The NFL odds favor the Pats at home here at -3.5, with a total of 41.5. Let’s see if there is some value in this game, so follow along as we see what kind of edge we might be able to uncover for our sports picks.
It was the tale of two teams in Week 1 of the exhibition games, as the Patriots easily took care of the Eagles, while the Bucs got destroyed by the Ravens. Tom Brady commented that he thought the offense was surgical last week, but now they face a seemingly tougher defense in Tampa.
Tougher they may be on paper, but in limited work last week, the Ravens put up 24 points in the 2nd quarter, even after the starters were taken out after the first quarter. If the Ravens’ banged up, 2nd string offense can do that, what do you think Brady is going to do this week if he plays? That is kind of a question headed into this week.
Belichick yourself before you wreck yourself
While I imagine Bill Belichick will want to test his running game again against a much tougher Bucs team, if Tampa plays like they did in Week 1, it’s going to be more of the same. Personally, I am really excited to see LeGarrette Blount go up against his former team once Steven Ridley has a go at them. Blount against the 2nd string defense of his old team might be must-see-TV, and may also give the Pats a big advantage in this game. Settling scores can have an effect on preseason matchups, and Blount was run right out of town last season when Greg Schiano came in.
With that being said, the only real thing holding me back from jumping on the Patriots now is that last preseason, Brady played in Week 1 of the preseason, but was held out in Week 2. If Brady does sit, that would turn this game from having a lot of value to having almost none. If Brady can’t come out and at least put some points on the board to help New England get ahead, I am scared for this pick. So, if Belichick decides to rest his franchise quarterback, do not lay the points with New England.
The Sharp Pick
However, assuming Brady does start this game, I am buying the half-point and laying -3 with New England for my NFL picks. With the new additions on offense, Brady will need some time integrating them into the team. I could see him playing another couple of series in this game before heading to the bench, and as long as it happens that way, the Pats are the bet.
With the win last week, Belichick improved to 36-32-6 ATS in his preseason coaching career, and as long as we buy the half-point (don't be stingy!) to knock them down to -3, I think the NFL odds of cashing a ticket will move in our favor. As long as Brady is set to start the game, I’m laying the points.
NFL Pick: Pick the Patriots at -3 (-120) at Bet365
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