Expected to dominate the AFC East once again, the Patriots have one of the easier regular-season schedules in the 2018. Questions surrounding quarterback Tom Brady's playing status have fans on red alert, however. Here's a look at New England's dates, including the best games to target against the spread.
Will Tom Brady play this season or not? Those close to the quarterback believe he will return (of course he will). Brady, who turns 41 in August, skipped New England’s voluntary offseason workouts — though not for the first time in his storied career. Pats fans have every right to be nervous and worried about a sudden retirement. They are 196-54 SU (78.4 percent) in the regular season with the five-time Super Bowl champ tossing more than 10 passes in a game. With a 2018 schedule ranking as the 10th easiest in the NFL, another quality Super Bowl run is in the forecast if Brady returns.
Below you will find the Patriots’ straight-up and against-the-spread records from last year’s NFL regular season, including average margin of victory, 2017 average odds, 2017 win totals and 2018 pre-scheduled betting win totals and projected strength of schedule using opponents’ combined record from 2017.
2017 SU Record: 13-3 (10.1 avg. margin)
2017 ATS Record: 10-5-1 (1.2 avg. margin)
2017 Average Line: -8.9
2017 Win Total: 12.5 (+100)
2018 5Dimes Win Total (pre-schedule): 11.5 (-140)
2018 Strength of Schedule: T-22, opponents were 124-132 (.484)Three Games to Back ATS
Texans, Week 1 & Colts, Week 4
The Patriots are 16-8 ATS hosting AFC South opponents as the betting favorites with Brady under center. In fact, the results are often double-digit routs. New England is easily covering a -9.1 average spread by 9.2 points per game in this situation.
@Jaguars, Week 2
Backing Brady against top passing defenses is plus expected value. On the road, he is 24-12-1 ATS facing a defense that yielded fewer than 200 yards per game through the air the prior season. New England puts up 28.3 points per contests. Against non-divisional foes, the record improves to 12-5-1 ATS, the Pats covering a -2.0 line by 5.5 points per game. Jacksonville topped the NFL allowing 190.1 opponent passing yards per game in 2017.
Three Games to Fade ATS
@ Bears, Week 7
New England plays three in a row at Foxboro before heading to Chicago to take on the Bears in Week 7. Brady is just 8-9-1 ATS on the road as a starter against non-divisional foes coming off two home games. Versus those owning a negative point differential from the previous season, the record dips to 3-7 ATS. The Bears finished with a -3.4 average margin. Chicago will likely kick off an overlay.
@Bills, Week 8 & @ Jets, Week 12
It’s tough to find spots to fade the Pats against the spread. Laying plenty of points on the road against divisional foes is often the best opportunity. With Brady under center, New England is 5-8 ATS when favored by more than a touchdown at AFC East opponents. The first of two meetings against the Bills and Jets in 2018 will likely flirt with this situation.
Trap Game Potential
Vikings, Week 13
New England hosts the Vikings sandwiched in between a pair of road games. This poses a problem, particularly because it is an out-of-conference matchup. Including the playoffs, Brady is just 16-10 SU and 10-15-1 ATS versus NFC foes with a positive point differential in the second half of the season. This situation accounts for 16 percent of all the quarterback’s straight-up losses in his Canton-bound career.