NFL betting, odds: Is there a way to find value on the Patriots this season?

When DeAndre Hopkins was released by the Arizona Cardinals, fans from 31 NFL teams took to social media to frame what the future might like with Hopkins paired with their quarterbacks. Hopkins’ portfolio of highlights were plastered all over the internet, along with photoshopped images of the wideout in more jerseys than Ryan Fitzpatrick accumulated over the years. As usual, NFL front offices didn’t share the same fervor as its fans. Hopkins has spent over two weeks on the market, but it appears his search for a new home may be coming to a close. Reports picked up Thursday that Hopkins met with the Patriots, and there is strong mutual interest. Despite Hopkins still being unsigned, it’s the perfect time to look at the betting implications to see if we can get a jump on the market.

Current odds to win at BetMGM

Super Bowl: +5000

AFC: +3000

Division: +750

I have more respect for Bill Belichick than any other coach in NFL history. The Matt Patricia-Joe Judge disaster last season cost him some points, but I’m confident he still has his fastball. However, the AFC has turned into a buzzsaw of superhuman quarterbacks who have had their way with Belichick’s defenses the past few years. Any talk of a Super Bowl or a conference championship is misguided. I love a good long shot, but New England is no more than a reckless risk at 50 to 1. Even the odds at +3000 to win the AFC are probably short, despite holding a meager 3.23% implied probability. At 31 years old, Hopkins will move the needle, but bettors won’t get the cosmic shift that’s required to make the Pats a true threat in the AFC.

Throw New England in the NFC South and we can have a conversation. The problem with betting into these markets is not only that New England is in the AFC, but it’s in one of the conference’s most competitive divisions. It’s very rare that a non-quarterback can raise the level of a roster to the point that justifies betting it to leapfrog three strong teams like the Jets, Dolphins and Bills. The division bet is a hard pass.

Mac Jones could have a bounce-back season for the Patriots. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Mac Jones passing yards: O/U 3249.5 (-110)

Here is where Hopkins’ potential presence in the Patriots’ offense really makes a difference. Adding Hopkins to DeVante Parker and JuJu Smith-Schuster solidifies the wide receiver room and allows Kendrick Bourne to slide into the WR4 role. This is a significant upgrade from the trio of Parker, Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers that Jones worked with in 2022. He is also gets a bonafide play-caller in Bill O’Brien. Jumping on Jones to go over this passing yardage total is a smart move, and one of the best ways to leverage the potential addition of Hopkins. Jones threw for over 3,800 yards his rookie season, and O’Brien shouldn’t have a problem getting him back to his rookie form even with the current weapons.

Mac Jones passing touchdowns: O/U 17.5 (-110)

Here’s more action that isn’t conditional on New England adding Hopkins. Jones threw for 22 touchdowns his rookie season and regressed to 14 last year under the Patricia-Judge offense. The market lays this number close to the average of the two seasons, but here is why I see value. Jones only played in 14 games last season, averaging a TD throw per game. It’s fair to project him at 17 touchdowns for a full season. Is the upgrade in offensive coordinator worth half a touchdown? New England had the worst red-zone offense in the NFL last year, scoring touchdowns on only 42.22% of its opportunities. That number will improve with O’Brien, but possibly adding Hopkins’ reliable hands in the red zone makes this an easy over bet.

Division finishing position

  • 1st: +750

  • 2nd: +500

  • 3rd: +300

  • 4th: -165

Now, we are talking my language. If I am going to tie up money in the futures market, I’d like to get a decent plus-money profit. The AFC East is too big of a mountain to climb, but one step in the right direction can land you +300. Betting the Pats to place third is a nice angle, considering two of the three teams above them (Miami, New York) are high-variance teams with low-floors. There is risk of re-injury with Tua Tagovailoa that could cause Miami’s season to bottom-out. Plus, would anyone be shocked if Aaron Rodgers‘ move to the Big Apple went terribly in Year 1? The biggest concern with the Jets is the offensive line, which heightens the chances of Rodgers going down for an extended time as well. Some shops are offering New England’s alternative win total of over 9.5 wins at +300. I’d much rather bet the possible addition of Hopkins pulls the Patriots out of a potential fourth-place finish.

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