NFL betting, odds: As AFC East improves, when will Patriots rise again?

Tom Brady's detractors like to point out how bad the AFC East was during his time with the New England Patriots.

It's a bit disingenuous, just a cheap avenue for those who downgrade Brady to hold onto something tangible. However, it's also is true that for about 20 years, the rest of the AFC East couldn't get its act together.

That's changing. The Buffalo Bills have taken over as the best team in the division. The Miami Dolphins showed a lot of growth last season, particularly when Tua Tagovailoa was healthy. The New York Jets are a quarterback away, and you might have heard they're talking to a quarterback about a possible trade.

All the while, the Patriots are treading water.

Online sports betting went live in Massachusetts on Friday, and those bettors might find that the glory days of betting on the Patriots to win it all and profiting might be over. For a while, at least.

Patriots at bottom of AFC East odds

The Patriots were at or near the top of the favorites to win the Super Bowl for most of Brady's long career in New England. Now you have to scroll down a bit to find them.

New England is +6000, or 60-to-1, to win the Super Bowl next season at BetMGM. That's tied for 22nd best odds. The Patriots are also picked to finish last in the AFC East by the oddsmakers. Here are the divisional odds at BetMGM:

Bills +100

Jets +250

Dolphins +450

Patriots +600

Patriots fans aren't used to that. They're used to destroying the AFC East as a cast of mediocre quarterbacks fails to present a challenge. But with a division that could include Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa and Aaron Rodgers next season, the Patriots look ill-equipped to keep up.

The Patriots haven't been bad the last couple seasons. They made the playoffs in 2021. They just haven't been great, and Bill Belichick teams were great for a long time.

Mac Jones and the New England Patriots have the longest odds to win the AFC East this season. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Mac Jones and the New England Patriots have the longest odds to win the AFC East this season. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Patriots need offensive improvement

The Patriots seem far off from being Super Bowl contenders. The oddsmakers certainly think they are.

The problem is the Patriots don't have a dynamic offense. Mac Jones had a solid rookie season and then wasn't so great his second season. Was that due to the fiasco at offensive coordinator, with defensive coach Matt Patricia calling plays? Probably. We'll find out now that Bill O'Brien has been hired to run the offense. But even if Jones bounces back in his third season, he seems like a low ceiling quarterback working with a really underwhelming cast of skill-position players. The Patriots haven't nailed a draft pick at receiver in many years, and they're paying for it. The defense is still good, but the Patriots are just good enough to be in the middle of the NFL pack right now.

It doesn't take too long to rebound in the NFL. Even the worst team can turn things around in three years, and the Patriots are far from being near the bottom of the league. A couple of great draft picks, a key signing or two and the Patriots could be much improved.

Right now, New England is stuck a bit. The rest of the division has (finally) improved. It might be a little while before Massachusetts bettors can cash a ticket on their team to win a Super Bowl.