With Cam Newton likely to return this Sunday, in time for New England’s date with Denver, the Patriots are trading as double-digit faves. Can the Patriots cover the hefty point spread?
Denver Broncos (1-3-0) vs. New England Patriots (2-2-0)
Sunday, October 18, 1:00 PM ET – Gillette Stadium
NFL Lines and Odds for Broncos vs. Patriots
Bookmakers held off posting NFL lines and odds for the Broncos vs. Patriots for the better part of the week, on account of all the uncertainty hanging over both camps. For the Patriots, it was about waiting for an official confirmation that Cam Newton, who tested positive for coronavirus almost a fortnight ago, was cleared to play this Sunday. For the Broncos, Drew Lock’s status was a question mark.
Had this game taken place last Sunday or Monday, Drew Lock would have been unlikely to start. Now, with the game rescheduled for the umpteenth time, it looks like Lock may indeed be the starter for the Broncos, although Vic Fangio has yet to officially confirm that titbit.
In any event, the NFL odds are finally starting to trickle in, and predictably, the Patriots emerge as the hefty home faves across the best sports betting platforms. As it is, most hang the Patriots in double-digit superiority – as the 10-point faves. A few sportsbooks like Heritage are hanging this game on -9.5 points.
The total, on the other hand, opened at 46.5 points, but since the betting started to come down the wire, the total line dropped to anywhere between 45.5 and 44.5 points.
New England Patriots Look To Bounce Back
The last time the New England Patriots played was in a week 4 loss to Kansas City Chiefs, without their starting quarterback, Cam Newton, who’d tested positive for coronavirus prior to the trip to Arrowhead Stadium.
Newton’s diagnosis forced the starter into isolation and prompted the league to delay the game from Sunday to Monday, as they conducted further tests on the roster. When no further positive tests were discovered the league gave the greenlight and the game went ahead on Monday.
This meant that the Patriots had to turn to backup Brian Hoyer for one of the biggest games of their season. Hoyer, who was making his first NFL start with the Patriots, didn’t measure up and it wasn’t long before Belichick yanked him out of the game, in favor of third-tier backup Jarett Stidham.
Long story short, it was a debacle the Patriots would rather forget, as they went on to lose 26-10 at Arrowhead Stadium and slipped to 2-2-0 SU on the season. Arguably, the worst news came after the game when it was discovered that Stephen Gilmore had tested positive for Covid-19.
In an abundance of caution and in the interest of fair play, the league postponed the week 5 clash between the Broncos and Patriots to week 6.
For the Patriots, Newton’s return to practice this week is an encouraging sign, because it’s evident that without Newton, the Patriots haven’t a prayer in 2020. Hoyer and Stidham have proven both to be unreliable, if not detrimental.
Both Hoyer and Stidham combined for three interceptions in the loss to the Chiefs and the offense had no chemistry with either quarterback. Julian Edelman had his worst game of the season, which is almost unheard of for the stalwart Patriots wide receiver.
Denver Broncos Hoping For Lock
All the delays to this game may serve indirectly as an advantage for the Broncos, who could see the return of Drew Lock on Sunday. The starter suffered an injury in the second week of the season and has been side-lined ever since. However, with the extra time he appears to be slated for a return.
To be fair, the Broncos have a backup option in Brett Rypien if Lock doesn’t start on Sunday. Rypien stepped in for an injured Drew Lock in week 4 against the New York Jets, and he led the Broncos to their first and only win of the season. Most impressively, the undrafted quarterback pulled off the feat in primetime Thursday Night Football.
Of course, the value of Denver’s win is negotiable considering the Jets are 0-5-0 SU and the laughingstock of the NFL. It’s one thing to beat the Jets and another to take on the New England Patriots. And yet, the Broncos held the Steelers to a 26-21 loss in week 2 and the Titans to a 16-14 loss in week 1.
In other news, RB Philip Lindsay may also return in week 6 against the Broncos, which is another bright spot to consider in the betting on this game on the best sportsbook websites. Lindsay has been out since week 1 with a turf toe and his absence has been sorely felt.
However, the prospect of Lock’s return (and possibly even Lindsay’s return) isn’t having much of an impact on the bottom-line. NFL odds rolled out for this game make that clear, namely in point spread betting markets where the Broncos are catching 10 points. Clearly, bookmakers aren’t holding out much hope for Denver’s chances in this game. That’s telling.
NFL Betting Verdict:
This game is firmly cornered with the Patriots on the NFL odds board, and with Newton likely to start, it’s widely expected that the Patriots will win big. Not unlike the Titans did over the Bills upon their return from a covid-induced hiatus. But is that the right assessment? Do the bookies have it right?
The Patriots are merely 2-2-0 ATS this season with a 1.2 winning margin on average and a +1.4 differential versus the spread. The Broncos are 3-1-0 ATS with a 4.0 losing margin and a +0.1 differential versus the spread.
The reality is that Newton has only had three games with the Patriots this season, not to mention little practice ahead of the start of the season. Granted, Newton looked good in the three games he’s played, but it’s yet uncertain what the covid-related interruption will do to his chemistry and rhythm with the offense. Moreover, he did have the virus, even though his symptoms reportedly were mild.
Arguably, the Patriots are likely to win, but the point spread does feel a little bit too generous. As such, shading the Broncos as the +10 road underdogs is tempting for NFL picks.