NFL betting: Major shift in odds after Cam Newton's release

·4-min read

The New England Patriots shocked the football world on Tuesday morning by releasing former NFL MVP Cam Newton. 

Newton was expected by most to begin the season as the Patriots' starting quarterback despite the Patriots taking Mac Jones with their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Couple that fact with Newton's struggles in 2020 and the writing was on the wall for him. However, nobody expected it to happen this quickly and abruptly. 

[Yahoo Sportsbook's Guide to Betting]

Nevertheless, the Patriots will now turn the franchise over to Jones as he becomes the third rookie quarterback expected to start in Week 1 along with Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. 

What kind of impact did the news have on the betting market?

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Impact on Mac Jones

Jones stole the job from Newton during training camp and the preseason. In three preseason appearances, Jones went 36-for-52 with 388 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. ProFootballFocus graded him as the best rookie quarterback in the preseason. In fact, he had the best preseason of any rookie quarterback they've tracked since they started tracking preseason games in 2013.

With Jones being named the starting quarterback and him flashing his abilities in the preseason, oddsmakers have adjusted the betting market significantly. Prior to the release of Newton, Jones was listed at +25000 (250-to-1) to win the NFL MVP award at BetMGM. Currently, Jones sits at +8000 (80-to1). This leaves Jones with the same odds as fellow quarterbacks Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, Jalen Hurts and Trevor Lawrence. 

Only 0.3% of tickets and 0.2% of the betting handle is on Jones to win the MVP, but that should increase with hype beginning to grow around the rookie quarterback. 

While Jones winning the MVP might be a long shot, he's firmly in contention to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. In fact, 17.8% of the betting handle is on Jones to win the award. This is the second most. At BetMGM, Jones is the third biggest liability to win the award behind only Zach Wilson and Najee Harris. Jones' odds have been slashed from +1200 to +500 (12-to-1 to 5-to-1) since the news broke. Only first overall pick Trevor Lawrence has lower odds. 

Jones also saw significant movement in the regular-season stats leaders market. He currently sits at +5000 (50-to-1) to lead the league in passing yards, a sharp change from his previous +20000 odds (200-to-1). The touchdown passes and interceptions thrown markets saw a similar change. Jones went from +20000 (200-to-1) to +4000 (40-to-1) to lead the league in touchdown passes. He went from +8000 (80-to-1) to +2500 (25-to-1) to lead the league in interceptions. 

Impact on Cam Newton

Cam Newton now finds himself without a job. The former league MVP will sit at home and wait for a team to come calling. Outside of Houston, it's hard to envision a scenario where a team would bring in Newton and give him a real chance at starting games. Injuries happen, so the door isn't completely closed on Newton making an impact on the 2021 NFL season. Newton's odds across all markets have come crashing down as a result of his release. 

Newton has gone from +8000 (80-to-1) to +20000 (200-to-1) to win the MVP award this season. Thankfully, not too many people are negatively impacted as only 0.1% of the tickets and 0.03% of the betting handle was on Newton to win the MVP. 

Additionally, Newton has come crashing down in the stat leaders market. He went from +5000 (50-to-1) to +50000 (500-to-1) to lead the league in passing yards. Newton has gone from +4000 (40-to-1) to +20000 (200-to-1) to lead the league in touchdown passes. His odds have shifted from +2500 (25-to-1) to +10000 (100-to-1) to lead the league in interceptions. 

Impact on New England

Jones and Newton are stylistically completely different quarterbacks. Jones is a prototypical pocket passer while Newton makes a lot happen with his legs. 

Damien Harris gets a big boost from this news, as his arrow continues to point up. Newton will no longer vulture rushing yards and touchdowns from his running backs, meaning Harris and New England's other running backs should be involved in a larger percentage of the rushing attack. At BetMGM, Harris' over/under for rushing yards is set at 825.5 yards

Jones is also a more accurate passer than Newton. New England receiving options such as Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor should see a bump in efficiency as well. 

New England currently sits at 30-1 to win the Super Bowl. They are +350 to win the AFC East. The Patriots are 3-point home favorites over the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. 

Stats from PFF.com and Pro-Football-Reference.com

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