New England backers are enthusiastic about this year’s group, and the Patriots win total is getting bet up with online sportsbooks. The roster has certainly stabilized in 2021, but is it too soon to start expecting double-digit wins?
After throwing just eight TDs to 10 interceptions last year, Cam Newton was re-signed with a vote of confidence from Bill Belichick
Patriots Begin Year 2 of Post-Brady Era
Love them or hate them, the New England Patriots were one of the most consistent teams during the Brady-Belichick era. Always favored to win the East, and often coming off a successful playoff run. They didn’t draft a lot of big name, early-round picks but were instead known for value. Linemen and linebackers that would adapt to the Patriot way and learn from some of the best: Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia, Dean Pees, Romeo Crennel.
For bettors, the questions ranged from, “How do Super Bowl champs do against Vegas win totals” to, “Can ANYONE in this division actually pull off an upset?”
This year, the Patriots (7-9) are coming off their worst season since 2000.
There are no statistical models for NFL teams that accomplished what New England did from 2001-19, and are now coming off a sub-500 year. What we can do, though, is look at the futures pricing offered by sportsbooks and make a decision. Is this the year the Pats bounce back, or is last year’s 7-9 record just the beginning of a fallout that will take several seasons to recover from?
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New England Patriots Odds
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2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 9.5 UN -120
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 9 OV -145
2020 Record: 7-9
Average Wins 2018-20: 10
Odds to win the Division: +260 (2nd place)
Net Strength of Schedule: 16th easiest
Betting Advice on the Patriots Win Total
If you look back over the past two decades, New England’s season win total followed a very similar path each and every year. See if this sounds familiar.
- Opens at double-digits
- Gets bet up throughout the summer
- Close at an average of 11, juiced to the high-side
- Pats would then trash the competition, clearing the total by Week 15
From 2010-19, betting New England’s season win total to go OVER produced a 8-0-2 record.
Last year, the Patriots win total opened at 9 and bettors were decidedly cautious. Cam Newton was signed to a one-year deal in June but after missing most of 2019 with a foot injury, no one knew just how mobile he’d be. An abbreviated offseason wouldn’t help, and when you took into account his lack of playmakers, well, the cracks were showing.
The Patriots win total closed at 9 UNDER -140 and like clockwork, the winning tickets were secured by Week 15, only this time it was a big hit for “Under” bettors.
NFL consensus data shows that most bettors have shrugged last year off. The Patriots win total was recently bet up from 9 to 9.5 wins. Odds for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl were paying 30 to 1 just six weeks ago, and they are now only +2200.
New England was 3-3 SU vs. the division last year, ending a four-year run of going 5-1 SU. The Pats posted a winning record against the AFC East every single year since 2000. Betting the Patriots win total to go OVER in 2021 clearly hinges on success vs. the Dolphins and Jets, and New England opens and closes their schedule against Miami.
In-between, they get a lot of their tougher matchups at home. Teams like the Saints, Bucs, Cowboys, Browns, Titans and Bills. Home field advantage is not quite what it used to be, however. Home losses last year were against the Broncos, Niners and Bills. Combined W/L of 24-24 (.500), heavily skewed by Buffalo’s 13-3 SU record.
Pardon me if I don’t share the same optimism as bettors that are moving the Patriots win total up to a juicy 9.5 wins by Week 1.
New England Patriots Trends
As of this writing, the Week 1 line for Miami at New England favors the Pats -2.5 points with a total of 45.5 points.
- In the past 10 years, Week 1 teams off a 7-9 season have a 15-26-1 ATS (37%) record in Week 1.
- These same teams possess a record of 24-16-2 OVER (60%) in the opening week and that includes a 11-3 OVER (79%) record in Week 1 the past three seasons.
New England’s defense allowed 5.8 yards per play (YPPL) in 2020, which was their most generous mark since 2011.
- In the first half of the season, conference home faves that allowed more than 5.4 YPPL last year are 95-140 ATS (40%).
That trend suggests fading the Patriots this year in Week 1 (Dolphins) and Week 7 (Jets).
New England will lose its share of games this year and when they do, watch for matchups against winning teams.
- If the Patriots are favored by a TD or less in this scenario they are 17-5 ATS (77%) and the UNDER is 15-7 (68%).
Note that the UNDER in this exact setup (above) is on a 11-1 (92%) run since 2013.
In Week 11, the Patriots are in Atlanta for a Thursday nighter against the Falcons. We know Atlanta will bring everything they’ve got to that game, and next up for the Pats is a home date vs. the Titans. That’s a playoff revenge game for the Pats, who have lost twice vs. Tennessee since 2018.
- Cam Newton is 0-3 SU/ATS his past three games after a Thursday game, scoring 3-19-12 points. All three games stayed UNDER.
He hasn’t been able to get his offense going with the extra prep time and against the Titans, who have a bye week on-deck, New England could be outmatched here.
Patriots Bottom Line
The Patriots added WR Nelson Agholor as a downfield threat for Cam Newton. Kendrick Bourne was also signed to a three-year deal and should see an uptick from his numbers with San Francisco. Bourne had 11 touchdowns with the Niners (2017-20), averaging 2.4 catches for 30.5 yards, but his competition here is Jakobi Myers and N’Keal Harry. Given Bourne’s versatility and the likelihood of O-Co McDaniels getting his tight ends more involved, he should see an increase in snap counts. TEs Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith were huge acquisitions.
First round draft pick Mac Jones (Alabama) is considered by many as the future face of the franchise, but whether or not Jones sees the field this year depends on Newton. A classic pocket passer from Nick Saban’s ultra successful program, expectations still need to be tempered.
Recent first round picks for New England include:
- WR Harry, 2019 (chemistry nightmare)
- LT Isaiah Wynn, 2018 (missed 14 of 32 games since being drafted)
- RB Sony Michel, 2018 (shows flashes, but is often injured as well)
To be fair, all three could benefit from stability at QB this season, and that brings us back to the question of Newton. In a recent interview with ESPN, Newton admitted he needs to be better this year and after all that time with Belichick, how could any professional QB not improve on his approach?
There are fewer question marks about Newton’s health this year, and a better supporting cast. Going 8-8 doesn’t sound like too lofty a goal for this franchise, but it would be a step up from last year and keep in mind, the average number of wins since 2010 for any team that was 7-9 last year is 7.5. Nine feels like the real-life target for a Patriots win total, but anymore than that is hard to envision.