It’s been a tough few years for the Patriots as they reshape the franchise following Tom Brady’s departure. The past three post-Brady seasons haven’t gone swimmingly, with New England posting two losing records during this stretch and suffering a Wild Card loss.
This offseason gave the Pats an opportunity to really turn things around by investing in their middling offense during free agency. We haven’t seen that, however, which has left Bill Belichick’s squad in the back half of the league for their odds to win the Super Bowl this season.
Could New England surprise oddsmakers in 2023? Sure. After all, every year features a few surprise teams who make the playoffs. Just look at 2022, when the Seahawks were expected to fight for a top draft pick and instead punched a ticket to the postseason.
Why the Patriots Could Be a Sneaky Super Bowl Bet
The Patriots have a few things going in their favor that could lead to a bounce-back campaign. First and foremost, hiring Bill O’Brien as the team’s new offensive coordinator should be massive. The pairing of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge was woefully under-qualified to lead this unit, leading to a unit that ranked seventh-worst in total yards per game. O’Brien knowledge, as well as his skill with developing quarterbacks, will be pivotal in helping Mac Jones get back on track.
In addition to a coaching change, the shuffling of the deck on offense could lead to better production. New England chose JuJu Smith-Schuster over Jakobi Meyers, signaling confidence the former will be better than the latter. Smith-Schuster not only has the championship experience that this locker room needs, but he can be a top option in the passing game. Though he’s failed to replicate his Pro Bowl year in 2018, the veteran served as Patrick Mahomes’ favorite wide receiver target this past season.
The Pats’ offense also has the potential to get better on a few fronts. Swapping out the lackluster Jonnu Smith for a legit playmaker in Mike Gesicki is a plus. Rhamondre Stevenson’s also coming off of a career year and primed to be even better in 2023. And speaking of the running back room, an addition of a proven talent like Dalvin Cook or Leonard Fournette appears to be looming, which would only help improve this unit.
New England returning most of its foundations on defense is key to its case as a Super Bowl dark horse. This unit placed an impressive No. 3 overall in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA metric while ranking No. 8 in fewest yards allowed and No. 11 in scoring defense. The Pats were also an absolute menace when it came to forcing turnovers, as they tied for second in total TOs. Spending each of its first three draft picks on this side of the ball, including landing stud cornerback Christian Gonzalez, should ensure another top performance.
Why the Patriots’ Super Bowl Odds Are Just Right
Despite every positive for New England this offseason, it says something that they own some of the worst odds to win the Super Bowl across sportsbooks. It’s not just in the championship market, either. DraftKings Sportsbook, for example, lists the Pats as the least likely to win the AFC East +800 and with a win total of just 7.5 that actually favors the under (-140).
Despite the presence of a great defense, it’s the much-maligned offense that is preventing this team from getting more love as a Super Bowl contender. Mac Jones’ status as a legit franchise quarterback is very much in question, and it’s his own team that’s spearheading that conversation.
Even if Jones plays better than 2022, the Pats simply aren’t built to out-duel most opponents. Their grindy game plan gets exposed when playing high-powered offenses that they simply can’t match. That’s a problem when nine of the league’s top-10 units in yards per game made the playoffs last year, and New England is on the opposite side on the leaderboard.
Though I’m not bullish on the Pats’ chances to be a Super Bowl contender, they offer major value on those willing to sprinkle some money of them. There’s also other markets to target as well for fans who want to bet their hometown team. I like taking the over on the Patriots’ win total at FanDuel Sportsbook, which is currently +120 to post more than 7.5 wins. Belichick’s squad is also listed at +250 odds to make the playoffs, which isn’t a reality that’s too difficult to envision if Jones bounces back.