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Patriots: The making of a Super Bowl Betting Favorite

The New England Patriots are the Super Bowl betting favorites to win Super Bowl LI on Sunday. That’s a statement that fans betting on Super Bowls have probably been saying every year for the past decade and a half, but which has not always come to fruition. For instance, the Pats failed to win back-to-back titles for the second time in franchise history last year when they lost the AFC championship game to eventual Super Bowl winners the Denver Broncos. However, Bill Belichick is not arguably the greatest head coach of the Super Bowl through sheer dumb luck. Bill Belichick is arguably the greatest head coach of the Super Bowl because he keeps going back to the lab.

The Pats traded in more players than any other team since the end of last season. Three of those players were crucial to the attainment of New England’s seventh AFC championship; namely, tight end Martellus Bennett, cornerback Eric Rowe, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Belichick had previously acquired four players in 2014, when the Pats won their fourth Super Bowl (though Tom Brady’s sleight-of-hand may have a little to do with that as well). It might be pleonastic to say that it’s every coach’s job to address his team’s weaknesses from one season to the next, but Belichik’s cost-effective if at times unorthodox approach sets him apart from the pack and keeps the Patriots a perennial Super Bowl betting favorite.

Super Bowl 51 odds

Patriots -3 (-105) 58½ (-110) -155
Falcons +3 (-115) 58½ (-110) +135

By way of example, Bennett was traded with a sixth-round draft pick in the 2016 raft from the Bears for a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft. Bennett went from not playing well with others to becoming the Pats’ numero uno wide receiver following Rob Gronkowski’s injury. Bennett finished the regular season with 701 yards and seven TDs on 55 catches. Similarly, Rowe was traded from the Eagles for a conditional draft pick and became the Pats' No. 2 and 3 cornerback rotating with veteran Logan Ryan. And Van Noy was traded from the Lions along with a 2017 seventh round draft pick in exchange for a 2017 sixth round draft pick. All things considered, Belichick is the opposite of Wilde’s cynic “who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” The player turnover must be hell on jersey sales, but is part of what keeps fans betting on Super Bowl putting their money on the Pats.

Sure, the Patriots have some of the best players in the league, but not all of them were as good as they are now before they were handpicked by Belichick. In spite of all the big names, the Pats probably define best what a team – a collective should be. Otherwise, people betting on Super Bowl would be at a loss to explain how New England has gotten perfectly by without the Gronk. And even though NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal claims that “the Patriots value their system over any individual player, as long as that player isn't Tom Brady,” that’s not necessarily true either; Brady’s absence during the first four regular season games did nothing to diminish the Pats’ Super Bowl betting odds.