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New England Patriots Continue Separating From Pack in AFC Championship Odds; Are They Worth Betting?

Patriots QB Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick
As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are on the New England sideline, sportsbooks are going to count them among the AFC favorites. Photo by Andrew Choy (flickr) [CC License].
  • 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
Cleveland Browns +700
Los Angeles Chargers +700
Indianapolis Colts +800

*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.

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.

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.

Defensively they addressed their ability to stop the run, adding Mike Pennel and re-signing Danny Shelton.

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 Opponent 2018 Record
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 10 BYE N/A
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.

 

 

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