2016 New England Patriots Season Win Total Predictions
I’m glad I wasn’t given the assignment of previewing the New England Patriots‘ season last week. That’s because I didn’t know then what I do now: that future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady will indeed be suspended the first four games of the season for his role in Deflategate. The Patriots have a wins total of 10.5 on NFL lines, a number that somewhat surprisingly hasn’t changed in the wake of that news. Oddsmakers clearly have some faith in backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
Here’s an Look at the 2016 New England Patriots Season Win Total Predictions
Total Win/Loss Odds Overview
Brady has said he is not going to personally try to appeal the U.S. Court of Appeals decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. But Brady has authorized the NFLPA to proceed with the appeal on his behalf. Brady will still miss the first four games of the season, but maybe there’s a chance he gets back his $253,000 he will lose during the suspension, reduce the commissioner’s power in player disciplinary cases, and provide Brady with genuine vindication. In a written statement, the NFLPA left open the possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court but said it would not seek a stay to keep Brady’s suspension on hold.
Brady will miss games at Arizona, vs. Miami, vs. Houston and vs. Buffalo and be back Week 5 in Cleveland. Garoppolo has never started an NFL game and has attempted a total of 31 regular-season passes, all in meaningless action.
Why Betting On The Over?
In a way, perhaps this suspension helps Brady. After all, he turns 39 next month. He played behind an offensive line that struggled mightily to safeguard him last year, and the hits he absorbed seemed to take a toll as the season progressed. Injuries to the playmakers around Brady on the New England offense left him with a shortage of help, and by season’s end the Patriots no longer resembled the dominant team they’d appeared to be earlier.
The Patriots likely will be better along the offensive line this season, if only because it would be difficult for them to be much worse. The return of longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia from his temporary retirement also should help immensely. Even so, the difference in Brady might be telling, come playoff time, from absorbing 12 games worth of hits during the regular season rather than 16.
If the Garoppolo-led Patriots can manage merely to break even with a record of 2-2, before Brady returns, little to nothing will be lost from Brady’s suspension. It’s not like another team is likely going to run away with the AFC East race.
Why Betting On The Under?
Well, we just don’t know if Garoppolo is any good. One closely watched storyline early in Patriots training camp will be how the suspension for Brady affects Bill Belichick’s practice plans at quarterback, and there’s a strong chance it will mostly be the status quo. Belichick annually says training camp is about preparing every player on the roster for the entire regular season, in addition to an eye toward the opening game, which is always a balance. Because of that, it wouldn’t be surprising if Brady continues to receive plenty of No. 1 repetitions early in camp.
Brady can practice with the team in training camp and play throughout the preseason; when teams have to trim rosters to 53 players on Sept. 3, Brady won’t count against the limit, giving the team the ability to keep an extra player who otherwise would have been cut/waived; the suspension begins Sept. 3, and Brady is not allowed at the facility or in contact with the team for the next four weeks.
Garoppolo will be 24 years and 314 days old on opening day, which would make him the youngest Patriots starting QB in a season opener since Drew Bledsoe, who was 24 years and 200 days old in the Patriots’ 1996 season opener at the Dolphins. In the last 30 years, four quarterbacks have made their first start in a season-opening night game. Aaron Rodgers was the most recent when he made his first start on Monday Night Football in the Packers’ 2008 season opener.
The last Patriots QB to start Week 1 other than Tom Brady was Bledsoe in 2001. The Bengals beat the Patriots 23-17. The Patriots also lost in Week 2 to the Jets, a game in which Jets linebacker Mo Lewis injured Bledsoe on a hit near the sideline. Brady then took over and led the Patriots to the Super Bowl that season.
While Brady is under contract until 2019, Garoppolo’s deal is up after 2017. If the former second-round pick performs well, the Patriots can try to lock him up or trade him while his value is at its maximum — perhaps even for a first-round pick.
My Betting Prediction
I believe the Patriots will go 2-2 under Garoppolo and finish with an 11-5 record overall so go over the total on NFL betting lines.