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New England Patriots’ odds soar after 8 players opt out

The New England Patriots’ odds to win the Super Bowl dropped from 40-1 to 25-1 at the Westgate sportsbook in June after they signed former NFL MVP Cam Newton.

But New England’s odds have since soared back to 40-1 as an NFL-high eight players have opted out of the regular season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Patriots’ odds to win the AFC also rose from 12-1 to 20-1, and the 11-time defending division champions are no longer the favorites to win the AFC East.

The Buffalo Bills are now the -110 favorites to win the AFC East at the Westgate and even-money favorites at William Hill. New England was the +130 co-favorite with Buffalo after signing Newton but is now the +150 second choice at both books.

“There’s zero money on the Patriots (to win the division),” Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “The Bills are the favorite, and we actually received sharp money on them to win the division. So that’s more of a reason to make them bigger favorites than they probably should be.

“The public likes Buffalo as well. They’re becoming a public team.”

The Patriots that have opted out include three starters in linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung and tackle Marcus Cannon, as well as a projected starter in tight end Matt LaCosse. The others are running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale, wide receiver Marqise Lee and guard Najee Toran.

“If you add them up, it probably means something,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “But there were no major names.”

New England’s season win total has stayed at 9, though the under has climbed to -140 after opening at -110. The Patriots are still favored to make the playoffs, though their odds have dipped from -190 to -175.

“I just don’t know the impact of some of those guys,” Salmons said. “I know they drafted a bunch of guys, and the Patriots always seemingly have other guys behind their other guys.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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