Getting more than frustrating now, I can’t pick a thing recently. MNF was the epitome of my season, the stats suggested that Crowder would have got around 50 yards from 5 or 6 catches. He wasn’t even targeted once and Chris Thompson was held in check by the Chiefs defence. *sigh*
New England Patriots (-5.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5.5) Total – ~55.5
5 of the last 6 games between the 2 have gone unders, although the Pats have hit the overs in every game this season.
The Partiots are the 2nd place team in the AFC East. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to say that and If someone told me that they’d have the same record as the Jets in week 4 I’d have called them stupid. The Pats have the worst defence in the league allowing 456 yards per game and each QB so far to throw for o300 yards, and while I have faith they will get it sorted they’re a bit of a mess at the moment.
Fortunately for them Tom Brady is still playing at the highest level and was very close to digging them out of a big hole against the Panthers last week dragging them back from 14 points down to level the game only for them to lose to a last second field goal. They’re second defeat of the season at Foxborough. He leads the league in passing yards with nearly 1,400, has thrown 10 TDs and 0 interceptions so far this season.
I find it pretty difficult to pick who will be the touchdown scorer each week for the Patriots as they have a lot of weapons in the passing game, Chris Hogan has 4 TDs this year and is averaging just 53 yards per game, he’s the guy I usually look at first for odds on scoring but prices have been a little skinny on him recently. Brandin Cooks is a little boom or bust I do wonder this week whether it will help or hinder that he has played against the Buccs a lot more than the other WRs in the game as he came from a divisional rival in the summer. Danny Amendola managed to make it through a game without injury last week and he got his name on the scoresheet, Brady has a good connection with him and uses him as a less talented Julian Edelman, frequent shallow targets to move the chains. Philip Dorsett was acquired in the Brissett trade and likely wasn’t meant to be used much in the air game but injuries have meant he’s been included, although to a minimal extent so far.
Gronk has done what he does at tight end, he averaged 20 yards a carry last week and is at nearly 16 ypc on the season. He’s still arguably the main aerial target when they get near the end zone scoring twice so far this season. Interestingly one of the plays I saw this week went to the backup, who wasn’t Dwayne Allen as I thought it would have been at the start of the season, but Jacob Hollister who failed to haul in the attempt.
They have a plethora of options at running back too, last week apparently was Dion Lewis’ turn to get the touchdowns, he got a goal line carry and made the most of it running it into the corner of the end zone. Mike Gillislee still got the majority of the carries though with 12 for 49, he is still the usual goal line back if they get inside 2 yards so you can never dismiss him. Someone I’ve been higher on all season is James White, I’ve had a couple of losing bets on his combined yards which are usually around 55-60, so gave it a miss this week, he went for 54 this week, 1 rush and 10 receptions. I’m still convinced there’s a blow up (2 or 3 TD) game somewhere for White, but I think i’m going to have to give up on backing him for now. And I haven’t even mentioned Rex Burkhead who should return from injury this week, he saw a fair bit in the passing game against the Saints before leaving with a rib injury so if he goes then it may take away from White.
The Buccs have won their last 6 home game leading back to the end of last season, if they win this one then they will set a new franchise record. It won’t be easy, but as stated above the Patriots defence has been the worst in the league so far this season.
Jameis Winston has the potential to be a top Quarterback in this league, but he has to cut out the silly throws that he seems to make far too often. This week just gone was one of his better games, against a very good Giants defence he finished 22 of 38 for 332 yards, 3 TDs and Zero interceptions. That’s the kind of statline he will have to put up to keep up with the Patriots on Thursday.
He spread the ball around the week just gone, but his favourite target is, and should be Mike Evans, he’s just bigger and better than most of the CBs he faces on a weekly basis, and with the other options about he’s loving just getting single coverage for the first time in his career. I thought it would have been the addition of Desean Jackson which freed up Evans, and it may well be, but his figures haven’t been too good so far this season, averaging about 47 yards per game, by no means awful but not great. He was brought in for his downfield threat, the longest catch he’s had so far this year is 32 yards. It may seem like unfair critisism because him just simply being there frees up so much space for everyone else which may explain why Adam Humphries in the slot and both tight ends put up big numbers last week. With the safeties having to be wary of Jacksons pace there were some huge plays for everyone else. OJ Howard had a 58 yard touchdown getting more open than any tight end ever should be and strolling into the end zone, Cameron Brate had a long of 35 (80 total) and got himself another TD, and Humphries had a long of 38 last week (from 70). It all bodes well for the Buccs offense as a whole.
The running backs haven’t fully got going yet, Jacquizz Rodgers had a pretty decent week with 83 from 16 carries, a nice average on the night, but he doesn’t pose the threat that Doug Martin will probably do when he returns. He is due back this week and has said he will “be as ready as he can be” which is a little ominous, but after not being allowed to train with the team it’s about as much as he can say! He looked great in pre-season so should hopefully get back to that level once he gets up to speed. Charles Sims offers a pass catching ability from the backfield which they used a little last week as well.
We will need to check back on Wednesday/Thursday night to get a health check on the defensive injuries that ruled a few guys out last week, they dealt well enough with one dimensional Giants offense, but this will be an entirely different challenge for them. Missing their top two linebackers and 2 of their safeties should mean that the Pats target the middle of the field, but that remains to be seen.
This is a really tough match to call, seems like I’m saying that every game at the moment. I can’t take overs on the totals, 55 is far too high for a bet. I’m also struggling with the handicap line as it’s about right. I would lean towards the home team getting 5 points, but it’s by no means a certainty in my eyes.
With more time to look into it all this week (no stag dos or nights out) I’m hoping to prove that the last couple of weeks have been a blip rather than the norm for me. I think I need to get back to simplicity and stop trying to hit the jackpot so frequently. We shall see.
This is pretty tough for tonight because if it goes to plan and form there could be 6 or 7 touchdowns so it’s tough trying to figure out who to leave out and what to actually bet on. If we’d been 20 points up on the year and winning weekly I may have tipped up more, but given the form I’m in at the moment I don’t want to go over the top
A couple for tonight – (all best priced at Skybet unless stated)
- Hogan anytime – 6/4 – 2pts
- Brate anytime – 5/2 – 2pts
- Mike Evans and Chris Hogan BPTS – 5/1 – 1pt
- Jameis Winston o280.5 (Skybet) – 10/11 1pt
- Jameis Winton longest pass completion o37.5 (365) – 4/5 – 1pt
There’s a whole host of Both players to score on Skybet, I wouldn’t play any with Jacquizz Rodgers or Brandin Cooks in, but tbh any of the others are quite possible. I could feasibly see Gronk, Hogan, Evans, Brate all scoring tonight.