The oddsmaker BetOnline.ag created prop bets for the exact finishing position in their division for each NFL team and they view the New England Patriots to be in a unique situation- that it’s almost impossible for Bill Belichick and company to come in last place in the AFC East.
The Patriots have the best odds at winning their division (-600; 85.7%) of any team in the league. Only three other teams are given 50%+ odds of winning their divisions: The Pittsburgh Steelers (-200; 66.7%); the Los Angeles Rams (-175; 63.6%); and the Philadelphia Eagles (-150; 60%).
Only three other teams have 50%+ odds of finishing in a specific position in their division and they’re all cellar dwellers projected to come in last place: the Chicago Bears (-120; 54.5%); the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-200; 66.7%); and the Arizona Cardinals (-250; 71.4%).
Meanwhile, the Patriots are given a 0.2% chance (+50,000) of coming in fourth place in their division, easily the smallest odds in the entire league. Something cataclysmic would have to occur for this to happen and it would involve all of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Rob Gronkowski being found guilty of cutting the grass at Gillette 1/8th shorter than regulation (but ignoring the fact that it’s turf).
The team with the next-longest odds? That’s also the Patriots, with a 4.8% chance (+2,000) of coming in third place. Basically the Patriots have a 5% chance of coming in third or fourth place, which is laughably small when you consider how much the league has tried to level the playing field and increase competition.
In fairness and to add context, the Rams are given the same 4.8% chance (+2,000) of coming in last place for their division, but they have a 12.5% chance (+700) of coming in third place. So while the Patriots have a 95% chance of finishing in the top two of their division, the next-best team has a “mere” 82.7% chance.
Death, taxes, and the Patriots winning the AFC East. The machine rolls onward.