The New England Patriots continue to gain momentum on the NFL Week 1 odds ahead of their season-opening game Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and now are pegged as strong 7.5-point favorites at sportsbooks monitored by

The Patriots’ odds have received a big boost since the announcement last week that quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension had been nullified by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman.

With Brady ready to suit up for Thursday night’s Steelers vs. Patriots betting matchup at Gillette Stadium, New England surged from around a 3-point favorite to a 7-point favorite before climbing to their current position.

While enormous media focus has been on Patriots activities far from the gridiron, it’s important not to overlook the defending Super Bowl champions’ outstanding 13-2 straight up (SU) record in their past 15 games, including seven contests in which they surrendered 17 or fewer points.

Their record against the spread is somewhat more checkered, with New England going a middling 3-4 against the spread (ATS) both in their last seven when favored by seven or more points and their last seven overall, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Steelers will be looking to build on a strong 2014 campaign in which they tallied an 11-5 record to return to the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Pittsburgh has been rewarded at the online sportsbooks, where they kick off the year with intriguing 20-1 Super Bowl odds, and 2-1 odds of repeating as AFC North champs.

The squad’s return to the postseason last year was spoiled by a 30-17 loss to the division-rival Baltimore Ravens on Wild Card Weekend. The Ravens currently top the Steelers in divisional betting as 3-2 favorites.

The Steelers ride a four-game SU and ATS regular season winning streak into Week 1, and are 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS in their last three road contests. However, they have struggled to find the win column in recent years against the Patriots, going 3-8 SU and ATS in their last 11 meetings, and 1-3 SU and ATS in their last four visits to Foxborough.

In other NFL Week 1 betting action around the AFC East, the New York Jets play host to the Cleveland Browns as 3-point favorites, while the Miami Dolphins travel to Washington to take on the Redskins as 4-point favorites, and the Buffalo Bills welcome the Indianapolis Colts to town as 2.5-point underdogs.

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