In case you’ve been living under a rock, the marquee matchup on the Week 4 NFL slate features Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough to face his old team. Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots won 215 games together from 2001 to 2019, including six Super Bowls, but parted ways unceremoniously in 2020. Brady wasted little time collecting another ring in his first season in Tampa Bay, and likely wants nothing more than to stick it to his former coach. The most anticipated game of the early season has been given the coveted Sunday Night Football time slot. With the help of Awesemo’s sports betting tool, we’ve identified the best expert NFL pick to target in this matchup, so check out the NFL bets below.
NFL Expert Betting Picks: Week 4 Sunday Night Football
The total for the Buccaneers-Patriots game opened at 49, but can be found at 49.5 by shopping for the best lines at Awesemo’s OddsShopper tool.
Tampa Bay’s first three contests have produced an average of 63.66 points, but there’s plenty of reasons to be bullish on the under in this spot.
For starters, Belichick is going to do everything he can to slow the game down. Brady has been shredding secondaries all season, but Belichick won’t devise a game plan that leaves his defensive backs in a vulnerable position. New England’s defense runs Cover 3 at one of the league’s highest rates, which is designed to force passes underneath and keep everything in front of them.
It also encourages opposing teams to run the ball, something Tampa Bay detests as evident by its league-high pass rate. Most importantly though, Cover 3 eliminates explosive plays. Only four teams have allowed less wide receiver production that the Patriots through three weeks.
Brady is too good for any scheme to completely neutralize, but Belichick is most certainly going to make him earn his points, unlike the Bucs’ previous three opponents. Brady will have Antonio Brown back at his disposal this week, but his favorite weapon, Rob Gronkowski, is doubtful with a rib injury.
On the other side of the ball, Tampa Bay’s defense has struggled mightily in 2021, but strictly in the passing game. The Bucs rank 17th in pass DVOA, but seventh in rush DVOA, and New England isn’t built to throw the football.
The Pats produce an anemic 226 passing yards per game, while rookie Mac Jones is averaging just 6.1 yards per attempt. He has thrown more interceptions (3) than touchdowns (2), and none of his receivers grade out as top-45 wideouts, per Pro Football Focus.
Last week against a strong New Orleans pass defense, Jones started 1-of-8 on throws 15-plus yards downfield, and New England is one of only three teams without a play of at least 40 yards this season.
The Pats’ offensive line, which is supposed to be a strength, ranks right around league average in pass blocking, per PFF, and allowed Jones to get hit 11 times against the Saints. The former Alabama star has been sacked six times, and under pressure on 32% of his drop backs. That doesn’t bode well with the Bucs coming to down, as Tampa Bay features a stout defensive line that can create plenty of pressure by rushing just four.
To make matters worse, New England’s most reliable pass-catcher James White, is done for the season due to a hip injury. Yards and subsequently points are going to be very hard to come by for Jones & Co.
This total of 49.5 points is a big number for these teams to clear in this matchup, which is why the under is showing a positive ROI in the Awesemo sports betting tool.
Under 49.5 (-110)
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