NFL betting: Is it time to believe in the Patriots?

·5-min read

Last season, the New England Patriots missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Ten weeks into this season, it's looking likely that their subpar season was a blip on the radar. 

Under rookie quarterback Mac Jones, the New England Patriots sit at 6-4. They're in prime position in the AFC wild-card race and still have a fighting chance at winning the AFC East. ESPN's FPI projections give the Patriots a 82.5% chance of making the playoffs. 

New England continues its season on Thursday night, when the Patriots are 6.5-point road favorites against the Atlanta Falcons. Are the Patriots for real? What other opportunities present themselves when it comes to the Patriots in the betting market?

Can the Patriots win the Super Bowl?

After opening the season with a 2-4 record, most would have laughed at the idea of considering the Patriots a dark-horse Super Bowl contender. However, four wins later and here we are.

One bettor at BetMGM recently placed a $10,000 wager on New England to win the Super Bowl. At +2500 odds, the bet pays out a potential $250,000. The current odds on New England to win the Super Bowl sit at +2200.

With the NFL being flipped upside down the last few weeks due to shocking results and upsets, one thing has remained consistent. The Patriots are playing the style of football that led to their recent dynasty. 

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 14: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots celebrates the touchdown by Rhamondre Stevenson #38 against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Mac Jones and the New England Patriots are red-hot and look like a potential darkhorse contender. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Patriots' defense ranks fifth in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. They rank fourth in yards-per-play allowed and second in points allowed per game. In their most recent game, the Patriots held Baker Mayfield to 73 passing yards on 21 attempts. 

Not much is said about New England's offense, but they do rank sixth in points per game. The rushing attack with Damien Harris, Rhomandre Stevenson and Brandon Bolden has gotten going in recent weeks while Mac Jones continues to improve in his rookie season. 

While New England has a very good chance of making the playoffs as a wild card, its chances of winning the division are still alive as well. The Patriots sit just half a game behind the Bills and the two teams face each other twice in December. Bill Belichick has dominated the Bills throughout his career. New England currently sits at +375 to win the AFC East, a price definitely worth considering. 

Will Mac Jones win offensive rookie of the year?

If you believe the odds, Mac Jones is in a two-horse race to win offensive rookie of the year. Jones currently sits at +120 to win the award. Ja'Marr Chase of the Bengals is the slightest of favorites to win the award. Chase currently sits at +110 to win offensive rookie of the year. 

Jones is coming off arguably the best game of his young career in Week 10. Jones was efficient in shredding the Cleveland Browns en route to putting up 45 points. He completed 83% of his passes and threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Going against the first overall pick from 2018 in Baker Mayfield, there was no denying the fact that Jones was the better quarterback on the field on Sunday despite having three years less of experience. 

Chase has had a tremendous year himself, but he's also due for a negative regression. Chase's actual yards dwarf his expected yards and he's scoring touchdowns at an insanely high rate. Touchdowns are random and despite his insane gifted talents, he's not going to over-perform expectations to this rate all season long.

Jones has two other factors going for him. The first is that he's a quarterback. Last year, we saw Justin Herbert beat Justin Jefferson to win offensive rookie of the year despite the fact that Jefferson, much like Chase, was threatening and rewriting rookie record books. If it's close, these awards usually seem to side with the quarterback. 

The final factor is that the Patriots should end the season above the Bengals. These are two teams moving in opposite directions. If the award is close, being a part of a winning team should mean something. 

Is Belichick a coach of the year candidate?

Often times, coach of the year is an award that is built on narrative. Which team over-performed their preseason expectations the most? That coach is probably among the leaders in the coach of the year race. Case in point, Kliff Kingsbury is among the favorites to win the award at +600.

It's also an award that lends itself to ignoring the consistently good coaches. Coaches like Belichick, Andy Reid, Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin have such high reputations that they're often not given enough credit when things go well for their teams. 

After last season, however, where the world decided that Tom Brady had more to do with the Patriots' dynasty than Bill Belichick, this is quite a performance from Belichick to remind the world he's no slouch.

Belichick has played a part in developing a young quarterback on the fly, something he hadn't done for nearly two decades. Belichick's fingerprints are all over the defense which ranks top ten in most categories. 

Nobody expected the Patriots to be this competitive this quickly. Nobody expected Mac Jones to look like the best quarterback in this rookie class. After a down year, Belichick is reminding us he's pretty good at this coaching thing.

Is this narrative enough to get Belichick in consideration for coach of the year? The Patriots' head coach currently has +1000 odds to win the award.

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