Detroit Lions (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. New York Jets (1-2 SU, 0-2-1 ATS)
NFL Week 4
Date and Time: Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, 1:00 pm EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
TV: Fox, DirecTV 706
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Det. -1.5/NYJ +1.5
Over/Under Total: 45
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The New York Jets will host their second straight game at MetLife Stadium and third game in a row against an NFC North opponent, when the Jets tussle with the Detroit Lions in an early game this Sunday on Fox.
The Jets are still trying to forget their previous two meetings with the NFC North, including a demoralizing, 27-19, loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football when they spotted the Bears 14 points to start the game with a pick six and muffed punt practically in their own end zone. New York is now mired in a two-game slump when the Lions come to town this Sunday, and sitting in the perfect spot for a rebound game after losing two frustrating, almost-close losses against the Packers and Bears.
The Lions enter MetLife on Sunday fresh off an impressive, 19-7, victory over the Green Bay Packers when they held Aaron Rodgers to only 162 yards passing, his lowest total in a game hes started and finished in his career. Matt Stafford threw two picks and the offense was still a little sketchy, but the strong defensive effort by the Lions put them atop the NFC North standings after the first three weeks of the season.
Interestingly, oddsmakers set the opening point spread for this game as a pick em when it was initially released late following the Jets stinker on Monday Night. But with the early steam coming in on the Lions in a big way, the number was moved quickly to Detroit minus -1.5 before most bettors were even awake on Tuesday morning.
The over/under total opened at 45 and as of mid-week has yet to move much at a large majority of sportsbooks both on the Web and in Las Vegas. There are a few offshore books that have dropped the total to 44.5, but the number is holding steady through early wagering.
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It interesting to see a total in the mid 40s, especially considering the two defenses involved in this game. The Lions are top-3 in most of the major defensive categories, including first in overall yards allowed (244.3 ypg) and second in rushing yards allowed (64 ypg). The Jets defense is second in the league in yards allowed (268 ypg) and first against the run (55 ypg), but theyve been burned on big plays this year which is reflected in the fact that are 22nd in points allowed at 24 points per game.
This means that something will have to give for the Jets on offense, because in order to take pressure of the young QB Geno Smith the Jets rely almost exclusively on running the ball (157 ypg 2nd in NFL). If the Jets are unable to run the ball, it could put Smith in a make-or-break situation to win it by throwing it, and the second-year quarterback is already showing signs of breaking with five turnovers himself already this season.
Historically, the Jets have had the upper hand in this every-four years series against the Lions, winning three in a row (since 2002) and covering the spread in two of the last three meetings.
However, Detroit is 0-4 ATS in their last four road games, and 1-5 ATS following an ATS win the week before, so the point spread is moving in the opposite direction of this betting trend. It may be more due to the fact the wagering on the Jets isnt much better, especially since they are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games in September.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: It certainly doesnt look good for the Jets here, with everybody and their brother taking the Lions in this game early in the week. But something in my gut tells me the Jets will get it figured out and Im a sucker for a home underdog, especially when its against a favorite that doesnt play like a favorite or cover on the road. Ill wait and see where the number stops climbing, then Im taking the Jets plus the points.