The New England Patriots are often among the NFL teams with the highest projected win totals year in and year out. But in 2020, things are different.
With Tom Brady now on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Patriots will have a new permanent starting quarterback for the first time in 20 years. Matt Cassel, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett filled in as stopgaps when Brady missed time, but that was always temporary. That's not the case anymore.
Now, the Patriots will look to find their next franchise quarterback. Signs point to them giving Jarrett Stidham a chance to start in his second season, but there are also plenty of options available in free agency and on the trade market should they want to add competition for Stidham.
Either way, the position is unsettled. And because of that, oddsmakers are not as high on the Patriots' potential for 2020.
American sportsbook William Hill released their NFL win totals with free agency now (mostly) wrapped up. And the Patriots' number? It's sitting at nine wins, 2.5 games behind the overall win-total leaders (Ravens and Chiefs, 11.5).
We have just released Pro 🏈 win totals for this season.— William Hill US (@WilliamHillUS) March 21, 2020
Kansas City and Baltimore currently have the highest totals with 11.5.
How do you think your teams will do this season?
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Ironically, the Buccaneers have an identical win total right now. But bettors are, unsurprisingly, favoring the over, as Brady has averaged 11.5 wins per season since his first season as the Patriots' primary starter. And that includes the 2008 season in which he made just one start.
As for the Patriots, it looks like bettors are slightly favoring the under at this point in time. This is no surprise given the quarterback uncertainty and the departures the team has seen in free agency (Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton, Ted Karras, etc.)
But sportsbooks aren't going to doubt Bill Belichick either. After all, the Patriots haven't won fewer than 10 games since 2002, and their only losing season under Bill Belichick came in his first year with the team back in 2000. There's still time for the team to improve their roster via later free-agent signings and the draft, so it's too early to write them off entirely.
Still, this is different than what we're used to seeing from the Patriots projected win total at this point in the offseason. And that is largely due to Brady's departure.