The New England Patriots won the AFC East 11 times in a row, and 16 times in the past 17 seasons. Will this be the season that Bill Belichick’s AFC East monopoly finally ends? Will the Buffalo Bills defy the odds and clinch the AFC East title for the first time in 25 years? The Patriots saw their odds to win the AFC East improve from 3/2 to 6/5 after signing Cam Newton, according to an update from the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
The Bills saw their odds slip from 6/5 to 7/5 after the news about Newton’s signing dropped.
Oddsmakers and bettors think Newton will make a bigger difference as Tom Brady’s replacement than will untested backup Jarret Stidham.
Of course, the big risk will be Newton’s health and durability. That, ultimately, is what Bill Belichick is gambling on. If Newton looks like his old self, then the Pats could be a legit threat to the new world order in the AFC.
2020 AFC EAST ODDS
New England Patriots 6/5
Buffalo Bills 7/5
New York Jets 8/1
Miami Dolphins 8/1
The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens are the top favorites to win the 2021 Super Bowl. The Patriots saw their Super Bowl odds move up a tick to 25/1.
Bills Mafia vs Evil Empire
Last season, the surprising Bills posted a 10-6 record and earned a wild-card spot. The Bills lost a heartbreaker, 22-19, to the Houston Texans in overtime in the AFC wild-card game. The Bills blew a double-digit lead in the second half, and the Texans stormed back to win.
The Patriots went 12-4 in Brady’s last season under center. The Pats were upset 20-13 by the Tennessee Titans in the AFC wild-card game after Derrick Henry ran all over Foxboro.
Even with Brady in Tampa Bay with the Bucs, the Patriots are still a dangerous team. Depending on who you talk to in New England, some fans thought the 40-plus Brady was doing more damage to the team than good.
If Newton can remain healthy and play all 16 games, the Pats will be a bona fide contender. If we see the same Newton that we saw sporadically over the last two seasons — with a nagging shoulder and a foot injury — then Belichick’s toss of the dice will be a losing proposition and he’ll crap out.
The Bills exceeded expectations in 2019. They hoped they could finish above .500 while still in rebuilding mode. At best, the Bills Mafia figured a trip to the playoffs was still a year off.
Without Brady in New England, the Bills emerged as the front runners in the AFC East. Oddsmakers quickly adjusted the lines for the AFC East crown after Brady’s departure in free agency. In late March, the Bills were 6/5 odds (+120) to win the AFC East and slightly ahead of the Patriots at 3/2 odds (+150).
Right now, you can get the Bills at 7/5 odds, or +140, according to the Westgate SuperBook.
Following an update from Westgate, the Bills are 30/1 odds to win the 2021 Super Bowl.
LOLJets and the Fish
The New York Jets should be insulted by the oddsmakers’ assessment of the team’s chances this season. Both the Jets and the Miami Dolphins — one of the worst teams in the NFL last season — are listed at 8/1 odds to win the AFC East.
Sure, the Jets are a total long shot to surge ahead of both the Patriots and Bills, but they’re a much better squad than their reputation suggests. The Jets started last season 0-4 and went 1-7 in the first half of the season. Once they got Sam Darnold back in the lineup, the Jets went 6-2 in the second half of the season with one of their losses coming against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in Baltimore.
The Jets are a team in flux right now. Safety Jamal Adams, easily their top defender, is demanding a trade after contract negotiations stalled during the pandemic.
The Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa with their top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Despite the multiple injuries Tagovailoa incurred at Bama, the Dolphins went “all-in on Tua” as their quarterback of the future.
Just in case you’re a sadist, the Jets are 100/1 odds to win the 2021 Super Bowl. The Dolphins are no better at 100/1 odds. Only the Cincinnati Bengals (200/1), Washington Redskins (300/1), and the Jacksonville Jaguars (500/1) have higher odds.
If you want to bet the Jets or Dolphins to win the next Super Bowl, please give me a call because I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell you.