Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots makes a catch...

Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots makes a catch against the Houston Texans in the first quarter on Dec. 13, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston. Credit: Getty Images / Scott Halleran


TV: Ch. 4, 8:30 p.m.; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)

Patriots by 9; O/U: 48.5

As we kick off another NFL season, one thing is clear: Parity doesn’t exist. There are only a handful of teams (maybe two) who have a realistic shot at winning the Super Bowl. At the top of that list are the Patriots, the picture of consistency in a league full of inconsistent teams.

The Patriots are overwhelming favorites to repeat. As their title defense begins Thursday night at home against the Chiefs, expect the first game of the 2017 season to begin the same way the final game of the 2016 season ended: with Tom Brady and New England putting up a lot of points. Seven months and two days after the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history (25 points), the Pats open as heavy favorites.

Seems like a high spread, right? Especially against a Chiefs team that has made the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. But these are the Pats, at home, in prime time. Why would you bet against them? In 2016, New England went an NFL-best 13-3 against the spread (ATS), then was 3-0 in the playoffs. Brady is 101-17 straight up (SU) at home and enjoys playing on Thursdays: 9-1 SU with 24 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

So don’t talk yourself into taking the Chiefs because the spread appears to be too high. It isn’t. Las Vegas bookmakers have set the trap for you to take Kansas City. Don’t fall for it.

Even with the loss of Julian Edelman, Brady has plenty of weapons. New addition Brandin Cooks is a deep-ball threat, and Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola will be slot machines. Not to mention Rob Gronkowski and a deep backfield. As for the Chiefs, they have talent, too, led by Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. But Bill Belichick’s calling card is taking away a team’s best playmakers. As has often been the case during Andy Reid’s Chiefs tenure, the offense settles for too many field goals. That won’t cut it.

Lay the points. Patriots 34, Chiefs 17.

The pick: Patriots

Staff Picks

Bob Glauber: Patriots

Tom Rock: Patriots

Laura Albanese: Patriots

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