Patriots

NFL odds: Updated spread, betting total for Patriots vs. Steelers Week 1 game

NFL odds: Updated spread, betting total for Patriots vs. Steelers Week 1 game

New England Patriots training camp starts next week at Gillette Stadium, but the defending Super Bowl champs already are favorites to win their Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here's a look at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas' latest spreads and totals for every Week 1 game. The Patriots are 6-point favorites over the Steelers, and the game's total is 51.5 points.

The Patriots have won five of their last six games against the Steelers, including the 2016 AFC Championship Game, and their average margin of victory in those matchups is 12.8 points. Pittsburgh did beat New England at home last season, but the Steelers haven't beaten the Patriots in Foxboro since the 2008 season when Matt Cassel was starting at quarterback in place of an injured Tom Brady. The Steelers have never beaten Tom Brady in Gillette Stadium. 

Vegas clearly isn't high on the Steelers' chances of ending that trend in Week 1, and it's hard to blame the oddsmakers. Pittsburgh lost wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le'Veon Bell, arguably the two best players at their respective positions, in the offseason. Pittsburgh's once-feared defense also didn't look great for much of last season as the Steelers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

The Patriots lost legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement and a few other notable players in free agency, but Brady is still the quarterback, Bill Belichick is still the head coach and the team's offense was bolstered in the draft with the selections of Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry and Alabama running back Damien Harris.

It's hard to envision the Patriots losing their season opener versus the Steelers, especially when the crowd is fired up after the pre-game ceremony where the Super Bowl LIII banner will be unveiled.

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Bill Belichick talks relationship with media, when reporters 'cross the line'

Bill Belichick talks relationship with media, when reporters 'cross the line'

It's hard enough to get Bill Belichick to talk to the media, much less talk about them.

But the New England Patriots head coach pulled back the curtain Wednesday for a special occasion.

Belichick joined Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" for a rare "coach's roundtable" as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon.

At one point, each coach was asked how they approach the media. As expected, Belichick gave the most brief answer, but his response was still interesting.

"Things are a lot different than they were at a different point in time. It is what it is," Belichick said, via WEEI.com. " ... Everybody is trying to do the best they can. I think there are times when -- I think when it gets personal, I think that is crossing the line.

"You can think whatever you want about my coaching — good, bad, I have heard all of it. That is your opinion and I have no problem with that. I think when it gets personal with players and other people within the organization, I don’t think that is where it belongs, but I don’t have any control over that. Whatever it is, it is. I just try and do the best I can for our football team."

Belichick's answer checks out, as trying to get him to talk in specifics about his players -- especially when injuries are involved -- is like pulling teeth. Just look at his comments from earlier this week about reinstated wide receiver Josh Gordon, which included a pair of snarky remarks and a loud snort.

The Patriots coach wasn't alone in his opinion, though. Stevens, who's as polite as they come while dealing with reporters, admitted he gets irked when he feels his players are being unfairly criticized in the media.

Belichick certainly sets the bar in Boston when it comes to keeping the media at arm's length. But at least he's willing to admit where he draws his battle lines.

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Breakfast Pod: Could this really be Tom Brady's last season in New England?

Breakfast Pod: Could this really be Tom Brady's last season in New England?

Tom Brady's future, Dave Dombrowski's future, and the Patriots immediate future after tonight's third preseason game. We discuss them all here.

1:06 - DJ Bean, Michael Holley and Abby Chin get into a heated debate about Dave Dombrowski's job security after this season.

7:43 - Ted Johnson and Phil Perry stop by Early Edition to discuss Adam Schefter acknowledging the possibility that this season could be Tom Brady's last in New England.  

12:58 - Ben Volin and Phil Perry discuss everything we will be talking about after tonight's Patriots preseason game.

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