How Tom Brady’s Suspension Has Affected The NFL Odds
America’s Golden boy Tom Brady and his balls is the subject of discussion once again in this offseason. After his attorneys helped him talk his way out of a proposed four-game suspension for his implicit role in the much-discussed Deflategate Scandal, Brady finds himself battling the U.S. Court of Appeals after they reinstated the four-game suspension. If the mercurial New England Patriots starting quarterback fails to successfully appeal the charges, he will miss the first four games of the 2016 season.
Upon the release of the news regarding the reinstatement of Brady’s suspension, the NFL lines went into a frenzy, with most sportsbooks (online and in Nevada) adjusting their lines for the first four weeks of the season and the Super Bowl while others decided to completely pull off the odds from their boards. Is the NFL lines public overreacting to the news about Brady’s suspension or is there some truth to warrant the line adjustments?
Tom Brady’s Suspension and The Effect on the NFL Odds
Obviously, Brady is easily the most important player in New England’s squad, so it would be foolish to assume that his absence won’t affect the Patriots. This is a guy that can sole-handedly win a game on any given Sunday, so a suspension to him could have dire ramifications for the Pats, not just in the first four games but the Super Bowl 51 run as well.
In Brady’s absence, New England would have to start third-year backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo for the four games. As per the early 2016 NFL lines released by are CG Technology, here are the four games and their respective point spreads:
• Week 1: at Arizona Cardinals (Pick-em)
• Week 2: vs. Miami Dolphins (-9.5)
• Week 3: vs. Houston Texans (-8)
• Week 4: vs. Buffalo Bills (-7)
The most noteworthy of these four games is of course the season-opener against veteran QB Carson Palmer and his balanced Cardinals that can attack just efficiently as they can defend the pigskin. Making matters worse, the Cardinals have been perennial strong starters in the NFL over the past couple of seasons while the Patriots are generally slow starters. If Brady is confirmed out, you can expect the lines to move from pick-em to possibly favoring Arizona by 5-to-7 points, with Arizona getting a solid opportunity to claim the win here.
The games against Miami, Houston and Buffalo are winnable, even with Garoppolo leading the team, mainly because the games will be played in New England. Still, you can expect the lines to move down a little bit if Brady is absent.
Will Things Go Back To The Same Once Brady is Back
Outside the four games, Brady’s absence is likely to affect New England’s season totals (which were set at 10.5) and Super Bowl LI futures. The idea here is that the Patriots (if they don’t do well in their first games of the season) could miss out on home field advantage in the playoffs, which could be hugely crucial down the stretch of the postseason games, as we saw last year in the case of the New England at Denver AFC Championship game. It is based on this reason that most books have moved New England from 6-1 to 7-1 NFL odds to win the 2017 Super Bowl.
Rejoinder on Brady’s Suspension and Its Effect.
From a legal standpoint, it is still possible that the NFL and NFLPA could negotiate a settlement that would see Brady miss fewer games or get a green light to play all games, as was done in September 2015. Don’t, however, hold your breath for that, as it could entirely play out in the league’s favor, with Brady missing all the games. If you are a New England fan, you are better off hoping for a good resolve on the suspension while preparing for a scenario where he’ll not be available, hence influencing the odds, as has been briefly explained in this write-up.