New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Based on the New England Patriots’ strange offseason and how it’s been covered, the feeling isn’t too great for a team that just played in the Super Bowl and has been to seven straight AFC Championship Games. But talk to Vegas oddsmakers and they’ll apparently tell you they feel as good as ever about the Patriots’ chances of dominating the NFL.

The early odds to make the 2018 NFL Playoffs are out from BetOnline.ag (via OddsShark), and as you’d expect, the Patriots’ odds of getting in are astronomically high. But it’s still striking how safe of a bet they are compared to the rest of the league: the Patriots are at minus-1500 to make the playoffs, while the Pittsburgh Steelers are next at … minus-550.

Granted, this is more of a statement on the “strength” of the AFC East, a division that has long acquiesced to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s stranglehold. And it certainly doesn’t look like Bills, Dolphins, or Jets are anywhere near ready to dethrone New England. The Patriots are at minus-500 to win the AFC East, per BetOnline.ag.

The Pats also remain the favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIII, but not by as much. They’re at plus-550, with the Steelers second at plus-300. The Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Los Angeles Chargers are tied for third in the conference at plus-900.

So if you’re reading about, and into, this whole drama between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and wondering if this is the start of the Patriots’ demise … for 2018, you should still pump the brakes on anything short of a regularly scheduled playoff run. Even a marked drop-off would still likely have the Pats winning their 10th straight division title and hosting a playoff game on Wild Card Weekend. You can bet on that, at the very least.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.