The New England Patriots have a regular-season win total of 8.5 at every American sportsbook.
That number tells you the books are taking balanced action on the Patriots finishing as a fringe playoff team in a much-improved AFC. It’s also a notably lower total than last season (O/U 9.5) when they finished 10-7 and made the postseason with rookie quarterback Mac Jones at the wheel.
Bill Belichick’s bunch could overachieve and win 11 games, but there’s always the possibility for the low end, too. Besides, win totals are more about drawing two-way bets than predicting final outcomes. Every year, several NFL teams go “Over” or “Under” their respective win totals by multiple games.
My question to you is simple: Would you rather bet New England to finish first or last in the AFC East? DraftKings Sportsbook is currently dealing a market with all four potential finishing positions.
Patriots AFC East odds at DraftKings:
Third +160 ($100 wins $160)
First +550 ($100 wins $550)
A first-place finish has the longest odds (+550) and that makes total sense. Jones has a whole lot to prove in his second season under center and he’ll have to elevate an average receiving room with DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers. It’s also sounding more and more like defensive guru Matt Patricia is the front-runner to call offensive plays despite no experience working with quarterbacks.
What could possibly go wrong?
Barring an injury to star quarterback Josh Allen, I’m bullish on the Buffalo Bills winning 12 or 13 games and winning their third-straight division title. I would be stunned if the Bills weren’t the cream of the AFC East crop with one of the best players in football leading the charge.
And since I’m clearly arguing for a last-place finish, let’s pull up the Patriots’ 2022 schedule.
It’s an absolute nightmare from Thanksgiving to the finish line. A Week 12 road showdown with the Minnesota Vikings on turkey day won’t be easy and things only get tougher from there. New England wraps up its campaign at home against Buffalo, at Arizona, at Las Vegas, then Cincinnati and Miami roll into Foxboro before a brutal season finale in Buffalo. Sheesh.
There’s a chance the Patriots go 2-5 down the home stretch, which obviously would remove any possibility of an 18th division title with Belichick at the helm.
I hate to admit it, but New England has a lower floor than a higher ceiling.