OK, so maybe NFLbets drank too much of the New England Patriots’ kool-aid over the past 20 years or so, but we just don’t’ get the apparent reticence of bettors to cover Bill Belichick’s boys in the “To Win Super Bowl LVII” proposition bet.
Boston-based sports network NESN today runs a piece revealing one online sportsbook’s handle statistics in the prop and related bets. The top three draws in handle are, somewhat unsurprisingly, the Buffalo Bills (getting a +650 payout), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at +700, perhaps getting a bump from the acquisition of Kyle Rudolph) and Denver Broncos (+1800).
While these three teams combined are drawing nearly half the entire handle at the sportsbook, the Patriots are drawing on the order of 1.1% in the Super Bowl futures bet, despite very attractive odds of 40/1.
Again, NFLbets is not touting the Patriots as Super Bowl champion months before the season starts. And we can certainly understand the NFL bettors’ hesitance in covering *any* team in the AFC from among a stack conference which may include at least Buffalo, Denver, the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and whoever wins the AFC South before even considering New England.
A forty-fold payout represents some fantastic odds worthy of a few dollars’ worth of hedging in the “To Win Super Bowl LVII” prop.
Consider the following stat alone. As detailed previously on NFLbets and reiterated here, the Broncos are drawing a mordant share of the Super Bowl futures handle, apparently based largely on the installation of Russell Wilson at QB. NFLbets surmised that exactly one former franchise QB has been able to even get his team into the Super Bowl in his first year with the new club: Tom Brady, with the Buccaneers.
In fact, only three quarterbacks have ever reached the Super Bowl as any sort of first-year starter: There was Kurt Warner with the St. Louis Rams … and Tom Brady with the New England Patriots.
Further, the Patriots are starting at QB Mac Jones in his sophomore NFL season after his nearly Rookie of the Year-winning 2021 season. Well, get a load of this: eight quarterbacks have been starters for Super Bowl-appearing teams in their second seasons in the league: Warner*, Brady, Wilson, Dan Marino, Ben Roethlisberger, Colin Kaepernick, Carson Wentz* and Joe Burrow; all but Marino, Kaepernick and Burrow won.
(*Warner was technically in his second official season in the NFL in 1999, though he’d never actually appeared in a game prior; Wentz started the season for the Philadelphia Eagles, but Nick Foles QB’ed during the playoffs and Super Bowl.)
NFLbets doesn’t mean to suggest that the quarterback is the be-all and end-all of a football team’s fortunes, but on this basis New England should be drawing odds more comparable to Denver’s 18/1 or Indianapolis’s 22/1 with first-year Colt starter Matt Ryan.
Even more inexplicably, the odds on the Patriots winning the division have somehow lengthened beyond those on the Miami Dolphins: In the “To Win the AFC East” proposition bet, New England has moved from +325 to a nice +475 – and behind the Miami Dolphins, a team that’s 0-1 SU/ATS in postseason play since 2009.
And most insane of all: According to NESN, the Jacksonville Jaguars are drawing seven times the handle of the Patriots in the “To Win the AFC” prop. The Jaguars are drawing odds of 50/1 versus the Pats’ 24/1, but still.
So can 98.9% of NFL bettors be wrong? Well, they *are* betting against Belichick…
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