Can Cowboys or Patriots break betting curse of the NFL’s biggest favorites?

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A 20-point favorite in the NFL is somewhat like a Siberian tiger: you know they’re out there, but you don’t see them often.

Well, someone better call National Geographic because Week 3 of the NFL season features not one – but two 20-point faves on Sunday’s odds board. The New England Patriots are currently 22.5-point home favorites hosting the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys are giving 21.5 points to the visiting Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots are no strangers to lofty pointspreads. New England just breezed through an 18-point spread on the road against the Dolphins last Sunday, cruising to a 43-0 victory (setting the table for the Miami-Dallas line), and going back to 1984 has been a favorite of 20-plus points four times in that span.

However, despite all the Super Bowl rings and decades of dominance, it would seem the one thing Tom Brady & Co. can’t conquer is the 20-plus mountain at the sportsbook. The Patriots are 0-4 ATS when giving 20 or more points to opponents, which is par for the course when it comes to these monumental handicaps.

In that same 35-year span (our Covers databases goes back as far as 1984), there have been eight NFL favorites of 20 points or more and none of those teams have covered the spread: a perfect 0-8 ATS for the greatest betting mismatches in NFL history.

Here’s a quick rundown of those odds and results:

October 13, 2013 – Jacksonville at Denver (-26.5): Denver 35-19
December 12, 2011 – Indianapolis at New England (-20.5) – New England 31-24
December 23, 2007 – Miami at New England (-22) – New England 28-7
December 16, 2007 – N.Y. Jets at New England (-20.5) – New England 20-10
November 25, 2007 – Philadelphia at New England (-24) – New England 31-28
December 5, 1993 – Cincinnati at San Francisco (-24) – San Francisco 21-8
October 11, 1987 – Atlanta at San Francisco (-23.5) – San Francisco 25-17
October 11, 1987 – Philadelphia at Dallas (-21) – Dallas 41-22

You can find the latest NFL odds for Jets-Patriots and Dolphins-Cowboys and track the line movement around these sizable spreads with the new Covers Live App (download on Apple and Android).