There’s been a strange trend common this season in sports betting: people have been betting thousands of dollars on the New York Jets to win the Super Bowl.
The first big bet on the Jets came on January 31 in New York just hours after Caesars Sportsbook opened its odds for next year’s Super Bowl. A bettor put $5,000 on the planes to win them all with a 200-1 chance of paying $1 million a day, but that was just the beginning.
Online sports site PointsBet bet $1,000 on the Jets to win a Super Bowl at 200-1 in April from a customer in Pennsylvania. DraftKings, BetMGM and WynnBET have reported taking $500 in Super Bowl bets on Jets this off-season, and as of this week, the Jets are the biggest Super Bowl liability at FanDuel, Caesars, and at The Borgata in Atlantic City. More bets have been placed on the Jets to win the Super Bowl than any other team except for one – the Buffalo Bills, who prefer unanimity.
“I’m not too concerned about planes,” Tom Gabel, director of sports fiction at The Borgata, told ESPN this week.
The team has failed a lot at the Super Bowl over the past decade or so. The Jets have a 22-59 record over the past five seasons, tied with the New York Giants for worst in the NFL, and have an 8.4-point difference per game, easily the worst in the league. The Jets are enjoying the longest active postseason drought in the NFL, having failed to make the playoffs in 11 consecutive seasons. Despite their constant struggle, Pro-Jets money has been popping up in all kinds of betting offerings in recent months:
• More bets and more money to be wagered on Jets to win more than 5.5 matches in DraftKings than any other team wins.
• The Jets attracted more bets to win the AFC East at the PointsBet Sportsbook than the Bills favorites and more money than the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots combined.
• The Jets have had more bets for the playoffs in the Caesars Sportsbook than any other team.
ESPN personality and loyal Jets fan Mike Greenberg said his first reaction when he heard about the betting interest on his favorite team was, “God bless our fans,” but added that he understood the growing optimism. “Now, do I expect Gates to win this Super Bowl? Of course not,” Greenberg said. “But, the Bengals were three points away and a year ago at this time that seemed unlikely.”
Jets general manager Joe Douglas has received high praise for the team’s off-season moves, including signings to court finishers CJ Uzomah, safety Jordan Whitehead, offensive guard Laken Tomlinson and Cornerback DJ Reed. The Jets’ recruiting class, which features first-round players Ahmed Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson, second-round Bryce Hall, and Bryce Hall, was also lauded.
“This is the best they’ve had for the holiday season in a long time,” said Kenny Scarbaggio, a 40-year-old Gates season ticket holder from New Jersey. Scarabaggio bet $200 on the Jets to win the Super Bowl and $2,000 on the team to win more than six games this season. He hosts Twitter as part of fan community site The Jets Lounge and isn’t embarrassed about putting money on the Jets, but others are.
Sportsbooks has reached out to customers who have bet on planes to win the Super Bowl on ESPN’s behalf to participate in this story but have been turned down. Some bettors said they were worried about being “ridiculed”.
“Yes, I have money on planes,” Scarabaggio said excitedly. “Every year I put money on planes to win the Super Bowl.” “It’s always a good comeback. One day, it will pay off and so will I.”
According to ESPN’s Football Strength Index, which gives the projected draft space for each team, the Jets have the highest probability of ending up with the first overall pick next year.