Even before NFL training camps opened, Ken White of Las Vegas Sports Consultants received a prophetic e-mail from his father, Pete, a veteran prognosticator. The elder White wanted to carve New England’s name on the Lombardi Trophy before a single huddle had been formed.
His reasoning revolved around a power rating that showed the Patriots off the charts to an unprecedented degree.
We might be in the midst of an historic NFL season. Is what the Patriots are doing to their competition and the sports books going to continue? The public certainly thinks so. After only six weeks, the Patriots are even money to win the Super Bowl.
Based on New England’s dominance and an unbeaten Indianapolis Colts team that has been flying under the radar, the AFC has been posted at some venues as a 101/2-point favorite in the Super Bowl in Arizona 105 days from now. Why even play the game?
The Patriots have averaged 38 points per game in their 6-0 start, having covered every one, with only their 34-13 win in Cincinnati failing to go over the total. Coach Bill Belichick’s bunch is a parlay card player’s dream team.
The Patriots are eliciting memories of some of the dominant teams of the past. Pat Rethore, sports book manager at Stratosphere, remembers the 1994 season, when Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers were on a roll.
“That season, regardless of the number posted, they lined up at the windows and pounded San Francisco and the over and kept on cashing tickets. It’s the same thing with the Patriots,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what number we hang. We’re getting bet New England and the over and the line keeps going up and they keep covering.”
Meanwhile, oddsmakers have found keeping up with the Patriots a chore as well.
“Since I’ve been doing this, New England has the highest power rating I’ve ever come up with,” LVSC oddsmaker Mike Seba said. “The ’85 Bears come to mind in terms of sheer dominance, but New England’s balance on both sides of the ball is what’s truly scary. Then factor in that Belichick doesn’t care much for running out the clock when they have the lead. They’re always in attack mode.”
That scenario reared up when the Pats rammed in a meaningless touchdown in the final minute of last Sunday’s 48-27 throttling of Dallas.
The annual NFL proposition on a team running the table and posting a perfect record in the regular season used to surface around Week 8 or 9, if any team still had an unblemished record. Last year around this time, the Bears were plus-1000 to go unbeaten.
The LVSC staff determined the line for an unbeaten team this season should be minus-500 for the “No” and plus-400 for a “Yes” bet that a team will accomplish the feat for only the second time in history. It is a remarkably low number.
“From this point on, other than the Colts game, they have a relatively easy schedule,” Ken White said.
Other possible speed bumps for the Patriots could be road games at Baltimore and the New York Giants and home games against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. But the real heavyweight battle will be Nov. 4 at Indianapolis.
The Patriots are 161/2-point favorites at winless Miami today. Regardless that these two teams are worlds apart, we’re still talking about a road game against a division opponent. The line is flabbergasting. LVSC suggested the send-out number of New England minus-14, as the oddsmakers rarely create a line for a road favorite above the two-touchdown mark.
To enhance the point, in the past 11 years — or 2,816 games — there have been only five games that closed with a road favorite of 141/2 points or more. That’s once every 563 games. The prohibitive favorite covered four of those lopsided spreads. All five favorites won straight up with an average score of 29-8.
Brian Blessing, project manager for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, can be reached at email@example.com. Hear the LVSC oddsmakers on Sportsbook Radio, weekdays at 4 p.m. on KENO-AM (1460).