NFL odds: How Tua Tagovailoa news impacts AFC East title race originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The AFC East race is more wide open than it's been in a long time.
The Patriots have won the division in 11 consecutive seasons, but with a 2-3 record entering Week 7, New England is in third place in the AFC East standings. The last time the Patriots were in third place or worse in the division at this stage of the season was in 2008.
The Buffalo Bills are leading the division at 4-2. Buffalo started out 4-0 but has lost back-to-back games to the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs.
Here's a look at the AFC East standings going into Week 7.
1. Bills: 4-2
2. Dolphins: 3-3
3. Patriots: 2-3
4. Jets: 0-6
The AFC East race got an even more exciting Tuesday when reports surfaced that the Dolphins are starting rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Miami selected Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to be their franchise quarterback. Tagovailoa had a marvelous career at the University of Alabama and helped lead the Crimson Tide to a national title in 2017.
How has the decision to start Tagovailoa impacted the AFC East betting lines? Here are the latest odds:
1. Bills: -179
2. Patriots: +225
3. Dolphins: +600
4. Jets: +25000
If you like the Dolphins' chances with Tagovailoa, it probably makes sense to jump on them now. Miami's upcoming schedule is pretty soft and could set up the Dolphins for a nice little run into December.
The Dolphins' next six games are against the Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals in that order. None of these teams made the playoffs last year and only the Cardinals occupy a postseason berth currently.
The end to the regular season is much tougher for the Dolphins. They close out December with games versus the Kansas City Chiefs, Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders and Bills in that order. However, by that time Tagovailoa should have six games of experience, which will help him.
Winning the division will be a difficult challenge for the Dolphins, but it's not a totally unrealistic goal for them in 2020. They are beginning to hit their stride with three wins in the last four games, and now Tagovailoa is about to begin what many experts predict will be a very good pro career.
The Bills are the current betting favorite and deservedly so, but both the Dolphins and Patriots should make a strong push for the AFC East crown as the division title race ramps up in the second half of the season.
Odds provided by our partner, PointsBet