The New England Patriots have just seen their preseason odds spike tremendously across various sportsbooks, as the official signing of veteran quarterback Cam Newton has them back as the current favorites to win the AFC East. Newton signed an incentive-laden deal with New England earlier this week, and appears to be in line to start Week 1 for Bill Belichick’s team.

Although an open competition with second-year pro Jarrett Stidham is likely, Newton will have every opportunity to impress the Patriots’ coaching staff and win the starting job. If Belichick truly believed in Stidham, they would not have signed Newton in the first place, as this season was the perfect time to see what the fourth-round quarterback out of Auburn could bring to the table.

The Pats have quickly become one of the most interesting teams in the league for 2020, as Newton will change the dynamic of this entire offense. New England has never had a signal-caller with this type of athletic ability, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will be able to open up the playbook and move the pocket a lot more with Newton under center.

If the Pats are truly trying to compete for a SuperBowl this season, then this was a no-brainer signing given the immense upside it could bring. On the other hand, the downside is that Stidham won’t get a true opportunity to prove he could be a franchise quarterback for New England, as they’re all but guaranteed to draft a rookie QB next offseason if Newton underperforms and the Pats miss the playoffs.

Time will tell as to whether or not Cam will be able to fit into New England’s rigid, no-nonsense culture, but on the surface, this could be one of the best moves of the offseason, as I’m sure teams across the AFC have put the Patriots back on their radar for this season.

Bookmakers Respond to the News

First and foremost, according to Bovada, New England’s Super Bowl odds have jumped from +2500 to +1200. This now gives them the sixth-best odds in the NFL, which seems like an incredulous overreaction given the uncertainty surrounding Newton’s health and performance. I understand the overwhelming potential Newton represents, but there is simply just no value to be had in this spot.

Moreover, the Pats have now become the odds-on favorites to win the AFC East, as they moved slightly ahead of an up-and-coming Buffalo Bills team. Previously +150, New England is now +110 to take home the division crown, as Buffalo slid back to +145. Meanwhile, the Jets and Dolphins remained unaffected upon this news — remaining huge longshots at 8:1.

Last but not least, the Pats saw their regular-season win total climb to 9.5 — a full win more than what they were previously listed at (8.5). No matter the team, winning 10 games in the NFL is never easy, so I still lean heavily towards the under in this spot.

It appears sportsbooks were expecting a huge wave of action this week, as they inflated New England’s odds across the board knowing they’re one of the hottest picks out there right now. I’d stay away for the time being, as there’s simply too much unknown surrounding the offense given the dearth of talent at the skill positions.