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By Kyle Markus

NFL Preview - Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets

Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, looked solid in his preseason debut on Thursday. Now the next quarterback taken in the draft will get his shot. Jets rookie Sam Darnold is going to make his professional debut in Friday’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Darnold has talent but rookie quarterbacks are hit-and-miss early in their career because there is such a learning curve heading into the professional level. The Falcons made the Super Bowl two years ago and have enough talent to make another legitimate run, but it is such a veteran team that they will be the underdogs in this matchup.

Atlanta star quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones could play sparingly in this one and in general coach Dan Quinn doesn’t seem to put much priority on winning exhibition games. The Jets hope to get a good outing from their rookie signal-caller, which could result in a cover in NFL gambling.

This NFL football game will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at 7 p.m ET on Friday, August 10th, 2018. The contest will be nationally televised on NFL Network.

We'll have NFL football odds at [...] available for every game of the 2018 NFL season.

Odds Analysis

The Jets are currently being listed as 3.5-point favorites. There is heavy money coming in on New York to cover even as the spread has moved up a couple of points prior to the game. The Jets are listed as the -180 favorites on the moneyline while the Falcons are the +155 underdogs.

The scoring total is listed at 35.5 points, as preseason games generally have less scoring than regular season contests. The “over” is the more popular play in NFL wagering.

Quarterback Watch

The Jets’ starter is Josh McCown and he could see a little time in this one, but New York doesn’t figure to keep him in long because McCown doesn’t really need the work. Teddy Bridgewater may be the second one in the game as he seems to currently be ahead of Darnold on the depth chart.

Bridgewater had a promising start to his career with the Minnesota Vikings but suffered a major knee injury which cost him two seasons. Bridgewater is aiming to show he is a viable starting quarterback again and will certainly look to put his best foot forward.

Darnold is likely to get a good deal of action as the Jets get him experience and add film to evaluate his progress. Darnold was the third overall pick in this year’s draft after an impressive career at USC.

Darnold threw for 7,229 yards in his two seasons as the Trojans starter, finishing with 57 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. Darnold does not seem likely to surpass both Bridgewater and McCown in the preseason to become the starter but a good first game could make that more of a conversation.

Key Stat

Zero. That’s the number of games the Falcons won last preseason, which may be a big reason why the team has been pinned as the underdog in this one. Atlanta has a veteran, experienced group on offense that has been together for a few years, so there isn’t much of a need to find a rhythm in the preseason.

If this was a regular season game the spread would be much different, but take advantage of the preseason situation.

Free NFL ATS Picks

All three New York quarterbacks want to play well to give the coaches reason to think they can be the starter this season. The Falcons lack the same motivation and also play on the road. The Jets are the pick to both win this game and cover the spread in NFL gambling. Take the “over” on the scoring total.

NFL ATS Pick: New York Jets 22, Atlanta Falcons 17

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