If you were looking for some good New England Patriots news to start your week, this ain’t it.
The Arizona Republic is having a fun little argument between their sportswriters about whether or not the Arizona Cardinals should be excited about not having to deal with Tom Brady in Week One. Apparently, one guy is saying “REAL football fans want Brady to play Cards” (that’s the headline), and another writer over there is playing Skip Bayless to the aforementioned writer’s Stephen A. Smith:
“Oh, admit it. You are giddy Tom Brady is not playing in the Cardinals’ season opener at University of Phoenix Stadium.”
If hot fire takes aren’t your thing, that’s fine, but where the latter writer nails it is when she notes just how much Las Vegas thinks Brady’s absence will impact the game:
“Some betting insiders had New England favored to win the game before the Golden Boy was suspended.”
“If Brady was playing, “we would have set the New England Patriots as a one-point favorite to win the game,” said Kevin Bradley, sportsbook manager of Bovada.lv, an online/offshore sportsbook. “However, with Brady dropping the appeal and accepting the suspension from the league, we will probably set the Cardinals as 5 ½-point favorites. Basically, the absence of Brady from the New England Patriots lineup is almost equivalent to a touchdown.”
“Dave Tuley, who covers sports betting for ESPN.com, said Las Vegas books opened the game at pick ‘em (even odds) or the Cardinals as a one-point home favorite, but “when Brady’s suspension was reinstated, most books took the game off the board but some increased the Cards to 4 1/2- or 4-point faves.”
That’ll happen when you take an all-time great player out of a game that could very well be a Super Bowl preview.
And the Cardinals, who have roster depth for days, love to send the house with all kinds of fun blitzes, and also love to sling the rock downfield (hmmm, which Peyton Manning-led Colts team does THAT remind you of?) are a great team with a legitimate shot at being the NFC’s Super Bowl team. Arizona vs. New England would have been a barn-burner regardless, but without Tom Brady, New England’s odds of beating the Cardinals’ defensive pressure and defending against the top offense in the league last year don’t look good.
On the other hand, this gives you a great excuse to bet on New England. For once, you may actually be able to bet on the Patriots and actually make some money if they win!