NFL odds: Patriots remain betting favorites to sign Tom Brady in latest lines

NFL odds: Patriots remain betting favorites to sign Tom Brady in latest lines

Rumors and speculation are flying with NFL free agency just a few weeks away, and the one player everyone is focusing on is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. 

Brady's contract expires next month, giving him the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. The 42-year-old quarterback has spent his entire 20-year career in New England with unprecedented success, including a record six Super Bowl titles and multiple league MVP awards.

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It's not often a quarterback of Brady's stature and talent -- yes, he's still a really good player -- hits the open market. A couple teams that need (or could need) a new quarterback include the Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers, among others. All of these teams could take the next step as a franchise with a quarterback like Brady leading the offense. 

While it's still too early to definitively know where Brady will be playing in Week 1 of the 2020 season, oddsmakers have weighed in at various sportsbooks with betting lines that are always changing based on the latest reports and information.

Speaking of reports, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington said Thursday that Brady is “looking forward to” free agency. Darlington also added that he’d be “stunned” if Brady stayed in New England.

Here's a look at DraftKings Sportsbook's current Brady odds. The Patriots remain the favorites, but not by the same margin they were a few weeks ago.

Brady isn't the only important free agent the Patriots must consider re-signing. A couple key veterans on defense, including safety Devin McCourty and linebacker Jamie Collins, also need new contracts. It's safe to say the Patriots will have plenty to do over the next month as they figure out what their roster will look like next season and well into the future.

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You might be surprised at Patriots' latest odds to win AFC in 2020 NFL season

You might be surprised at Patriots' latest odds to win AFC in 2020 NFL season

Many experts are not very optimistic about the New England Patriots dynasty continuing after the departure of Tom Brady in NFL free agency, but oddsmakers are giving them a fighting chance to compete in the AFC.

Few people would question that the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens are the two-best teams in the AFC, but you might be surprised to learn the Patriots have the third-best odds to win the conference next season.

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Here are the latest AFC odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: +300
2. Baltimore Ravens: +375
3. New England Patriots: +800
4. Pittsburgh Steelers: +1100
5. Buffalo Bills: +1300
6. Indianapolis Colts:+1300
7. Tennessee Titans: +1400
8. Cleveland Browns: +1500
9. Denver Broncos: +1800
10. Houston Texans: +2000

The Patriots are the third-best team in the AFC? It actually makes sense. Let's look at some of the other teams in the conference. 

The Indianapolis Colts' most notable move this offseason was replacing Jacoby Brissett with Philip Rivers at quarterback. This is not much of an upgrade, and Rivers has a long history of underperforming in the playoffs. The Houston Texans' odds have plummeted after the DeAndre Hopkins trade, a move in which the AFC South winners pretty much gave away arguably the league's best wide receiver for an underwhelming return.

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The Buffalo Bills also are viewed as a legit contender by oddsmakers, but their best offseason move was acquiring Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. He's a good player, but hardly a gamechanger in the conference title race. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be better if veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, but he's played only one full 16-game season in the last five years, and his offense has taken a hit with the departures of Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell and various tight ends in recent offseasons.

The Patriots, despite losing Brady and several veteran defensive players in free agency, still have a ton of talent on their roster, especially in the secondary. And we know head coach Bill Belichick will get his players prepared and well-conditioned as only he can. In fact, Belichick's presence might be the primary reason why oddsmakers remain confident in the Patriots' ability to win games without Brady.

In reality, a lot of the Patriots' success in 2020 likely will depend on Jarrett Stidham. The second-year quarterback is the leading candidate on the current roster to replace Brady, and even though he didn't get many regular season reps in 2019, the former Auburn star did show flashes of his impressive talent in last year's training camp, preseason and in-season practices. Stidham's teammates also have been full of praise for his talents in recent weeks.

The Patriots probably won't get much love when it comes time to make 2020 season predictions, but as long as Belichick and other leaders such as Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty and others remain, you still have to take them seriously as a threat in the AFC.

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Patriots staffer picks great time to dig Pete Carroll over Super Bowl 49

Patriots staffer picks great time to dig Pete Carroll over Super Bowl 49

The sports world going dark amid the coronavirus pandemic means we're relying on classic games to fill the void.

That's good news if you're someone like New England Patriots running back James White -- and bad news if you're Pete Carroll.

ESPN re-aired the 2006 Rose Bowl on Thursday night, an absolute thriller between USC (then coached by Carroll) and Texas.

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On fourth-and-2 late in the game with USC leading, Carroll decided to go for it by calling a running play for Trojans bruiser LenDale White.

Bad move.

Texas stuffed White and gained possession after Carroll's bold call, allowing Vince Young to lead the Longhorns to a 41-38 victory and the BCS National Championship.

If you're thinking the ghost of Carroll's decision may have been on his mind during Super Bowl XLIX, a Patriots staffer apparently had the same thought.

That's cold -- and also an astute observation.

With his Seahawks on the 1-yard line trailing the Patriots by four with 26 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIX, Carroll called for a pass play rather than handing the ball off to Seattle's big back, Marshawn Lynch.

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Patriots fans know what happened next: Malcolm Butler jumped a slant route to intercept Russell Wilson and seal New England's improbable 28-24 victory.

Did the 2006 Rose Bowl convince Carroll not to call a run play? We're not inside Carroll's head, but the Patriots sure seem to feel that way.

We don't envy Carroll the next time he's in a similar situation.