On Oct. 21, 2001, the New England Patriots were 10.5-point underdogs to Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts. Tom Brady, in his fourth start, threw three touchdowns and the Patriots won 38-17.
That’s the last time the Patriots were underdogs by double digits.
Almost 19 years later, the Patriots are getting more than 10 points again. A truly unusual circumstance, in which New England’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs got postponed until Monday night due to quarterback Cam Newton landing on the COVID-19/reserve list, has made the Patriots 11-point underdogs against the Chiefs at BetMGM.
The Patriots love to play the underdog card, even when they’re not. On Monday night, they genuinely will be a long shot.
New England hasn’t been double-digit underdogs in 19 years
It is very rare for the Patriots to have a double-digit spread next to them, as underdogs. It happened twice in 2001, back when Brady was an unknown new starter. Before that, the last time the Patriots were double-digit underdogs was 1995, according to Pro Football Reference.
In 2001, Brady and Bill Belichick won straight up both times they got more than 10 points. They beat the Colts both times. They won 44-13 in Brady’s first start as 11.5-point favorites, and 38-17 a few weeks later.
Brady was 24 then. He is 43 now, playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady and Belichick won six rings together since the last time New England was getting 10 or more points. Nobody from that 2001 team is even in the league anymore aside from Brady.
If you’ve been waiting to bet on the Patriots getting this many points, it has been a long time coming.
Patriots face challenges
The challenges the Patriots face are significant. They will be without Newton. It’s unclear if Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham will get the start. New England left Boston on Monday morning, getting into Kansas City a little before noon. They’ll leave back to Massachusetts right after the game, getting home in the middle of the night.
On top of it all, they face Patrick Mahomes and the 3-0 Chiefs, who are defending Super Bowl champs and the best team in the NFL. The disruptions have affected the total, too. It has gone from 50 to 48.5 with 87.6% of the money being bet on the under.
Before the news on Newton and the postponement, the Patriots were about 7-point underdogs. It got a predictable bump up when the game was rescheduled without Newton. The Patriots won’t have running back Sony Michel either. He has a quad injury.
Belichick likes to remind his team that the world is against it. Oddsmakers concur this time.
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