The NFL’s opt-out date of August 6 passed, which means professional football players may no longer decide to sit out this season due to coronavirus concerns. Unlike other U.S. based sports leagues, the NFL set it up so that players were compensated depending on their opt-out level.
If players wished to opt-out due to coronavirus concerns, the league paid them $150,000. If players opted-out due to being at high risk of contracting Covid-19, the league paid them $350,000.
No prorated salaries. No decision outside of the players, the player’s agents, and their families.
The league also added specific stipulations in their coronavirus response with the NFL Players’ Association (NFLPA). One of those stipulations says that if a player contracts the coronavirus through their own volition, such as visiting bars and restaurants, it was the player’s fault.
Although some have decried how the NFL has handled pandemic concerns, the NFL will go into the season with most teams missing one or two, if not zero, starters on either side of the ball.
Those that wished to sit out the season had to either prove they were high-risk or take a massive pay cut. As we might expect, few NFL players will sit out.
In particular, one team has gotten hit like a Bugs Bunny anvil from the sky, though. It’s surprising that of all the teams in the league, the New England Patriots are taking the biggest brunt of the Covid opt-outs.
Of the sixty-six total opt-out players, eight are Patriots’. Two of the Patriots are essential cogs in New England’s defense, the unit that held things together during quarterback Tom Brady’s final season as a Pat.
Both Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung are important to the Patriots’ desire to stop opposing teams from scoring. Hightower is the defensive signal-caller while Chung is one of the better safeties in the league.
In soccer, teams reserve the number 10 for the player that dictates what happens on the field. American football plays with two different units. One is the offense. The other is defense.
On offense, the “number 10” is the quarterback. New England lost their quarterback, Tom Brady, during the offseason. Brady signed a contract to play with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Their signal-caller on defense, Dont’a Hightower, decided to opt-out. Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick must now find a quarterback on defense who has the physical and communication skills that Hightower possesses.
That won’t be easy. It doesn’t help that Patrick Chung, who had 38 total tackles last season and helped double-cover opposing wide receivers, also decided to sit on the bench.
Coach Belichick can rest somewhat easier knowing that he’s got a quarterback to help replace six-time Super Bowl-winning Tom Brady. The Patriots signed 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton. Newton spearheaded the Carolina Panthers’ run to the 2016 Super Bowl.
Also, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is one of the most creative play-callers in the league. McDaniels will make sure that Cam has the best chance of success.
Although the team Brady went to is one of the squads NFL fans expect to improve the most, the Patriots’ didn’t take much of a hit in NFL futures.
New England offered +850 before Tom Brady took his gear to Tampa. After Brady left, New England’s odds drifted up to +2500, but they never went past those odds. Once the Pats signed Cam Newton, the odds fell again, this time to +1200.
At +1200, the New England Patriots are a favorite. Just five other teams offer less odds than the Pats.
- Kansas City Chiefs +600
- Baltimore Ravens +650
- San Francisco 49ers +850
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers +850
- New Orleans Saints +1000
Why are NFL Super Bowl future bettors bullish on the Patriots even though they lost Brady, Hightower, and Chung for the season?
A lot of it concerns the team most expect to challenge New England in the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo didn’t lose three high-profile players as the Patriots did.
But, they did lose a couple of possible defensive starters in Star Lotulelei and E.J. Gaines. The reason Buffalo’s losses are so much more important, at least from a betting point-of-view, rests on how football handicappers view Buffalo’s offense.
Quarterback Josh Allen has yet to prove himself. But the Bills don’t have a wide receiver like the Patriots’ Julien Edelman.
Edelman is the best security blanket in the business. He catches anything thrown his way.
To be sure, sports bettors that wish to back the Patriots, Bills, or any team to win the 2021 Super Bowl, should search for the best possible odds.
Often, sportsbooks use PPH bookie software to provide betting opportunities. The software allows these sportsbook operators, called pay per head agents, to change odds to attract players.
Make sure to look for optimal odds before making any pro football wager. Searching for the best odds is especially crucial in a coronavirus pandemic hit NFL season.
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