How does any NFL team derail a healthy, motivated and inspired Tom Brady?
The Cincinnati Bengals are next to try and come up with an answer and we wish them all the luck in the world. They’re going to need it.
It was easy, when the Bengals got off to a 1-2 start, to claim the Bengals are better than their record suggested. Their losses came to the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers, strong Super Bowl favorites.
But with a trip to Gillette Stadium on the horizon, in which they’ll face the 4-1 New England Patriots and a fired-up Brady, are the Bengals close to falling to 2-4 on the year?
It appears so.
Beating the Patriots at home is about as easy as getting Donald Trump to listen to reason.
Since the start of the 2007 NFL season, Brady is 25-0 straight up at home against non-divisional AFC teams. That’s what you call a guarantee. No wonder the line on this game, which opened at New England being 6.5 favorites, has since increased to 8 points.
New England is an AFC best 20-9-2 against the spread at home since 2013. Contrastingly, the Bengals haven’t won on the road against the Patriots since 1986, when Cincinnati had Boomer Esiason, James Brooks and Cris Collinsworth at their disposal.
New England is 5-0 straight up in its last five home games against Cincinnati. The over/under is set at 47 for this game and the total has gone over in five of the last seven Patriots-Bengals meetings.
But there is one cautionary note when backing New England: The Patriots are 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 games against the Bengals.
The Patriots were the first double-digit road favorite of the season at -10.5 last week in Cleveland. They easily covered in a 33-13 romp over the Browns. Strapping on the helmet in front of the home fans for the first time since his return, Brady figures to be even more motivated to put on a show this week.
Though he missed the first month of the season, you can still get 12-1 odds at Sportsbook.ag on Brady winning the NFL MVP award for the third time in his career. And maybe because he didn’t have Brady for the first four games, BIll Belichick is at 9-1 odds to win NFL coach of the year, which is a pretty low number for a head coach with four Super Bowl titles.
Of the last 34 Super Bowl winners, 29 of them began the season with a 3-1 record, which coincidentally was New England’s standing through four games. Maybe that explains why the Patriots, at +375, remain Bodog’s Super Bowl favorites, dropping from an opening line of +850.
You’ll also find New England topping the Super Bowl future books at +400 with Bet365, William Hill, Sports Interaction and BetOnline, and you can get +415 odds at 5Dimes.
New England’s LeGarrette Blount is currently seventh in the NFL in rushing with 389 yards and you can get +12500 on him to lead the league in that category at Bet365. Interesting to note that he’s second in the league with 106 carries, so you know he’s being called upon frequently. He’s on pace to obliterate last season’s totals of 165 carries and 703 yards. Just remember that his carries will invariably decrease with Brady back under center.
Not surprisingly, since he missed a month, Bet365 has Brady at long-shot +2000 to lead the NFL in passing yards. Tight end Rob Gronkowski sits at +4000 to lead the NFL in receiving yards. You can get +7500 on Julian Edelman in the same category.
The individual is never more valuable than the sum of its parts, so any New England wagers you’ll want to consider should be big-picture items – game outcomes, divisional and conference winning odds and of course, Super Bowl odds.
Here’s another to ponder: the over/under on Patriots wins this season at Bet365 is 10.5. They just have to go 7-4 the rest of the way to make that happen.
With Brady back on board, that sounds like a fairly safe bet to us.