Bet 'Under' for Patriots vs. Chiefs Monday Night Football

Jason Lake

Sunday, September 28, 2014 4:50 PM GMT

Who’s got the best defense in the NFL? It could be the New England Patriots, who have turned the tables on the NFL odds by driving the UNDER to a 2-1 record – same as their Monday night opponents, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jason’s record after Week 3: 6-13 ATS, 3-3-1 Totals
Profit: minus-13.6 units

Take everything you knew about the New England Patriots, and chuck it out the window. Here’s a team that used to be known for its mesmerizing offense under QB/GQ Tom Brady. Defense, on the other hand, hasn’t been featured in Foxborough since the Patriots went undefeated during the 2007 regular season. Until now: According to Football Outsiders, New England has the NFL’s most efficient defense going into Monday night’s contest (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) against the Kansas City Chiefs.

That’s one stathead website’s opinion, though. Pro Football Reference sees things a bit differently; they’ve gi

ven New England’s defense a plus-0.9 SRS (Simple Rating System) after three weeks, just barely above the indexed 0.0 average. So whom do you trust for your NFL picks when it comes to Monday Night Football and betting on the NFL total? We’re looking at an over/under of 46.5 points as we go to press, up from 45 points at the open despite 60 percent of bettors pounding the UNDER.

 

Access Denied
Firstly, we have to point out that three weeks is still a small sample size. It’s better than a kick in the helmet, but we have to expect some variance among NFL analysts at this point of the season. Things should smooth out later on as we all discover what these teams are made of. Rather than debate whether or not New England’s defense truly is the “best” in the league – like that exists – let’s recognize that two leading football analytics websites have the Patriots performing above average in this category.

Now that’s something we can back up. The Patriots have only allowed 49 points after three games, all of them on defense. Only three teams (Cincinnati, Detroit, Arizona) have allowed fewer. The caveat: New England’s last two games were against the Minnesota Vikings, sans Adrian Peterson, and the Oakland Raiders. These are two of the worst offenses in the league by just about any measurement.

We wouldn’t go quite as far as putting the Chiefs offense in the same bucket, but Kansas City is ranked No. 24 in offensive DVOA after three weeks, and that minus-4.5 SRS isn’t doing much for the Chiefs, either. However, they did maul the Miami Dolphins 34-15 last Sunday (OVER 43) after cashing in the UNDER in Weeks 1 and 2. That last result was against a decent Miami defense, and without RB Jamaal Charles (ankle), who’s been upgraded from questionable to probable for Monday night.

 

Thomas the Stank Engine
But let’s get back to Monsieur Brady for a moment. You may have noticed that the long knives have started coming out in the mainstream media. Is Tom Brady (82.9 passer rating) washed up at age 37? Or can we blame his performance on the offensive line and the receiving corps, like most people did last year when Tom Brady posted an 87.3 passer rating, his worst since the Patriots last won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2004 campaign?

Again, for the purposes of betting on Monday night’s NFL odds total, it doesn’t really matter that much whom is to blame. Football is a team sport, and a quarterback is only as good as his offensive line and his receivers. As a team, the Patriots rank No. 23 in offensive efficiency heading into Week 4, and their minus-3.5 SRS on offense backs up that evaluation. This is exactly the kind of weak offense/strong defense dynamic we love to see when we’re betting the UNDER. Even more promising, the total has been rising despite early action on the UNDER. How high will the over/under climb before kick-off?

Free NFL Pick: Bet one unit on UNDER 46.5 at 5Dimes

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