New England Patriots (4-2, 3-3 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6, 1-5 ATS), Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday, Oct. 25th, 1 PM Eastern, CBS
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Patriots -14 1/2/Buccaneers +14.5
Bet this game at a sportsbook that offers 20 point teasers, the ability to move the line 15 points on any side or total, pleasers and more props than you can shake a stick at: 5Dimes.
It’s too bad that for the NFL’s now-annual goodwill game across the pond the league can’t provide the Brits and all the expats over there with a decent match-up. But somehow, perhaps with a little help from a pint or two, the expected 80,000 or so who’ll go to see the New England Patriots beat up on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday in Londontown, they’ll probably get through it.
Pre-season Super Bowl favorite New England, coming off a 59-0 win over the Tennessee Titans Sunday, sits at 4-2 and leads the AFC East by a game over the 3-3 New York Jets. And even with a couple of losses, the Patriots remain one of the betting favorites everywhere to win the Super Bowl in February.
Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is a reclamation project. After dumping Coach Gruden over the off-season and giving DB coach Morris the head job, the Bucs are 0-6, after losing at home Sunday to the Carolina Panthers 28-21, giving up 267 yards on the ground.
And there’s no need to even mention their place in the standings.
Most online NFL betting outlets opened this game with New England favored by 14 points over Tampa, with an over/under of 45. And while the total had held steady in early betting action, the Pats have been bumped at least half a point, to 14 , at most places.
The Patriots are also moneylined at right around -1050 at most sportsbooks, with the Buccaneers getting upwards of +790.
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New England has beaten Buffalo, Atlanta, Baltimore and Tennessee this season, and lost to the Jets and at Denver. Through those six games the Patriots are outgaining their opponents on average by a 405-293 YPG margin, and outrushing foes 116-113. And they rank second in the league in average time-of-possession at +10:00 per game.
Tampa has lost this season to Dallas, Buffalo, the Giants, Washington, Philadelphia and Carolina by an average score of 28-15. The Bucs are getting outgained 370-278, outrushed 172-100, and rank 21st in TOP at -2:08 PG.
New England QB Tom Brady racked up some silly statistics Sunday vs. a depleted Tennessee defense, as in six TDs. On the season, though, Golden Boy has looked mortal at times. Overall, Brady has completed 65% of his passes so far this year for 7.2 YPA, which ranks lower-middle among starters, with 12 TDs and two INTs, and a 99.0 passers rating.
Tampa began this season with Byron Leftwich starting at QB, but after an 0-3 start, he was replaced by 2nd-year man Josh Johnson. In his three starts, the former San Diego Torero has completed just 55% of his throws for a meager 5.3 YPA, three TDs, five INTs and a 58.9 QB rating. He’s also been sacked 10 times and fumbled an alarming seven times, five times Sunday, luckily losing just one.
In playing their one common opponent so far this season, the Patriots outgained Buffalo 441-276 and held the ball for 37 minutes, but needed two touchdowns in the last two minutes to avoid an upset as 10-point home chalk back in week one. Tampa, meanwhile, fell behind 17-0 at Buffalo in week two, got outgained 438-353 and lost 33-20 as four-point dogs on the road.
The Bucs have now lost 10 straight regular-season games.
These two teams haven’t met in a game that counted since the Pats kicked the Bucs 28-0 in December of 2005.
The totals are 3-3 in Patriots games this year, which have averaged a very average 42 PP. Tampa games are averaging 43 points, and their totals have gone 4-2.
Through the first six weeks of NFL betting action, double-digit favorites have won 14 of 15 games outright (the only loser being the Eagles Sunday at Oakland), and are 10-5 vs. the pointspreads.
Sagarin’s NFL PURE POINTS ratings at USAToday.com rates the Patriots at 30.8, the Bucs at 7.8. So with no home-field advantage figure to throw in, New England is a 23-point favorite over Tampa on the Sagarin line.
Z-Man’s Pick: The Bucs just don’t have what it takes to stay close to opposing teams. Their defense is horrible. Lay the wood with the Patriots and look for a 4 touchdown win.