The New England Patriots will be back on the gridiron for the first time since their Super Bowl victory Thursday night as they take on the Green Bay Packers as three-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by

It has been a rocky offseason for the Patriots, whose Super Bowl win has been overshadowed by the controversy swirling around their starting quarterback. Tom Brady now is battling the NFL in a New York court to try to squash the four-game suspension he is scheduled to begin in the team’s first game of the regular season.

The controversy, however, has not had much of an effect on New England’s betting futures. After falling to as far as 12-1 on the Super Bowl 50 odds during the offseason, Brady’s Patriots begin their preseason trailing just a pair of NFC teams on those odds — Green Bay and Seattle both hold lines of 6-1 on the updated NFL championship futures.

New England then is joined by the rival Indianapolis Colts at 9-1 on the odds to win Super Bowl 50, and the Patriots also are dominating in NFL divisional betting as heavy -140 favorites at the sportsbooks to claim their seventh straight AFC East title.

However, New England must first get through four preseason contests, starting with Thursday night’s Packers vs. Patriots betting matchup at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots, who are not expected to give Brady the ball in Thursday’s clash, have produced mixed results in recent preseason contests. The team went 2-2 in tune-up games last summer and are a mediocre 6-6 in the preseason over the past three years.

However, New England is a perfect 4-0 in its last four preseason matchups at home, easily covering the spread in each including a 28-20 outright victory over the New York Giants as one-point betting underdogs in 2013.

The Patriots meet the Packers in the preseason for the first time since 2005, when they posted a 27-3 win, but scored a combined 10 points in a pair of preseason losses to the Packers way back in 1996 and 1997.

New England hasn’t had much success against the Packers in games that matter recently, going 2-4 straight up and 1-4-1 against the spread in six matchups since getting thumped 35-21 by Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXI.

Conversely, the Packers are riding a three-game SU and ATS win streak in preseason action, and they are 3-2 SU and ATS in their past five preseason road dates according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

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