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Favorite Patriots prop bets for the 2020 NFL season

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Anthony Amico

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The New England Patriots are one of the NFL’s most polarizing teams for 2020. Of course, they have the usual amount of intrigue as a franchise that has won six Super Bowls since 2002, but they will enter the 2020 season without the quarterback who landed them those championships. This will be a new Patriots lineup, and it should create some uncertainty to take advantage of in the betting market. Here are some of my favorite Patriots prop bets and futures for 2020.

AFC East winner: Patriots +115 (PointsBet)

The Patriots have won the division every year since 2009 and in 16 of the past 17 seasons. They had the best defense in the league, and arguably the best in the NFL since the 2013 Seahawks’ Legion of Boom. They retain all of the key members of that defense.

On offense, there is a major shift in QB from Tom Brady to Cam Newton, but that may fit the team better than in 2019. Newton gives New England a more dynamic run game and should be able to produce more points than Brady with relatively average weapons — the Patriots were just 21st in yards per play in 2019.

The East is also still a relatively weak division, with Buffalo as the major threat to New England’s crown. However, the Bills will see a major increase in strength of schedule difficulty in 2020, and have not beaten the Patriots since 2016, when Jacoby Brissett was at quarterback. They still have ways to go to unseat the champs.

Julian Edelman UNDER 930.5 receiving yards -115 (PointsBet)

While Newton could be a net upgrade to the Patriot offense, it should come at the expense of Edelman. Newton offenses are not typically pass-heavy.

This represents a significant decrease from the full-season complement of pass attempts Brady has provided in the same time frame.

Slashing 100 available targets off the top is bad news for Edelman, who very quietly has more target competition than he did a year ago. Including playoffs, Edelman saw a 20% decrease in targets in games played with N'Keal Harry and Mohamed Sanu in 2019. Harry, a 2019 first-round pick, is now fully healthy and ready to ascend.

The combination of far less expected pass-game volume and target competition makes the under a strong bet. This is indicated by lines posted at other sportsbooks, as DraftKings has Edelman’s receiving over/under at 850.5.

Cam Newton OVER 375.5 rushing yards -154 (PointsBet)

This is essentially a bet on how many games Newton plays as the starter. Keeping in mind how banged up he has been the last two seasons, Newton has still managed to run for plenty of yards per game in his past 16 contests.

Newton has averaged eight more rushing yards per game for his career, so there is even more per-game rushing potential for Newton if he is fully healthy and the Patriots are willing to deploy him as a runner. One has to think this likely given the experience and wisdom of the New England coaching staff. Even at 30.38 yards per game, Newton would only need to play 13 games to hit the over. Using his career average, he would only need 10.

There is also upside that Newton sees more rush attempts than he did with Carolina. When Josh McDaniels coached Tim Tebow as a 2010 rookie, he averaged over 10 carries in his three starts. In Brissett’s three appearances in 2016, he carried the ball 16 times to just 55 pass attempts. McDaniels has displayed an ability to make the most out of QB mobility, and that could very well continue with Newton.

Comeback Player of the Year: Cam Newton +400 (DraftKings)

Comeback Player often goes to a player returning from injury and is almost always an offensive player. Since 2001, just one defensive player has won the award, while 11 QBs have taken home the hardware. Newton played in just two games in 2019 due to injury, fitting the narrative of a typical candidate for Comeback Player. Additionally, he is likely to play for a good team, which matters greatly. Each QB but one finished the year with at least nine wins for his football team, with the lone exception (Jon Kitna) still finishing .500. If the Patriots win the division with Newton at the helm, he will be a major favorite to win this award.

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