NFL odds: The signing of Cam Newton forced oddsmakers to change Patriots' 2020 outlook

Cam Newton’s signing by the New England Patriots on Sunday wasn’t just big news in the NFL world.

At BetMGM, oddsmakers had to reevaluate the Patriots on the spot. There are plenty of future bets up on New England — win total, division, conference and Super Bowl odds, Week 1 point spread — and the Patriots aren’t the same team after upgrading from Jarrett Stidham to Newton, a former MVP. Yet, oddsmakers also can’t yet pinpoint how healthy Newton is, how fast he and the Patriots’ offensive coaches will adapt to each other or what impact he can have.

But needless to say, you missed your chance to get good odds if you were optimistic about the Patriots before Newton signed.

Patriots’ win total doesn’t change, but there is a huge shift

The Patriots’ win total before Sunday was 9.5, and that’s where it was on Monday afternoon more than 24 hours after Newton signed. That seems surprising, but oddsmakers made a pretty significant adjustment.

Due to a lot of Patriots’ pessimism through the spring, the odds on under 9.5 climbed all the way up to -230. That meant a bettor had to wager $230 to win $100 on the Patriots winning nine games or less. Those odds fell to -125 with Newton’s signing. Sportsbooks don’t like moving win totals because it leaves them exposed to lose on the over and the under (if they moved the Patriots to 10.5, they’d lose all over 9.5 and all under 10.5 tickets if the Patriots finished 10-6). Even without moving the win total, the big change in the odds was telling.

“That speaks volumes for how much of an upgrade he is,” said Jeff Stoneback, director of trading operations for MGM Resorts International.

Other changes in the Patriots’ odds weren’t quite as significant, but they reflected the upgrade at quarterback. Super Bowl odds moved from 20-to-1 to 18-to-1. New England’s odds to win the AFC moved down slightly from 9-to-1 to 8-to-1. And the odds to win the division moved from +115 to +110. The Patriots were the favorites to win the AFC East before signing Newton and remained so after Sunday. The Patriots were 6.5-point favorites over the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, and Stoneback said he would keep the line at 6.5 for the moment.

There was plenty of overreaction to the Patriots’ offseason, but oddsmakers are probably happy they didn’t shift New England’s odds too much through the offseason.

Adding Cam Newton changed the odds for the Patriots. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Adding Cam Newton changed the odds for the Patriots. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Cam Newton’s MVP odds change dramatically

While the Patriots’ odds changed a bit, Newton’s MVP odds expectedly saw a huge move.

If you wanted to bet Newton to win MVP before Sunday, when he was an unsigned free agent, he was 80-to-1. On Monday he was 25-to-1, tied for ninth-best odds with Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.

Newton couldn’t have landed in a much better spot.

“Obviously, if he can stay healthy he’s one of the better quarterbacks in the league,” Stoneback said. “The match of the team and talent is a good one. If he signed with the Bengals or someone like that, his odds wouldn’t have dropped like that.”

Newton makes the Patriots better, and the Patriots can help put Newton in a position to cash in next offseason after he plays out his one-year deal. Bettors who were quick to take the under on the Patriots this offseason probably didn’t love Sunday’s news.

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