The NFL has seen several players decide to opt-out of this upcoming season due to Covid-19 concerns and no one has been hit harder than the New England Patriots.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung and right tackle Marcus Cannon are the three big names to say they won’t be playing. They were joined by running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Dan Vitale and guard Najee Toran.
Here is just part of the quote from Hightower explaining his decision (source Ian Rapoport’s Twitter).
“Me and my fiancée are just more concerned with the health of our family than football — especially the new addition to our family.”
Odds updated at WPN Sportsbooks
The opt-outs come at a time when the team had been garnering positive headlines, both locally and nationally. The signing of quarterback Cam Newton to a low risk deal to replace Tom Brady was considered a coup by most.
The Newton signing had an immediate effect on the odds, dropping the team from +1500 to +1050 to win the AFC Conference at the Winning Poker Network sportsbooks. After the opt-out, the Patriots now sit at +1100, not a major adjustment.
There has been a little more movement on the AFC East Odds, After the Newton signing, New England was the -112 favorite to win the division over Buffalo (+135). The odds currently sit at New England at +114 and Buffalo at +119.
I’m very surprised that there wasn’t more movement on the Patriots odds and it really boils down to two words – Bill Belichick. The all-time leader in Super Bowl wins (6) has been known to handle all previous distractions, both on and off the field.
However, the Patriots haven’t done a great job drafting the last few years and these losses are really a big blow, with possibly more to come. I think the Bills are really enticing at their +119 division odds.