New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones is already a popular man with sports bettors.
Jones is dominating the bet count at one American sportsbook that is taking wagers on which quarterback will start for Bill Belichick in the Patriots’ season opener against the Miami Dolphins.
FanDuel is reporting that 75 percent of its bets in the Pats QB market have been placed on Jones. The former Alabama signal caller is going off at +160 right now, so a $100 wager would win $160 and pay out $260 at the current price.
I find it fascinating that seven of every 10 people are betting Jones to start, while almost everybody I talk to that covers the team believes Cam Newton will have every opportunity to keep his job.
It felt necessary to tag in NESN Patriots beat reporter Doug Kyed for this one.
“I can understand the value, but I’m slightly surprised,” Kyed explained via text. “Jones has been taking some second-team reps in practice, but it’s actually pretty rare for rookie quarterbacks to start Week 1. Since 2016, 23 quarterbacks have been taken in the first round. Only four of them — Carson Wentz, Sam Darnold, Kyler Murray and Joe Burrow — actually started Week 1.
“Jones has looked solid in organized team activities, but not spectacular yet as he gets adjusted to the NFL.”
It’s no surprise that bettors aren’t in any rush to lay -190 ($190 to win $100) on Newton keeping the keys to the offense after that abysmal 2020 campaign. I don’t necessarily blame them, either. New England finished under .500 for the first time in two decades, Newton threw eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and oh yeah, Tom Brady won a Super Bowl with his new team.
If you take the odds out of the equation, Newton makes the most sense. He obviously knows the system better than Jones and he has supposedly earned the right to be the guy when the 2021 season commences. One source close to the Patriots told me that Belichick really applauded the way Newton carried himself despite a depleted playmaker room and patched together offensive line.
Kyed believes Newton will be under center on September 12 against the Fish.
“It basically came out of the horse’s mouth after the 2021 NFL Draft, when head coach Bill Belichick declared Newton as the Patriots’ QB,” Kyed said. “Now, things can change between April and September, but Newton was taking the Patriots’ first-team reps before injuring his hand in practice, and the ailment isn’t expected to linger into training camp.
“As long as Newton is healthy and looks improved from last season, he should be the Week 1 starter, he added. “Jones, Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer would have to significantly outplay Newton in training camp and preseason at this point to pass him.”
There you have it.
Barring a drastic shift to Belichick’s plan, it’ll be Newton’s offense by Week 1 and the near future. Injuries are a part of the game of football, so you can’t exactly rule anything out, but it’s still his show.
So I won’t be betting Mac Jones to start the season opener even with that somewhat enticing plus-price. Belichick has never started a rookie quarterback in New England out of the chute and you shouldn’t expect that to change.
Laying -190 shouldn’t be a regular habit, but it sounds pretty cheap on Cam given the circumstances. Especially considering that other books are as high as -250 or -300.