upcoming season is set at over/under 1.5 picks.
Other Jets players
Garrett Wilson is 18-to-1 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was the second receiver drafted behind Drake London. However, he is struggling to get on the field with the first team in camp, often running behind Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios. As a result of that, Wilson's odds have fallen from 10-to-1 where he opened. He opened with the sixth best odds, now he has the 14th best odds.
Jermaine Johnson is 16-to-1 to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Those are the eighth best odds.
Carl Lawson missed his entire first season in New York. The edge rusher is 66-to-1 to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year which is tied for the 19th best odds.
Robert Saleh is 25-to-1 to win NFL Coach of the Year. Those odds are tied for 14th best with five other coaches including Sean McDermott and Mike Vrabel. Saleh is the 8th most popular bet to win the award, right behind Mike Tomlin.
Jets big underdogs in Week 1
The New York Jets open the season at home with a matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. The Jets are currently 7-point home underdogs against the Ravens. The Jets are +240 on the moneyline to win the game outright.
This line has seen some movement throughout the offseason. New York opened as just a 4.5-point underdog, but heavy Ravens money pushed that line to 5.5-points where it sat most of the offseason. Now, with Zach Wilson looking unlikely to play in Week 1, the line moved again to where it is now with the Jets catching a full touchdown at home.
The Jets are the second biggest underdog of Week 1. Only the Texans (+7.5 vs. Indianapolis) are catching more points in their season opener.