The New York Jets square off against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, as Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season goes on Sunday, September 12, so here’s the best Jets vs. Panthers betting pick for their interleague opener. 

The Jets meet the Panthers for the first time since 2017 when New York suffered a 35-27 loss as a 5.5-point home dog. This time around, the Jets are 3.5-point road dogs on BetOnline Sportsbook, while the totals sit at 44.5 points.

New York misses Jamison Crowder in the opener  

The New York Jets will be shorthanded Sunday, as their No. 2 wideout Jamison Crowder continues to recover from COVID-19. Last season, Crowder led the Jets receiving corps with 89 targets, 59 receptions, 699 yards, and six touchdowns.

New York acquired Corey Davis in the offseason, and the 26-year-old wide receiver has been solid for the Tennessee Titans over the last four years. Davis will be a primary target for rookie QB Zach Wilson, who’s shown brief glimpses of quality in the pre-season.

The Jets went 2-14 in 2020, tallying their first win in Week 15. They finished 26th in points allowed (28.6) and 28th in passing yards allowed per game (275.6), so Robert Saleh will have a difficult job to assembling a decent defensive unit. At least, the Jets are going with a new signal-caller after finishing dead last in the NFL in points scored (15.2). 

Carolina hopes for CMC to stay healthy    

Christian McCaffrey has appeared in just three games this past regular season. Back in 2019, the 25-year-old RB led the NFL in touchdowns (19) and yards from scrimmage (2392), so the Panthers desperately need him on the field in 2021.

The former Jets QB will start under center for Carolina this term, as Sam Darnold will try to prove his worth after spending three years with the lowly New York team. Last year, Darnold tossed for only 2208 yards, nine touchdowns, and 11 interceptions in 12 outings.

Carolina went 5-11 in 2021, losing nine of its last 11 games. The Panthers suffered a few narrow losses and looked good for most of the season. Matt Rhule had a debut as a head coach in the NFL, and his team ranked 24th in points scored per game (21.9) and 18th in points allowed per game (25.1).


NY Jets:

  • 1-8 ATS in the last nine games played in September
  • 4-11 ATS in the last 15 games on the road


  • 4-2 ATS in the last six games overall 

New York Jets vs. Carolina Panthers Pick

The Panthers should improve in Matt Rhule’s second season at the helm, though Sam Darnold remains a mystery. Anyway, Christian McCaffrey will be fired up in Week 1, and I’m expecting him to torture the Jets’ defense all day long.

Also, the Panthers’ defense looked decent in 2020. Carolina has a low of young and talented playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, so I’m backing the hosts to win and cover a 2.5-point spread. The Jets’ D cannot be trusted in the opener, while the Panthers have plenty of dangerous weapons on their offense besides CMC. Interestingly, Carolina is undefeated in seven straight meetings with the AFC East.

Pick: Take Carolina Panthers -2.5 at -138      

The Total:

I would stick with the hosts to cover, as the totals might be a tricky wager. Betting on the under looks like a logical choice, considering the Jets’ offensive woes in 2020, while the Panthers haven’t impressed either.

New York will probably continue to struggle, as Zach Wilson will need some time to settle down. On the other side, the Jets will be keen to ruin Sam Darnold’s day, but they’ll have a tall task to slow down Christian McCaffrey.

Pick: Go under 44.5 points at -110