With the start of the NFL preseason fast approaching, the New England Patriots continue to lead the way on the AFC East odds as heavy -550 favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Patriots dominated the division once again last season, racking up an 11-5 record on their way to a 10th straight divisional title and a third Super Bowl victory in the past five years.
However, New England has had some holes to fill during the offseason. Quarterback Tom Brady lost one of his preferred targets with the retirement of tight end Rob Gronkowski. Offensive tackle Trent Brown left town to join the Oakland Raiders as a free agent, and defensive end Trey Flowers signed with the Detroit Lions.
In addition, concerns linger over the health of running back Sony Michel, who was absent from OTAs after undergoing a procedure on his knee. Depth under center also remains a concern, with journeyman Brian Hoyer currently penciled in as Brady’s backup.
And while the Patriots remain listed as +700 favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions at online betting sites, they cannot underestimate the gains being made by divisional rivals, led by the New York Jets, who trail with +650 odds to win the AFC East.
Winners of five or fewer games in four of the past five seasons, the Jets have taken steps to return to respectability, most notably by signing free agent running back Le’Veon Bell. The addition of Bell bolsters a Jets rushing game that ranked 10th in the AFC last season, and the signing of wide receiver Jamison Crowder provides quarterback Sam Darnold with another legitimate downfield threat, while the arrival of linebacker CJ Mosley provides a boost to the team’s 25th-ranked defense.
However, front office turmoil resulting from the sudden firing of general manager Mike Maccagnan threatens to derail the Jets’ bid to return to playoff contention, leaving them lagging as an afterthought on the Super Bowl odds at a distant +7000.
The Buffalo Bills trail at +1000 on the AFC East odds, while the Miami Dolphins sit as +2500 longshots on those NFL odds to claim their first divisional crown since 2008.
The Bills helped out beleaguered quarterback Josh Allen with the signings of receivers Cole Beasley and John Brown, and veteran rusher Frank Gore, but remain +375 longshots to make the playoffs in the upcoming season.
The Dolphins went into full rebuild mode this offseason, parting ways with Gore, Danny Amendola and Ryan Tannehill, while picking up second-year passer Josh Rosen from Arizona, and sport short +115 odds of winning UNDER 4.5 games on the NFL team win totals.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images