Zylbert’s NFL Over/Unders: Will the Showdown in Foxboro Result in Offensive Explosion?
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12).
Betting odds: Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots
- Spread: Patriots -5
- Over/Under: 49.5
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- Channel: FOX
Zylbert’s 2018 NFL Over/Under Betting Record: 6-5-2, +0.4 units
Last Week’s Result: Browns-Bengals Under 47 (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
This matchup between the Vikings and Patriots isn’t carrying nearly the same amount of hype Chiefs-Rams did a couple of weeks ago — despite being the only game from the daytime slate featuring two legitimate playoff contenders — but don’t be surprised if it plays out in a similar manner with the offenses having their way.
One of the most underrated constants in sports will be at work on Sunday, with Tom Brady and Co. set to take the field at Gillette Stadium. Prior to last season, the Patriots averaged more than 30 points per game at Foxboro for a mind-blowing eight consecutive seasons with Brady under center (including the playoffs).
While that streak came to a halt in the 2017 campaign, they weren’t far off from that benchmark either, scoring a perfectly acceptable 29.4 points.
Perhaps most impressive of all, the over went a remarkable 54-28-1 at Gillette (not including the Jacoby Brissett starts) within that span — a success rate of almost 66%.
This season, it’s been more of the same. While the over is only 2-3 in their first five home games, the Patriots have been doing their part once again, currently averaging a whopping 35.4 points per contest. In fact, the 27 points they plated in the opener was their lowest point total at home to date.
This marvelous consistency at home has long been a trademark of New England’s perennial dominance. In the past 10 years, the Patriots have scored fewer than 20 points only six times out of all 88 home outings started by Brady.
Remarkably, the last such instance came back on the final day of the 2014 campaign — and that was because Brady played only the first half of a game that was meaningless.
With home-field advantage in the AFC still very much up for grabs, look for that potent Patriots offense to churn out its usual home effort. Brady has his full assortment of weapons in play after all, including a fully healthy Rob Gronkowski.
They’ll be facing off with a quality Vikings defense, but it isn’t the same vaunted unit from a year ago that led the league in fewest points and yards allowed. They’ve especially looked vulnerable on the road, giving up 26 points per game away from home this season.
Of course, one of the main reasons to like this over is that the Vikings are one of the few teams in the NFL that can keep up with the Pats in the event of a potential shootout.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is in the midst of a career year, on pace to reach 30 touchdowns for the first time while also registering his highest-ever completion percentage (71.1%). Suffice to say, the Vikings have received quite the return on their big investment in Year 1.
It’s not hard to see why, as Cousins boasts arguably the best 1-2 punch at wide receiver in all of football with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Furthermore, he has a healthy Dalvin Cook at his disposal after the sensational second-year running back missed all of October. His presence along with Latavius Murray provides Minnesota with a very formidable rush attack.
But the key item above all that could propel this Vikings offense to a high-scoring afternoon is that Cousins will be suiting up on the road. Why is this significant?
In his seven-year career, the former Washington Redskin has made 33 starts away from home. Within that sample size, the over went an absurd 24-8-1 (!!), with Cousins’ teams averaging a very respectable 24.5 points in those games.
One thing appears to be certain: there is going to be at least one crooked number on the scoreboard when all is said and done. With the winning team likely needing to exceed 30 points, it looks like there should be enough here to produce a final score on the high side. I got this over in at 49 on the app a couple of days ago and I recommend buying the half-point if your book doesn’t have that.
Play: OVER 49 (-110)