The New England Patriots quickly released Aaron Hernandez on Wednesday when they discovered he had been arrested. Almost as quickly, bookmakers in Las Vegas adjusted the betting odds for the 2013 NFL season.
Before Hernandez was charged with murder, the Patriots were tied with the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino as the favorites to win the 2014 Super Bowl. Now that Hernandez is off team, the Broncos are given the best chance to meet the 49ers in the title game. The Patriots’ odds to win it all have been moved from 5/1 to 6/1, according to The Sporting News. As a result, Peyton Manning’s club’s odds improved to 9/2.
“We did our first bit of tweaking on our numbers regarding the Patriots over the weekend when the story was gaining a lot of momentum as a precautionary move, and then adjusted some more today when Hernandez was released,” LVH sportsbook vice-president Jay Kornegay said.
Betting odds for New England’s win total and individual games have also been affected. In their Week One contest against the Buffalo Bills, the point spread has moved from 7.5 to an even seven. Against the New York Jets in the following week, the spread has moved two points, making New England a 10-point favorite. The Patriots projected win total still stands at 11.5, but betting the under has moved from -155 to -170.
The loss of Hernandez is another one of many hits that the Patriots’ offense has taken this offseason. The AFC powerhouse lost both Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead to free agency. Rob Gronkowski is still on the team, but he might not be ready to start the season after undergoing multiple surgeries.
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Hernandez missed six games last season, finishing with 51 catches and 483 receiving yards. He had six years left on his contract, before being released.