The NFL has suspended New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski for a late hit on Buffalo Bills corner Tre’Davious White.
When news broke of the one-game suspension on Monday, the Week 14 line for Patriots-Dolphins moved from New England -12 to -11. The one point line move is a bit of an overreaction. Previous research indicates that non-quarterbacks, even All-Pros like Gronk, are worth zero to half a point to the spread but the public overvalues star players.
The Patriots have been the most profitable team in our database (82-54-4, 60.3%) since Gronkowski was drafted in 2010 but Bill Belichick’s team has done even better when one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets is out.
In the 30 games that the tight end has missed since entering the league, New England is 23-7 straight-up and 19-10-1 (65.5%) ATS. In games with Gronk, the Pats are 63-44-3 (58.9%) ATS.
Why are the Patriots a better ATS team without Gronk? The line improves (goes from -12 to -11) for New England on average by 0.84 points when Gronkowski doesn’t play.
Belichick has shown he can win (and cover) without Brady, the Pats are 14-5 straight-up and 12-7 ATS since 2003 when the starting quarterback isn’t in the lineup. So, it should come as no surprise that they can overcome the loss of a tight end, even one of the best to play the game.
At the time of publication more than 70% of spread tickets and 80% of spread dollars are on the Pats as big road favorites in Miami. We usually recommend fading the public but casual bettors aren’t wrong to wager on New England without Gronk.
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