The 2014 Detroit Lions went 3-1 SU and ATS during the preseason. They're 3-point home faves on the NFL odds board for Thursday's opener against the New York Jets.
Hallelujah, preseason NFL betting is here. It's that special time of year when the football odds are dripping with value – all we have to do is look at how the two head coaches involved have performed in previous years, and... oh. Apparently, that's not all we have to do. There are three rookie head coaches in the NFL this year, and one of them is involved in Thursday's matchup (7:30 p.m. ET) at Ford Field between the New York Jets at Detroit Lions.
Oh well. That extra uncertainty is significant enough that we suggest keeping your bet size small when you're making your NFL picks on this contest. But this is still an intriguing matchup that's worth investigating; the Lions are 3-point home faves on the NFL odds board as we go to press, and they're coming off a strong 3-1 SU and ATS preseason under head coach Jim Caldwell. Are you ready for some faux football?
Not that we have much of a sample size on Caldwell to begin with. He only lasted three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, taking the bullet for their post-Peyton Manning collapse in 2011. Here's how the Colts did in each of those preseasons:
2009: 1-3 SU and ATS
2010: 0-4 SU, 1-3 ATS
2011: 1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS
Not very good. But the Colts were something of a special case during the Manning years: They had their offensive game plan down to a T, and didn't put much effort into winning exhibition games. Caldwell had a little more work to do last year in his Lions debut. They ranked No. 19 in the league in offensive efficiency back in 2013, and Caldwell no doubt wanted to put his stamp on the team right out of the gate. The Lions were also No. 19 last year, by the way.
Imagine how anxious Todd Bowles must be to put his stamp on New York. Bowles, who spent the past two seasons as the defensive co-ordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, earned his first full-time head coaching gig after being named 2014 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year by the Associated Press. He's got big shoes to fill after taking over for Rex Ryan, and this being New York, every misstep will be magnified 1000x.
If Bowles is anything like the guy he worked under in Glendale, the Jets will come out all guns blazing on Thursday. Bruce Arians led the Cardinals to a 4-4 SU and 5-2-1 ATS record over the past two seasons, beating the Week 1 NFL odds both times. And the Jets have a very capable No. 2 QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick who will no doubt want to make a positive impression. We'd take Fitzpatrick over Lions back-up Dan Orlovsky any day. Let's roll with Gang Green, but again, keep the bet size small for fear of the unknown.
Free NFL Pick: Take the Jets +3 (+100) at The Greek