NFL Betting Odds: Who Will Start for the New York Jets in Week 1?

by Rick Rockwell
on August 8, 2018
8

Minute Read

The New York Jets have a QB dilemma on their hands with three capable starting quarterbacks and tens of millions of dollars tied up with these players in 2018. This offseason has been competitive amongst the three options, but it’s getting down to crunch time and the coaches are going to have to make a decision on who will start for the team in Week 1. Currently, McCown is the odds on favorite, but let’s take a closer look at this NFL Prop bet to see which QB to lay our money on:

Jets Week 1 Starter Betting Odds

The following betting odds on who will start Week 1 for the New York Jets are courtesy of Bookmaker.eu:

  • Josh McCown (-140)
  • Sam Darnold (+160)
  • Teddy Bridgewater (+700)

Josh McCown (-140)

McCown is heading into his second season with the Jets. Last year, he earned the starting job and had one of the best statistical seasons of his career as he set personal records for passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage. The following is a look at McCown’s stats for the last few years:

Year Team Games Att Comp Pass Yds TDs INTs
2017 NY Jets 13 397 267 2,926 18 9
2016 Cleveland 5 165 90 1,100 6 6
2015 Cleveland 8 292 186 2,109 12 4
2014 Tampa Bay 11 327 184 2,206 11 14

Based on how McCown performed last season, the Jets got a steal in regards to paying Josh only $6 million. However, due to his leadership and on-field production, the Jets brought McCown back in 2018 under a 1-year, $10 million dollar contact despite signing Teddy Bridgewater as a free agent and eventually drafting Sam Darnold with the #3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

McCown is fully healed from his broken hand, which he suffered during Week 14 against the Denver Broncos. It’s what caused him to miss the final 3 games of the 2017 season. As the Jets starter, McCown went 5-8. If you watched the Jets last year, you would’ve seen that McCown singlehandedly kept them in many games despite the team’s overall ineptness.

This year, McCown is rightfully the odds on favorite to start for the Jets in Week 1. But, will he be able to open up the regular season as the Jets top QB for the second year in a row with the heavy competition at the position?

Sam Darnold (+160)

The Jets went all-in on the 2018 NFL Draft to get their franchise quarterback of the future. On March 17th, just a few days after re-signing McCown and signing free agent Teddy Bridgewater, the Jets traded their #6 overall pick, two 2nd round draft picks in 2018, and a 2nd round draft pick in 2019 to the Colts for Indy’s #3 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

Heading into the draft, most analysts believed that Sam Darnold was going to be taken #1 overall by the Browns as he was viewed as the best QB of this year’s draft class. However, the Browns shocked the NFL by taking Baker Mayfield instead and the Jets, feeling like it was Christmas, didn’t waste any time selecting Darnold.

At USC, Darnold posted the following stats in his two years as starting QB:

Year Games Attempts Comp Yards TDs INTs
2017 14 480 303 4,143 26 13
2016 13 366 246 3,086 31 9

Darnold was clearly one of the best, if not the best QB in college football last year. He led the Trojans back to relevancy and also led the Pac-12 in passing yards last season. Additionally, Darnold was second in the conference with 26 passing touchdowns, which was down from his total of 31 TDs in 2016. Darnold also threw 13 interceptions in 2017, which was tied for the conference lead.

For the Pac-12 fans out there, we saw how Darnold pressed his throws a lot as he felt he had to do everything on his own. The Trojans team wasn’t as good as they were in 2016, but Darnold forced things on too many occasions. Other than that, Sam has all the tools any NFL team could want in a franchise QB.

Darnold looked good in OTAs and showed a lot of progress. Unfortunately, he missed some valuable practice time this summer due to holding out over his contract. Once that was resolved, Darnold got into training camp and has quickly impressed the coaches during his short time there.

The Jets have the 5th easiest schedule this season and some pundits are calling for the team to just start Darnold. However, the Jets coaching staff and front office want to see how Darnold does in preseason action before considering him for the Week 1 start.

Teddy Bridgewater (+700)

The 25-year old QB signed with the Jets in mid-March after 4 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. However, he missed all of 2016 with a gruesome knee injury and only had 2 passing attempts in 2017. Prior to his injury, Bridgewater put up some decent numbers in his first two years as the Vikings QB:

Year Team Games Att Comp Yards TDs INTs
2017 Vikings 1 2 0 0 0 1
2016 Vikings 0 0 0 0 0 0
2015 Vikings 16 447 292 3,231 14 9
2014 Vikings 13 402 259 2,919 14 12

Bridgewater’s signing with the Jets was rather surprising considering they were heavily rumored to be looking for a QB in the 2018 NFL Draft and because they were re-signing Josh McCown. Many pundits thought that Bridgewater would go to a team where he had a clear path to a starting job. Instead, Teddy signed a 1-year deal with the Jets that could earn him up to $15 million if he hits all of the incentives. However, it looks highly unlikely that he will since Bridgewater has been 3rd on the QB depth chart all offseason and training camp.

There’s also been many rumors swirling around the Jets organization that New York might trade Bridgewater to a QB needy team. Teddy is a valuable trade chip for the Jets, but is it worth getting rid of a talented QB before they see how Darnold can do in live NFL action?

Who Will Start Week 1 for the Jets?

It’s going to take a spectacular preseason for Sam Darnold to surpass Josh McCown as the starter. McCown knows the players, the coaches, and has the trust of his teammates. Darnold is still learning all of those aspects, and so is Bridgewater. I don’t see Teddy leapfrogging either QB ahead of him on the depth chart unless McCown gets hurt and Darnold fails miserably. With that said, McCown is not only the logical pick here, he is the smart bet as well.

Look for McCown to provide the steady leadership that this re-tooled Jets team needs and to be named as the Jets starter for Week 1 before the preseason is finished.

NFL Bet: Josh McCown (-140)
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