Big NFL news or not, the Vegas books got spooked on Friday.
With rumors of major Patriots news, not limited to but including the departure of Rob Gronkowski, Vegas oddsmakers briefly took odds of the board for Patriots futures. It’s not uncommon for Vegas to briefly remove odds for certain events, but it’s a little weird to see them removed based on rumors alone.
Patriots Super Bowl Odds
Lifshitz confirmed to me via DM that both Oddsmaker and Bovada both removed Patriots futures on Friday.
While this is disputed, several users on Twitter posted screenshots citing the absence of the Patriots futures on their online sportsbook.
Apparently this news even had an impact on New England’s weekly lines. Action Network’s Josh Applebaum noted that the Patriots spread for Week 1 against the Texans fell from -7 to -6.5 while news was swirling.
Immediately after losing Super Bowl 52, the Patriots were the odds favorite to return to the biggest stage. They opened as Super Bowl 53 favorites on 5Dimes in February, opening at +300 ahead of the Packers (+800), Eagles (+850) and Steelers (+1000). The Patriots also had the highest opening win total, with the initial over/under set at 11 wins.
Of all the possible rumors swirling, the most probable would be the departure of All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. Retirement rumors started to circle for Gronk shortly after Super Bowl 52, with offers from WWE and action movies potentially on the table. But Gronk took the spring to recover, and after meeting with Bill Belichick, he decided to return to the team.
Here’s the caption from Gronk’s Instagram post on April 24:
I met with coach today and informed him I will be back for the 2018 season with the Pats. I have been working out, staying in shape and feel great. Looking forward to another championship run.
The Patriots reported to OTA’s at the end of May, but neither Gronk nor Tom Brady were in attendance. The pair did return to action in June, and were both present for the team’s three-day minicamp. Gronk commented on his status to reporters:
“I had to do what I had to do, where I felt good enough to get my body prepared, to get my body right again, see where my body was at and see where my mind was at,” Gronk told the Washington Post. “I’m glad to be back out here. I feel like I definitely made the right decision coming back out.”