If you think that the New England Patriots will not be worse off this season despite releasing Aaron Hernandez because of the murder charges he is facing, I’d like to introduce you to some experts who feel otherwise.
According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, the Patriots’ odds to win the Super Bowl have slightly decreased in recent weeks — they are now 8:1 instead of 7:1. The Pats are also favored by fewer points for their first two games of the season than they were before the Hernandez news. Per Bell, the Las Vegas Hilton dropped the Pats from 7.5 favorites to 7-point favorites at the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. They also dropped from 12-point favorites to -10 against the New York Jets in Week 2.
Bell says Hernandez’s difference-making ability on the field is not really what accounts for the change, but rather the distraction he has caused through his alleged crimes coupled with the Patriots’ lack of depth at tight end.
Bell says that a good but not great player like Hernandez has a borderline “zero effect” on the point spread, “but additional factors – including the scandal’s distraction for the team, plus thinness at tight end due to Gronkowski’s injury, results in a modest downgrade of the Patriots by Las Vegas.”
The Patriots’ are favored by less in their first two games because Rob Gronkowski is expected to be out those weeks, and the dropoff from Gronk and Hernandez to the team’s third and fourth tight ends is significant. This tells us what we already know — without Hernandez, the Patriots need Gronkowski healthy.Google+