It seems like the sportsbooks love Mac Jones as the Patriots’ starting quarterback. Or better yet, they’re expecting bettors to love the rookie under center in New England.
Jones apparently won the Patriots’ battle for the starting quarterback job with New England reportedly releasing Cam Newton on Tuesday. The keys are Jones’ now and for the foreseeable future.
Within moments of the news breaking, Jones’ Offensive Rookie of the Year odds — which were in the 10-1 neighborhood — saw an immediate adjustment. He’s now the favorite at plenty of shops domestically and abroad.
We also received our first look at player props for Jones’ rookie season. DraftKings Sportsbook laid the following over/under numbers for Jones ahead of what’s now a 17-game campaign.
Under 23.5 (-120)
Over 23.5 (-110)
That we know Jones is going to have the chance to start right away should inspire some confidence for those leaning toward the Over here. For what it’s worth, only one rookie QB — Justin Herbert — eclipsed 23 touchdown passes in 2020, throwing for 31 scores in a historic debut season. Joe Burrow seemed well on his way, throwing 13 TD passes in seven games before shredding his knee, while Jalen Hurts also impressed with limited opportunities in Philadelphia (six touchdowns in four games). Do the Patriots have big-play potential, though? Because if you’re banking on red-zone touchdown opportunities, that’s a dicey proposition given how good New England’s run game should be.
Over 3,800.5 (-115)
Under 3,800.5 (-115)
Speaking of the running game, that might be the biggest impediment when it comes to Jones surpassing his yardage total. If Jones were to play every game this season (more on that shortly), he’d have to average 223.5 passing yards per game to reach that number. That’s certainly doable, but again, it definitely feels like the Patriots have built a roster that will try to grind down its opponent on the ground, especially with a potentially elite defense on the other side. We also don’t know how Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will handle a rookie QB. We’ve never seen it before here. A cautious approach to playcalling could limit Jones’ potential to rack up big yardage, especially if New England sticks to the short and intermediate passing attack. The real issue, though, might be durability. A big knock on Jones coming out of college was his body, and he hasn’t made any drastic improvements since the draft. That he keeps adding and tinkering with knee braces — before even having to face first-team defenses — should give you pause about whether he can handle a full NFL season. And if he can’t, good luck getting to 3,800 yards.
Over 13.5 (-120)
Under 13.5 (-110)
On a similar note, an injury certainly would help UNDER 13.5 interception bettors. We’ve certainly seen rookie quarterbacks struggle badly and turn it over a bunch in their first seasons. Jones could wind up in that group. However, the 22-year-old’s decision-making is one of his biggest assets, and it’s probably one of the biggest reasons he won the job in the first place. Generally speaking, quarterbacks are doing a better job protecting the football, as the interception rate across the league has declined in recent years. While the NFL is very much not college, Jones did throw 556 career passes at Alabama — and just seven of them were intercepted.
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