Tonight’s O/U total says it all. At last check, the New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers were flirting with 54 ½. You may have seen our Tweet earlier this week about how the last five NFL games that closed with a total of 54 or higher have all hit the OVER! Is it too good to be true? Based on the way the NFL season has played out to date, possibly. However, the Patriots have to make a statement and what better time than during a prime-time matchup with all eyes on them?
We’re about to see some fireworks tonight as the Patriots defense ranks dead last in yards allowed per game (456.6) and is second worst in points allowed at 32 per pop. Tampa Bay’s defense isn’t much better through three games as it has allowed nearly 395 total yards – 315 yards via the pass – per game, which plays right into Brady’s backers’ prop bet plans.
All prop odds courtesy of Sportsbook.
Tom Brady Pass Yards O/U 315 ½
The Bet: OVER (-130)
The Buccaneers will be without starting linebacker Kwon Alexander, who has already been ruled out, while fellow linebacker Lavonte David and safeties T.J. Ward and Keith Tandy are doubtful. Tampa’s rush defense is statistically superior to the pass defense, but that’s probably because the secondary is depleted and gosh-darn awful. With so many starters on the sidelines, Brady will air it out. He’s averaging nearly 350 pass yards per game.
Tom Brady Pass Attempts O/U 39 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-105)
The thought on the UNDER here comes down to offensive efficiency. Although I don’t believe the Patriots defense will improve drastically in four days, I also think Jameis Winston will struggle to post the robust numbers expected against the worst defense in the league. This will allow the Pats to build a lead and lean on the run a little more.
The last thing the Patriots want to do tonight is get into an uptempo passing contest with Winston’s receiving corps. That got them into trouble against Carolina when the Panthers – who could only score 13 points against the Saints’ horrid defense – managed to drop 33 with Cam Newton passing for 313 yards like it was 2015.
Tom Brady Rush Yards O/U 2 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)
Two steps to hitting this over:
1) Brady is notorious for the QB sneak on third- and fourth-and-short.
2) When the pressure and blitzes come and inexperienced defensive backs and linebackers scurry to help and get lost in space, Brady steps up in the pocket, runs for 5-9 yards and slides. Voila, the OVER is hit.
Brandin Cooks Receptions O/U 4 ½
The Bet: OVER (-135)
Facing a depleted secondary and linebacker corps, this is Cooks’ best chance to remind people of the receiver he is and New England’s best opportunity to get their big offseason signee into a rhythm. He’s caught three or fewer passes in three of the first four games. Danny Amendola may vulture some as he inherits Julian Edelman’s role, but the Bucs secondary is so weak, Cooks will eat well tonight.
Touchdown Scored Anytime
The Bet: Chris Hogan (+120)
He doesn’t get all the looks, but Hogan is second only to Larry Fitzgerald in red-zone targets this season. Eight of his 26 targets have come inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. When the Patriots are closing in tonight, Hogan might have the best shot to score, especially with Gronk not expected to play, as per Adam Schefter. Tampa Bay has allowed opposing offenses to score a touchdown on 58 percent of red-zone trips.