NFL Week 5: TNF – Patriots at Buccaneers
We had a robust Thursday Night Football two weeks ago when the Rams and 49ers got into a shootout, but the inferior product was back on last week as the Bears took care of the Packers. However, there looks to be some hope this week with Thursday’s game has the highest total of Week 5 at 54-55 points.
New England Patriots -6 (-105) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6 (-115) Total: 55
It’s October 5, and just like we thought, the Buffalo Bills are leading the AFC East with a 3-1 record. Wait, what? Yes, it’s the Bills who have a commanding leading in the East, not perennial divisional crown-holder, New England. Of course, there’s a lot of season left to go, but it has not been good for the defending champions, at least so far.
Offensively, they have looked good. Tom Brady, has looked magnificent. He hasn’t thrown an interception all season and has already thrown for nearly 1,400 yards passing in just four games. The Super Bowl MVP did all he could to help his team last week, but the Pats still fell at home to the Panthers by a score of 33-30.
It would be hard-pressed to find a worse defense than New England this season. They’re the primary reason for their 2-2 start. Opponents are averaging 7.2 yards per play against the unit. They will need to get better if the franchise has hopes of another title.
Tampa Bay was a trendy, dark horse pick for the Super Bowl this season and they have started off the year strong. They’re now 3-1 after defeating the visiting Giants last week in a 25-23 nail-biter. However, if we look at the Buccaneers schedule so far, it’s been easy, at least based on what we’ve seen so far.
They took care of the Bears in Week 1, but Chicago is 1-3 on the year. They were beaten severely in Week 2 by the Case Keenum-lead, Vikings, which looked excellent subbing in for Sam Bradford against the Buccaneers secondary. Their narrow victory last week came against a 0-4 New York team.
The Patriots opened as a -5 favorite, but there hasn’t been a ton of movement on the game, despite New England getting about 70 percent of wagers. Bovada has the Patriots at -6 at -115 and the Buccaneers -6 at +100. Most other sportsbooks are sitting at NE -5 or -5.5.
Betting has favored the total slightly, which has gone up from the 53.5 opener to 54.5 at Bovada.
Picking a side in tonight’s game is tough for me. I’ve seen how bad New England’s offense is, but I am still thinking that Belichick, even on the road, even on a short week, should be able to gameplan for a quarterback that is still young and developing.
Let’s also acknowledge the opponent quality they have had so far. The Giants and Bears are not exactly defensive juggernauts. The best defense they have faced, Minnesota, held them to just 17 total points. There’s certainly a chance they have issues moving it tonight, despite the high total.
For New England, Gronk has shown up on the injury reports, and they have several defensive starters injured. The Patriots may opt for a run-heavy approach, mainly if they get a lead early. If they employ that gameplan and Tampa don’t run the gauntlet on offense – this one has a good shot of staying under.
Pick: Under 54.5 at Bovada