Patriots’ Win Total Remains Steady
Arguably the biggest news thus far in the NFL offseason was the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady being reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals. Yet the Pats' 2016 win total hasn't changed on betting markets.
Deflategate Not Totally Over Yet
Actually, Brady's "Deflategate" case isn't over yet, so you still might see movement on New England's win totals on betting sites. It's the case that will never end! That's because the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week granted a 14-day extension requested by the NFL Players' Association. It means the NFLPA now has until May 23 to decide whether or not to file written arguments in an appeal to overturn Brady's suspension. It's expected that the NFLPA will do that, asking for an en banc rehearing. That's when the entire 15-judge panel of the court hears the case compared to three judges who ruled in the appeal. That panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the NFL. It would be a pretty big upset for the en banc hearing is granted as it's rare. The NFL had opposed the motion for the extension.
So presuming things stay as they are and Brady's case doesn't make it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (please no!), New England's 2016 win total is 10.5 on betting platforms. That was the same number before Brady's suspension was reversed. But now at betting markets, both the "over" and "under" are priced the same. Previously, the "over" was a favorite.
Brady would miss games Week 1 at Arizona, Week 2 vs. Miami, Week 3 vs. Houston on a Thursday and Week 4 vs. Buffalo. So that's two playoff division winners from 2015 -- Cardinals in NFC West and Texans in AFC South -- and two AFC East rivals. I suppose if the Patriots had to lose two of those games, the best ones would be against Arizona and Houston.
Jimmy Garoppolo will draw the start barring an injury. He was a 2014 second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois who has thrown 31 career passes and none in meaningful minutes. Right now, Garoppolo's backup is Jacoby Brissett. The Patriots surprised many by taking the former North Carolina State star in the third round of last week's NFL Draft. For what it's worth, former Patriots coach Bill Parcells has raved about Brissett. But if Garoppolo somehow gets hurt in training camp and will miss games, the Pats' win total would certainly drop at betting sites.
Breaking Down First Four Games
Betting markets currently list New England as a 5.5-point underdog against Arizona. That line had Arizona at -1 before the Brady suspension. The Cardinals do look like one of the NFC's best teams again. They lost in the conference title game last season just as New England did.
New England is -6.5 on betting sites against Miami and those teams split in 2015. The Dolphins haven't won in Foxboro this decade, however. The Pats are -3 on betting markets against Houston. New England went there and rolled 27-6 in Week 14 last season, but the Texans look much-improved offensively this offseason.
Finally, Bill Belichick & Co. are -3 on betting sites against Buffalo, a team the Patriots are 28-4 against this century and 14-2 vs. at home. And one of those home losses was the season finale in 2014 when the Patriots rested almost all their starters because they had the AFC's top seed wrapped up.
Once Brady returns, the Patriots might be underdogs on betting platforms only twice: Week 7 at Pittsburgh and Week 15 at Denver in an AFC title game rematch -- but no Peyton Manning for the Broncos this time.
Thus if the Patriots manage a .500 record without Brady, they could still be in good shape -- assuming good health, which you can't always do in the NFL -- to top the 10.5-win total on betting sites.