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Boston Beat: NFL

NFL: FEB 05 Super Bowl LI - Falcons v Patriots
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: New England Patriots team flag runner waves a flag across the end zone in celebrations of a touchdown by New England Patriots running back James White (28) during the Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcon on February 5, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. i(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Based on early indicators from Las Vegas oddsmakers, the New England Patriots could easily be point spread and money line favorites in all 16 regular season games this season.

As soon as NFL team schedules for the 2019 regular season were announced last Thursday, sportsbooks sprung into action posting point spreads for Week One. Those opening point spreads allowed market observers to deduce approximate Power Ratings from oddsmakers. Using a standard three points for home field advantage, it’s easy to tweak from final 2018 ratings to build a scale that represents the NFL from top to bottom.

VSiN’s Jonathan Von Tobel (“Betting Across America,” Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at vsin.com) and I put our heads together to create such a scale. Today’s numbers are based on Week One lines posted at the Westgate. We start in the AFC…

AFC: New England 86, Kansas City 86, LA Chargers 84, Cleveland 83, Indianapolis 83. Pittsburgh 83, Houston 82, Baltimore 81, Tennessee 81, Cincinnati 77, Denver 77, Jacksonville 77, NY Jets 76, Oakland 76, Buffalo 75, Miami 74.

Those represent “neutral field” differentials. We’re estimating that Chiefs/Patriots would be a virtual pick-em on a neutral field, meaning either home team would be favored by three in a head-to-head matchup (which will happen on December 8 in Foxboro).

Here’s a quick look at the NFC.

NFC: New Orleans 87, LA Rams 86, Philadelphia 83, Chicago 83, Seattle 82, Dallas 82, Minnesota 82, Green Bay 82, Carolina 81, Atlanta 80, San Francisco 79, Washington 78, Tampa Bay 78, NY Giants 77, Detroit 76, Arizona 73.

Right now, either the Patriots or the Chiefs would be a virtual toss-ups in the Super Bowl against either New Orleans or the Los Angeles Rams. Of course, team perceptions have plenty of time to change between now and February.

A quick glance at the month-by-month schedule shows a healthy version of the Patriots would only have two road games near pick-em…at Philadelphia in November, and at Houston in early December. (Our estimate of each team’s opening Power Rating is in parenthesis.)

September: Pittsburgh (83), at Miami (74), NY Jets (76), at Buffalo (75).

October: at Washington (78), NY Giants (77), at NY Jets (76), Cleveland (83).

November: at Baltimore (81), at Philadelphia (83), Dallas (82).

December: at Houston (82), Kansas City (87), at Cincinnati (77), Buffalo (75), Miami (74).

The Patriots opened as a 6-point favorite vs. Pittsburgh in the first Sunday night game of the 2019 season. They will be decisive favorites weekly until late October.

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