Tom Brady will sit out the first four games of the season, but overeager New England Patriots fans won't stop pounding the NFL odds for Super Bowl LI in Houston.
Are people wrong to love the New England Patriots so much? Despite the four-game suspension Tom Brady will serve to kick off the 2016 regular season, the Patriots are Super Bowl LI favorites at just about every location on our NFL odds board. There has been virtually no downward pressure on New England's price since Brady's Deflategate suspension was upheld, either.
That's fine with us here at the ranch. The Patriots were bound to be overpriced anyway; the Super Bowl futures market is loaded with recreational bettors, and recreational bettors love Brady and the Pats. They'll happily (and unknowingly) pay a premium to bet on New England to win Super Bowl LI. But that +600 payout at Bovada is small potatoes, and Brady's suspension figures to cost the Patriots about half a game in the standings. They could miss the playoffs because of it.
No, seriously. Even though we're big fans of Jimmy Garoppolo, chances are he won't deliver Brady-level results in New England's first four games – against Arizona on the road, then Miami, Houston and Buffalo at home. The Pats are looking at a total of 10.5 wins (OVER –155), once again with little movement since the Brady decision. Knock that down to 10, and Patriots fans should be a lot more concerned. The New York Jets went 10-6 last year in the AFC East and didn't make the postseason. Just sayin'.
The second favorites at Bovada are quite popular, too. The Green Bay Packers are +850 at press time, and they should be in pretty good shape this year with the return of WR Jordy Nelson, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL. What's that? I'm being told Nelson has developed tendinitis in his other knee from overcompensating in rehab. He could miss the entire preseason. Sweet fancy Moses.
Reid About It
So how about the team that has finished No. 1 on the Football Outsiders efficiency charts four years running? The Seattle Seahawks are third favorites at +900, and they'll be a tempting NFL pick with the return of several players from injury – although once again, TE Jimmy Graham (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the start of training camp, and his particular injury is even more difficult to return from than a torn ACL. Just ask Victor Cruz.
We've got a couple other options for you to consider. The aforementioned Cardinals (+1200) are knocking on the door of greatness, but they still have a rather low profile playing in the Mountain Time Zone, so their price is reasonable. For an even bigger Super Bowl payout, there's the Kansas City Chiefs at +2800. Laugh all you want at coach Andy Reid; his Chiefs were fifth overall in efficiency last year – one spot ahead of the Patriots. We'll buy that for a dollar.
Free NFL Pick: Kansas City Chiefs (+2800)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada