The New England Patriots doubters are getting louder by the minute.
It was already crystal clear that oddsmakers weren’t as high on the Patriots as last year based on the origination of the team’s regular-season win total, which opened for betting a few months ago. Most American shops opened the Pats’ total at O/U 8.5, despite the team’s 10-7 record a season ago.
Issues with the Pats’ newly revamped offense surfaced late this week as it’s sounding more and more like the team will place second-year quarterback Mac Jones in an entirely new offense with plays called by somebody who has never worked with quarterbacks at the NFL level — Matt Patricia.
Combine those decisions with a better Buffalo Bills team and improved Miami Dolphins offense inside the AFC East and a conference that appears to be as deep as it’s been in years due to the additions of superstars like Davante Adams, Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson.
But hey, the Patriots signed DeVante Parker!
I reached out to the (anonymous) Las Vegas oddsmaker who provided NESN with tremendous social media fodder back in March when he said the Patriots are the 11th-best AFC team in his power ratings.
He agreed to share his numbers:
1. Bills (96)
2. Chiefs (95.3)
3. Ravens (93.1)
4. Chargers (92.9)
5. Broncos (92.5)
6. Bengals (91.9)
7. Colts (91.6)
8. Titans (90.8)
9. Dolphins (90.6)
10. Raiders (90.5)
11. Patriots (90.4)
To arrive at a neutral-field point spread, subtract the lower from the higher one and that’s your spread. So if the Bills and Patriots played on a neutral field, Buffalo would be a 5.5-point favorite. And since home field advantage ain’t what it used to be, you add around 1.5 to 1.8 points to the home team.
Buffalo (-7) vs. New England in Orchard Park in Week 13 is a very fair forecast at this point in time. Thing is, there’s always the possibility that Las Vegas gets it wrong. If the Patriots overachieve, that line could be Buffalo -5.5. If the Patriots stink, it could be Buffalo -8.5 or higher.
“The one thing we know is that the Patriots’ defense is going to be really solid,” Westgate SuperBook vice president of risk management Ed Salmons told NESN in March. “And they always run the ball well. Add those two things together and they can literally be in every game they play.”
I can’t argue with anything Salmons said, but being in every game and winning games isn’t the same.
And remember, NFL coaching staffs now have an entire year of film and footage on Jones and they’ll obviously adjust their schemes accordingly to try and take away what he does well. It should be a fascinating year of chess between New England’s Mac Jones-led offense against opposing defenses.
No pressure, kid.