Zylbert’s NFL Over/Unders: Brady, Belichick Meet Familiar Face Sunday Night
Sep 16, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) runs on the field prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Betting odds: New England Patriots at Detroit Lions
- Over/Under: 54
- Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: NBC
Zylbert’s 2018 NFL Over/Under Betting Record: 1-1-1, -0.1 units
Last Week’s Result: Raiders-Broncos Under 45.5 (WIN)
New Lions head coach Matt Patricia — off to an inauspicious 0-2 start — spent 14 years working under Patriots mastermind Bill Belichick before finally receiving an opportunity to lead his own team ahead of the 2018 season.
On this week’s Sunday Night Football matchup, New England’s former defensive coordinator squares off with his ex-boss at home in a game that just oozes potential for over/under betting value.
You might be thinking, “Didn’t Patricia get to see the great Tom Brady every game up close while also being able to practice against him on a daily basis?” And that’s a fair point that could potentially stunt a juggernaut Patriots offense.
But au contraire, I think it will have an opposite effect in more ways than one. Obviously, Patricia and Belichick know each other very well, but when it comes down to it, how can you not give the advantage to the latter?
The five-time Super Bowl champion does own a 14-8 record against his former assistants, after all.
Thus, expect Belichick to game plan in the best possible way, while his future Hall of Fame quarterback does the rest. There’s just too much evidence that points to one of Brady’s signature dominant outings.
First, this will involve Brady and Co. coming off a loss. That’s significant because dating back to the 2012 season, the Patriots have sustained 20 regular-season losses with Brady under center, and in the follow-up game (including playoff contests if New England dropped the final game of the season) they’ve averaged more than 30 points.
Brady, obviously, is the driving force behind this trend. In his performances following a loss, he’s averaged 276.5 passing yards per game. In addition, he’s totaled 38 touchdowns compared to just 10 interceptions.
He’s arguably the greatest of all time, but when his most recent affair involves a defeat, he turns it up even more.
We’ll also be leaning on Brady’s excellence indoors. Yes, the three-time MVP has played better at home than on the road throughout his storied career, but whenever he’s suited up in an indoor setting, it’s just a different story.
Brady has made 19 regular-season starts in a dome, completing 68% of his passes for 5,449 yards (286.8 per game), while racking up 43 touchdowns versus 16 interceptions. And that doesn’t include his legendary Super Bowl performances that were held indoors.
He’s not exactly facing a tough defense, either. At this early juncture in the campaign, nobody has surrendered more points than the Lions, who have already allowed a whopping 78 points in two games.
On top of that, they’re likely going to be without Darius Slay (concussion), easily the best player in their secondary.
We’ll also hope that new Patriots receiver Josh Gordon gets his first action with his new club. Despite not having much time to learn the offense, his presence alone can make a sizable impact, especially with Patricia conceding that he would be a “little bit difficult” to account for since there isn’t “anything on tape as far as what they’re going to do with him.”
With an over/under this high, you really want to have two offenses capable of lighting up the scoreboard, and that will be the case in this one.
Despite a winless start, the Lions’ offense has performed just fine, plating 22 points per contest. Matthew Stafford owns a suspect 76.7 passer rating through two games — mostly thanks to the four picks he threw in the opener — but has still accumulated the sixth-most passing yards per game (316.5) while recording four touchdowns.
Stafford will be in a spot to keep piling up the numbers. He boasts one of the league’s most dangerous receiving trios — Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones — and he’ll be at home, which is important given his splits since first entering the league in 2009.
In his career, the 30-year-old quarterback has registered a passer rating that is considerably higher at Ford Field (90.8) than on the road (85.3). In his home starts, he’s also tallied 22 more touchdowns in nearly the same number of games. He’s thrown for more yards per game in Detroit, as well.
Let’s also recall that New England gave up the third-most passing yards in the NFL a year ago. This season, the Patriots have been getting gashed on the ground thus far (135.5 rushing yards allowed per contest), which could open things up for a Detroit running game that is looking to break out.
It can be stressful taking an over as high as 54, since there’s basically no room for error. But with these two offenses going at it in a venue that can be very welcoming for points, it’s a bet worth making.
Play: OVER 54 (-110)
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.