The New England Patriots have a difficult schedule for the 2020 NFL season, and without Tom Brady, they might not be the same safe bet we're accustomed to seeing.
Betting on the Patriots has made sports fans a lot of money the past two decades, New England has the best against-the-spread (ATS) record of any team since the start of the 2001 season. One constant in that run was quarterback Tom Brady, who led the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles in those 19 years. Brady left New England in free agency and joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leaving Jarrett Stidham as the likely starting quarterback for the Patriots in 2020.
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How do oddsmakers feel about the Patriots' chances of beating the elite teams with Stidham at quarterback? It's a little too early to tell, but they have released point spreads for four of the Patriots' regular-season games.
Here's a recap of those odds, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-7)
The Patriots have won six of their past seven Week 1 games at Gillette Stadium, and this matchup gives New England a chance to avenge its painful Week 17 loss at home to Miami last season. This spread is a little too big, especially if Stidham is making his first career start. Still, the smart money would be taking the Patriots to start the campaign with a victory. New England has a 6-4 against-the-spread (ATS) record and an average margin of victory of 12.8 points in its past 10 matchups versus Miami.
New England Patriots (+3.5) at Seattle Seahawks
Seattle is normally one of the toughest places in the league for opposing teams to win, but it's unknown if fans will even be allowed to attend games by this point in the calendar given the situation surrounding COVID-19. The key for the Patriots will be slowing down Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who's one of the top five players at his position and a legitimate MVP candidate. Wilson is 2-0 with 641 passing yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions in two regular-season meetings versus the Patriots in his career. New England going into Seattle and winning would be awfully impressive.
New England Patriots (+6.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes finally beat the Patriots last season, and it wouldn't be surprising if he makes it two victories in a row with this matchup. Mahomes led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl title last season and his offense is arguably the toughest to defend in the league due to the abundance of speed all over the field. It also helps to have an elite tight end in Travis Kelce. This will be the Patriots' toughest game of the season based on the quality of the opponent and how tough it is for visiting teams to win at Arrowhead Stadium. Picking the Patriots to win this game, or even cover a spread of less than a touchdown, would be a bold move. Do the Patriots have enough offensive firepower to keep up with a Chiefs team that's scored 31 points per game over the past two seasons?
New England Patriots (-2.5) at New York Jets
This line probably will move even more in the Patriots' direction as we get closer to their first "Monday Night Football" matchup of 2020. The Jets have lost eight consecutive games to the Patriots, and starting quarterback Sam Darnold has not fared well against New England's fantastic pass defense with an 0-2 career record. Remember when he saw "ghosts" against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium in 2019?