The NFL opens Week 3 with a tilt between the Jets and the Browns this Thursday night. For this game and every other primetime contest, we’ll break down the sports betting lines and recommend how to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if they don’t respond well in warm-ups.
Week 3 Thursday Night Football Sports Betting
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
Over/Under Total: 39
It’s very tempting to take the Over at first glance. The Jets have coughed up 37 points this season and allowed Ryan Tannehill to post a 114.8 passer rating last week. The Browns defense is slightly improved but has still been gashed for 373.5 YPG and ranks 20th in rush defense DVOA so far.
The low point total seems more based on the reputation of these teams. They’ve been quarterbacked by abysmal passers the past few seasons and have both upgraded under Tyrod Taylor and rookie Sam Darnold.
We could see the line rise if Jarvis Landry (knee) gets in a full practice because he’s the most vital piece to the Browns’ new-look offense. The slot maven led the NFL with 112 receptions last year and burned the Jets with 7 catches for 93 yards and a TD in a Week 6 meeting last year. That said, this isn’t necessarily a great individual matchup for Landry against solid slot CB Buster Skrine. Thus, fading Landry in Showdown DFS contests might make sense.
As of this week, Cleveland has moved on from Josh Gordon but established downfield threats in Rashard Higgins and rookie Antonio Callaway. The latter nearly completed an upset of New Orleans via Hail Mary from Taylor.
Even if the Jets’ improved secondary contains those receivers, Taylor is capable of using his legs against their slow front seven. The Jets allowed the fourth-most FPPG and third-most rushing YPG (314) to opposing QBs last season.
As for running backs, Carlos Hyde is efficient enough near the goal line to finish drives. Then, Duke Johnson Jr. can mix it up as a receiving back to help the Browns keep the ball moving.
The greatest danger to this game going below 40 combined points would be consecutive turnovers. Even then, Cleveland forced the fewest TOs (13) in the NFL last year, and the Jets (20) weren’t much better. Don’t be fooled by the Jets pouncing on Matt Patricia’s Lions in Week 1 and scooping up some unlucky fumbles in Week 2. This is still an exploitable unit, and new Browns OC Todd Haley should figure out ways to attack it at home.
On the other side, Sam Darnold has been turnover-prone throughout his collegiate and short NFL career, but this is a plum matchup for a rookie. Even on a short week, he should be able to produce against a Browns team that ranked 26th in DVOA pass defense last year.
New Browns slot CB T.J. Carrie was awful in 2016 before turning his career around in 2017. He could struggle to contain the shifty Terrelle Pryor, who is finding a rapport with Darnold and will certainly be fired up to face his former team. Pryor is a solid WR to stream in seasonal fantasy and a potential low-cost option in DFS contests.
Moving on, Quincy Enunwa has drawn praise from Darnold and quickly become the rookie’s favorite target. His steady presence, combined with the threat of Robby Anderson streaking downfield, should allow the Jets to move the chains and come away with points on most drives.
This is also a revenge spot for Isaiah Crowell, but he’s been very inefficient with a 3.38 YPC average aside from his flukey 62-yard touchdown run in a trouncing of the Lions. Actually, Bilal Powell is the superior all-around back. Both RBs are likely to split time and benefit depending on game script.
Cleveland will once again be without starting DE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle), which could make it easier for the Jets to get backs to the edge.
This will be an emotional spot for Cleveland (-3) and its fan base, which had its heart broken twice to open the season. The Browns aimed to solve their kicking woes by signing UDFA Greg Joseph. Still, he connected on just 69.5 percent of kicks at Florida Atlantic and may not be reliable under NFL pressure.
It’s tempting to take Cleveland due to the narrative, but the safer bet is the Jets (+3) and the points. This should be a back-and-forth game with enough offense to hopefully top the Over. At the time of this writing, about 60% of the money is on this game topping the 39 point Over. A teaser of Jets/Over might be the play tonight.
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