Anyone who has attended one knows that a family reunion is always a time where you can expect the unexpected. Chaos can ensue, or everything can be fine . . . you just never know.
Perhaps the word unpredictable would be best used to describe the goings-on when familiar people meet up.
This isn’t just true in houses around the country during the holiday season, or across sports betting in Massachusetts.
Another place this rings true is in the NFL, most notably with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Belichick has enjoyed an unprecedented run of success as coach, leading the Pats since the year 2000 and compiling a record of 261-105 while winning six Super Bowls. The New England Patriots odds are typically in their favor.
With all of his success and his longevity, losing assistant coaches has become the norm, as Belichick disciples are often considered for head coaching vacancies around the league.
With all these understudies as head coaches, Belichick versus former assistants has become a common occurrence on the NFL schedule, and the games between he and his most familiar opponents are as unpredictable as a Christmas get-together with siblings that haven’t seen each other in a while.
The McDaniels Reunion
Coming up in week 15 of the NFL season is yet another matchup for Belichick against a familiar opposing coach, as celebrated former Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is now the head coach of his next opponent, the 5-8 Las Vegas Raiders.
Massachusetts betting apps are not yet live, but sportsbooks agree that this game could go either way.
BetMGM Massachusetts has the Patriots marginally favored at -1.
With all the outside noise about how Belichick has struggled against former pupils, will this be a chance for bettors to take advantage and make some money betting against him? BetMassachusetts took a deep dive into his record against former assistants to find out if this is a real trend.
(For context, BetMass only looked at former assistants who worked under Belichick with the Pats, eliminating the Nick Saban-led Dolphins in the mid-2000s, the Jim Schwartz-led Detroit Lions and the 2000 New York Jets coached by Al Groh.)
In 24 games against former Pats assistant coaches, Belichick has a respectable record of 13-11, not near as bad as the noise surrounding this trend seems to make it sound.
Perhaps his struggles against former Pats player Mike Vrabel have added to the negative sentiment when it comes to coaches, but Belichick has the upper hand most of the time. Vrabel's 2-1 mark against The Hoodie didn't factor into our data as he never coached under Belichick, but he always will have the Titans' 2019 playoff victory over the Pats in what would be Tom Brady's last game as a Patriot.
Belichick's best record is against former Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien at 5-1, and he is winless against both Matt Patricia and McDaniels, although he has only met each of them once. Patricia lasted less than three seasons as the Detroit Lions coach, but did best Belichick and the Pats, 26-10, in 2018.
McDaniels defeated Belichick back in 2009 during his first stint as an NFL head coach with the Denver Broncos. Like Patricia, the rest of his tenure did not go so well.
This Sunday will give Belichick a chance to pull even against McDaniels and to further improve his record against former assistants.
Bill Belichick's Record Against Former Patriots Assistants
• Eric Mangini: 5-3
• Romeo Crennel: 1-1
• Bill O’Brien: 5-1
• Brian Flores: 2-4
• Josh McDaniels: 0-1
• Matt Patricia: 0-1
• Joe Judge: 0-0
Belichick's total record: 13-11
Win Over Raiders Far From a Lock
While the 13-11 record is fine, it certainly does not compare to his overall winning percentage as a head coach. With a .714 win rate in all of his games with the Patriots, a record slightly above .500 against former understudies is a drop from his usual state of success, something Belichick is no doubt aware of. ... Even if he would never admit to it.
With that in mind, consider McDaniels to have a little bit of an extra edge on Sunday against Belichick and his 7-6 team, but certainly nothing that could be considered a lock.
If anything, history tells us that of all the NFL games this weekend, Sunday’s matchup between Belichick and McDaniels is likely to be the most unpredictable game on the entire slate.
Stay close to BetMassachusetts.com for developments on the road to sports wagering in the state as well as for Massachusetts sportsbook promos.