- The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl in February
- They are favorites to win the 2019 AFC Championship at every sportsbook
- Are the Pats worth betting? Should we wait or look elsewhere for value?
While it wasn’t pretty, the New England Patriots extended their dynasty last year. Needing some help along the way, the Pats went 11-5, finishing second in the AFC. They thrashed the Chargers in the Divisional Playoffs, and outlasted the Chiefs in the AFC title game.
Then they wrote the book on how to slow down Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense, en route to Super Bowl number six.
Now Rob Gronkowski is gone and there is some murkiness at left tackle, but they’re still favorites for the AFC crown.
2019-20 AFC Championship Odds
|Team||AFC Championship Odds at BetOnline|
|New England Patriots||+400|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+500|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+700|
*Odds taken 05/27/19. Click on the link in the table above to see odds for all teams.
While the gap isn’t large between New England and the pack, they sit comfortably on top, and they’ve only gotten shorter during the offseason. At BetOnline, in particular, they’ve gone from +450 at the beginning of May to +400. Their average AFC Championship odds sit at +330.
The books don’t seem bothered by the team without a tight end.
Off-Season Questions that Face the New England Patriots
As mentioned above, left tackle and tight tend are New England’s biggest questions.
Ben Watson is facing a four-game suspension to start the 2019 season. pic.twitter.com/vxaIqtXDnZ
— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) May 26, 2019
Even if the Pats land Kyle Rudolph, he doesn’t replace Gronk. If they don’t get Rudolph, they’re missing Ben Watson for four games, and relying on Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Matt LaCosse and others.
Left tackle is less of a question. It’s assumed that 2018 first round pick Isaiah Wynn will be ready to go. He suffered a torn Achilles last year. He has yet to play a snap in the regular season though, so it’s a spot worth watching.
Via his Instagram, Tom Brady and Patriots top pick WR N’Keal Harry are getting some work in together this offseason. pic.twitter.com/XNt67ZqUG6
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 25, 2019
Overall though, not a lot of questions. Especially after getting Tom Brady another weapon in N’Keal Harry.
Defense Will Dominate for New England Patriots
While there has been some roster shuffling, things are status quo with the Patriots’ defense.
The key pieces return from a unit that should have won a collective Super Bowl MVP, including corner Stephon Gilmore.
— PFF NE Patriots (@PFF_Patriots) May 25, 2019
Defensively they addressed their ability to stop the run, adding Mike Pennel and re-signing Danny Shelton.
Guards and centers should be on the lookout when they face the #Patriots this season.
With the signing of Mike Pennel earlier this offseason, New England now has the top two graded AFC East interior defenders from 2018. pic.twitter.com/NkWQMDAJwO
— PFF NE Patriots (@PFF_Patriots) May 18, 2019
The linebacker group will be better too with a healthy Ja’Whan Bentley spending a full season with Kyle van Noy and Dont’a Hightower.
Could Patriots’ Opening Schedule See Odds Slide?
Chances are New England will stay atop the AFC odds until the games start.
But once we get to real football, is there a chance to grab New England at a better number?
New England Patriots 2019 Schedule
|Week 1||vs Pittsburgh Steelers||9-6-1|
|Week 2||@ Miami Dolphins||7-9|
|Week 3||vs New York Jets||4-12|
|Week 4||@ Buffalo Bills||6-10|
|Week 5||@ Washington Redskins||7-9|
|Week 6||vs New York Giants||5-11|
|Week 7||@ New York Jets||4-12|
|Week 8||vs Cleveland Browns||7-8-1|
|Week 9||@ Baltimore Ravens||10-6|
|Week 11||@ Philadelphia Eagles||9-7|
|Week 12||vs Dallas Cowboys||10-6|
|Week 13||@ Houston Texans||11-5|
|Week 14||vs Kansas City Chiefs||12-4|
|Week 15||@ Cincinnati Bengals||6-10|
|Week 16||vs Buffalo Bills||6-10|
|Week 17||vs Miami Dolphins||7-9|
Chances are we don’t see a slide like that. Looking at their first seven weeks, a 6-1 start is likely. It’s even possible Tom Brady and company are off to a 7-0 start.
If you want the Pats at a lower number, wait until mid-season. The Patriots play the Browns and Ravens ahead of their Week 10 bye, and follow it up with the Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chiefs.
Who to Bet in AFC Championship Race?
If the Patriots aren’t what you’re looking for (or you just want someone else to win the AFC for once), the AFC South may be for you. I’ve been pumping Jacksonville’s tires, but the Jaguars (+1600) , Colts (+800) and Texans (+1200) all have Quarterbacks and defenses.
The Chargers aren’t a long shot, but if the Chiefs lose Tyreek Hill for any amount of time, it could swing the AFC West.
There are definitely options there for those that want nothing to do with New England.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.