Patriots vs. Bucs Odds, Spread, Picks: Why We’re Betting on the Sunday Night Football Underdog (& 3 More Bets)
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Bucs QB Tom Brady, WR Mike Evans
- Tom Brady returns to Foxboro with a lot to play for: The record for most all-time passing yards and the chance to beat his old team on their home turf.
- But after analyzing the Patriots vs. Bucs odds, one of our experts has found value on betting on Bill Belichick to cover this spread, instead.
- Four of our analysts highlight their favorite Patriots vs. Bucs picks for Sunday Night Football below, featuring two player prop bets.
Patriots vs. Bucs Odds & Picks
|Bucs 1Q ML -155|
|Tom Brady Over 305.5 Pass Yards|
|Jakobi Meyers Over 63.5 Rec Yards|
Stuckey: I do see slight value in the number for the Patriots at home — even with diminished home-field advantage ratings across the league.
I assume Bill Belichick will indeed have some nuanced looks to confuse Tom Brady early on and/or simply dare the Bucs to run the ball against light boxes in a bend-don’t-break defense that will rely on getting stops in the red zone. I also assume the Pats offense will play much slower to keep Brady on the sidelines.
Can Mac Jones and an underwhelming wide receiver group exploit the undermanned Bucs secondary with an efficient short passing attack? Brady is getting all of the publicity here, and rightfully so, but I actually think that’s the key to the game.
I’m siding with the Pats at +7, which you can still find at FOX Bet as of Sunday afternoon — but it’s a small wager and I certainly wouldn’t go below +7.
Michael Arinze: I’m all in on the Buccaneers, but one specific angle I’m taking is the Bucs to win the first quarter.
When you play quality teams in the NFL, you need to show an ability to punch the ball into the end zone. That’s an area in which the Patriots have struggled in this season with their rookie quarterback. In fact, you might be surprised to learn they have the worst red-zone touchdown conversion rate (25%) in the league — even the winless Jets (33.3%) have a higher conversion rate. By contrast, the Bucs are in the NFL’s top half with a 71.4% conversion rate.
New England is 1-2 in the first quarter this season, with its lone win coming against that horrid Jets team that had an ignominious start with two interceptions in its first four plays.
As for the Buccaneers, they’re 1-0-2 in this spot despite being up against the much better competition than the Patriots.
I don’t expect New England to come out throwing the ball because its best opportunity to have a chance in this game would be to slow the pace down. Jones is coming off a game in which he threw the ball 51 times and was intercepted three times.
Running the ball might not offer much, either, as Tampa Bay’s defense is fourth in allowing 63.7 rushing yards per game and third in allowing 3.1 yards per carry. Teams are running the ball only 29.7% of the time when facing the Bucs, which is the second-lowest rate in the league.
I don’t see where the points can come from if you’re a Patriots fan.
DraftKings has the best first-quarter moneyline in the market at -155 as of writing, so I’ll look to place my action there, though I would play this up to -165.
Sean Koerner: We have to go beyond our projections for Brady as he makes his return to Foxboro.
There are certain situations like this one, in which a player’s motivation is too high to based decisions only on models. Take Justin Jefferson in Week 17 of last season as an example — the Vikings wide receiver needed 111 receiving yards to set the record for most for a rookie in NFL history. His motivation to set that record is why I bet the over on his 75.5-yard receiving prop. He finished with 133 receiving yards.
Well, Brady’s first game in New England since leaving the Patriots qualifies as a significant enough motivator, but it doesn’t hurt that he’s also only 68 yards away from unseating Drew Brees as the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader.
Give me this over up to 330.5 yards.
In order to keep this game close, Jones must attack the Bucs through the air. I expect Belichick to put the rookie signal-caller in favorable situations, meaning a majority of short to intermediate passing opportunities.
The Buccaneers’ secondary has not performed to last season’s elite level, and slot cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting is on injured reserve. Patriots wideout Jakobi Meyers leads the team in targets (29), receptions (19) and receiving yards (176). I project Meyers to be heavily involved coming off a 14-target game.
Meyers is averaging 9.3 yards per reception, translating to need seven receptions to crest this prop. Tampa Bay’s offense is likely to score points, which means New England must as well. Meyers should hit this prop regardless of game script.
I’m backing the over on Meyers’ receiving prop of 63.5 yards, and would bet it up to 64.5 yards.