Patriots

Why do Patriots still have (relatively) strong Super Bowl odds? Sportsbooks explain

Why do Patriots still have (relatively) strong Super Bowl odds? Sportsbooks explain

We have a new arena for the Bill Belichick vs. Tom Brady debate: Las Vegas.

With Brady leaving the Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 20 seasons, sportsbooks are wrestling over whether New England is still a contender without the greatest quarterback of all time.

But several betting outlets are surprisingly bullish on the 2020 Patriots while setting their Super Bowl LV odds, for one obvious reason: New England still employs the greatest head coach of all time.

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"If this were any other team, we'd probably just adjust them up to 100-1," Matt Metcalf, the sportsbook director for Las Vegas bookmaker Circa Sports, told ESPN's David Purdum. "But with Belichick, you can't do that."

Instead, the Patriots are listed at 20-1 to win Super Bowl LV at many sportsbooks -- the same odds they had to win Super Bowl LIV entering last season's playoffs, according to Purdum.

Ironically, Brady's Bucs also have 20-1 odds to win Super Bowl LV at Caesar's Sportsbook. But should a talent-deficient Patriots team really be on the same level as a loaded Tampa Bay squad led by a six-time Super Bowl champion?

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Caesars director of trading Jeff Davis also cited Belichick in his rationale.

"It's hard to say," Davis told Purdum, "But is there anyone who's done more with less than Belichick? I'd say, no."

Interestingly, Purdum cites two more reasons why sportsbooks haven't dropped the Patriots' odds more: 1) They still play in the mediocre AFC East; and 2) they still could sign a "high-profile" quarterback like Cam Newton, Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton.

Our Tom E. Curran has reported that second option is unlikely, but even if Belichick rolls into 2020 with Jarrett Stidham, sportsbooks are wary of writing the Patriots off.

Ever Wonder Series: Why does Bill Belichick cut his sleeves?

Ever Wonder Series: Why does Bill Belichick cut his sleeves?

Bill Belichick isn't one to make fashion statements. But he's also a man of reason.

If you've watched any Patriots game in the last 15 years, you've probably wondered why the surly head coach occasionally stalks New England's sideline in a gray hoodie with cut-off sleeves.

When did Belichick start this bizarre tradition? Does he cut the sleeves off himself? And most importantly, what's his reason for doing so?

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Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran has the answers in the first installment of our "Ever Wonder" series.

As Curran tells it, Belichick was seen uncomfortably fiddling with the sleeves on his gray hoodie during the Patriots' Super Bowl XXXIX win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The following fall, he walked into the Patriots' equipment room, grabbed a pair of scissors and started cutting.

When asked why he was ruining a perfectly good sweatshirt, Belichick replied:

"My arms are too short."

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A staffer offered to make the sweatshirt differently, but Belichick insisted it was fine. He'd cut the sleeves off himself, creating his own game-day outfit that was "designed to allow one to work as efficiently as possible toward the singular goal of winning."

The chopped-off sleeves also show zero concern toward fashion, which is probably just the way Belichick likes it. As Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel reported in 2012, Belichick demonstrated his displeasure toward an NFL mandate that required coaches to wear approved Reebok apparel by choosing "the most unstylish outfit" -- a gray hooded sweatshirt -- and chopping the sleeves off.

"It's comfortable," Belichick said at the time. "I carry my stuff in my pouch."

So, Belichick's decision to cut off his sleeves is part pragmatic and part rebellious. But has it worked?

Patriots.com's Mike Dussault and Pats Propaganda's Bob Yoon have charted Belichick's record in every Patriots game by his clothing choice. And the "Hooded One" actually has a better winning percentage (regular and postseason) when he doesn't use scissors.

Record in games coached in cut-off sleeves: 65-24 (73.0 percent)
Record in games coached short- or long-sleeves: 202-68 (74.8 percent)

Most notably, Belichick has lost three Super Bowls while wearing a hoodie with cutoff sleeves (2007, 2011 and 2018), while every Patriots playoff loss from 2005 to 2012 came when he wore a hoodie with cut-off sleeves.

Belichick wore a short-sleeved jacket during the Patriots' Super Bowl LIII win over the Los Angeles Rams, so it sounds like he got the message.

2020 NFL season: Patriots, Bills have almost even odds to win AFC East

2020 NFL season: Patriots, Bills have almost even odds to win AFC East

The 2020 NFL season is still three and a half months away, but for the first time in awhile, there's some real intrigue in the AFC East.

With apologies to the Dolphins and Jets, it's looking like a two-team race. Will the Patriots win an unprecedented 12th straight division title? Or will the Bills finally dethrone New England to win their first AFC East crown in 25 years? 

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The odds have see-sawed in recent weeks. When the schedule was released earlier this months, DraftKings Sportsbook had the Patriots as +125 favorites, with Buffalo close behind at +145, though the Bills are now the betting favorites at +130, with the Patriots at +140.

And now another metric projects the two teams in a near dead heat.

According to ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI), Buffalo is favored to win the division... just barely. FPI gives the Bills have a 41.0 percent to claim the AFC East title, with the Patriots trailing at 40.9 percent.

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How razor-thin is FPI's margin? Both the Patriots and Bills have a 60 percent chance of making the playoffs (in the new expanded playoff field), and both teams are projected with 8.6 wins. 

Despite the projections, the Bills are very confident, with everyone from Jim Kelly to Josh Norman proclaiming the division is Buffalo's for the taking.

Meanwhile, the Bills aren't the only team that's right next to the Patriots in FPI's forecast. There's also the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose quarterback should be slightly familiar to Patriots fans.

FPI gives Tom Brady's new team a slight nod over his old one, as the Bucs have a 63 percent chance to make the postseason. Tampa also has a 3.6 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl — the seventh-best odds in the league — while the Patriots are right behind at 3.0 percent.

According to FPI, the Chiefs have the best odds to win Super Bowl LV at 21 percent, with the Ravens (17 percent), Saints (13 percent), 49ers (12 percent) and Cowboys (5 percent) rounding out the top five.