The New England Patriots are 2-2 through the first four weeks, and the defending champions’ slow start has oddsmakers and bettors scrambling at Las Vegas sportsbooks.
Prior to the season kicking off, the Westgate SuperBook had the Pats at 11-4, or +275, to win Super Bowl LII. The line equates to oddsmakers giving New England a nearly 27 percent chance of winning their third Lombardi Trophy since 2014.
After opening with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that remains undefeated at 4-0, and the Patriots’ second loss last weekend at home against the Carolina Panthers (3-1), oddsmakers are lengthening New England’s title hopes. The SuperBook presently has coach Bill Belichick’s squad at 5-1, or +500. That represents less than a 17 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl.
Regardless of the shaky start, the Patriots still have the second-shortest odds of the NFL’s 32 teams. The only team with better Super Bowl odds? The 3-1 Pittsburgh Steelers at odds of 9-2.
Talking with ESPN’s Chalk, the gambling division of the sports network, William Hill US Director of Trading Nick Bogdanovich says he felt early lines on the Patriots were too ambitious. “It’s just too early in the year. You don’t know what you got. New personnel, 40-year-old quarterback, long season.”
After the Steelers and Patriots, the always-popular Green Bay Packers are at 6-1, followed by the Atlanta Falcons at 8-1.
Chiefs Get Little Respect
Only one team remains undefeated in the NFL, and that’s the Kansas City Chiefs. A perfect 4-0 with wins over the Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles (3-1), Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) and Washington Redskins (2-2), bettors still aren’t lining up to take odds on the Chiefs at rates some might expect.
The SuperBook has Kansas City at 9-1, or a 10 percent chance of winning the big game. While that’s still fairly long for the last remaining undefeated team with one-quarter of the season complete, the odds are greatly shortened from July when Westgate had the Chiefs at 30-1.
Aside from the Steelers, Packers, and Falcons, there’s less enthusiasm surrounding other 3-1 teams, specifically the Denver Broncos (14-1), Eagles (20-1), Detroit Lions (25-1), Panthers (30-1), Los Angeles Rams (50-1), and Buffalo Bills (80-1).
Though the Bills began their season against the measly New York Jets, their other two wins came at home against Denver and at Atlanta.
Browns Making History
The Cleveland Browns are setting records, just not the kind a franchise hopes for. The Browns have been the most consistent team in professional football over the last couple of years, as the franchise is robustly dependable when it comes to losing.
Dating back to 2015, the Browns are 2-29 in regular season play, which ties the worst record for any 31-game streak in NFL history. Cleveland will try to avoid breaking the low mark on Sunday when they host the 2-2 Jets. The Browns are surprisingly favored by a point.
As for the chances of a shocking turnaround and Cleveland winning the Super Bowl? The SuperBook gives it odds of 2000-1. The second-worst title line is 500-1 (Chargers, Bears, Jets, 49ers).