The Patriots were an underdog in their first game of the 2022 NFL season and their lackluster performance at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday made it clear why oddsmakers weren’t — and aren’t — very high on New England.
But despite looking like one of the worst teams in football in Week 1, the Patriots will enter their second game of the campaign as a betting favorite. This choice made by the folks in Vegas was perplexing to NBC Sports’ Peter King.
“I think someone’s got to explain to me how the Patriots — no idea what they can do on offense right now — are one-point favorites over the Steelers in Pittsburgh Sunday,” King wrote in his latest Football Morning in America column.
In a vacuum, the Steelers should be favored for this Week 2 showdown at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh is coming off a road victory over the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals and the Patriots lost by two scores to a team that didn’t make the playoffs last season. But if you take in all context, it makes some sense why New England is favored.
For starters, it took one of Joe Burrow’s worst NFL games to date and an utterly bizarre overtime period for the Steelers to upset their division rival. And while it looked like the Patriots were trounced by the Dolphins, that AFC East clash in South Beach really boiled down to a few plays. Other factors prompting New England juice include T.J. Watt’s potentially serious injury and the teams’ head-to-head record. The Steelers are 3-13 against the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era.
Should you definitely lay the points this Sunday when New England and Pittsburgh meet? No. But it’s not a total mystery why Mitchell Trubisky and company are a home underdog.