Monday Night Football Betting Preview: Can Brian Hoyer and the Patriots Hang With the Chiefs?

Which bets have value on the first of two games on Monday night?

One of the best matchups of the Week 4 slate was set to take place in Kansas City between the Chiefs and New England Patriots.

The game got pushed to Monday night after Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. The team announced that Brian Hoyer will start under center.

The spread has now moved to 11.5 in favor of the home Chiefs over at FanDuel Sportsbook with an over/under of 49.5 points.

Can Hoyer Hang?

As far as overall team strength, the Chiefs rate out as numberFire's second-best squad, with a nERD score of 7.39, meaning they'd beat an average team at a neutral site by 7.39 points. The Patriots rank fourth at 5.85.

Of course, the drop from Newton to Hoyer is significant. Newton was performing above the NFL average in our Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back metric and in our Passing Success Rate metric.

In his five seasons with at least 100 drop backs, Hoyer has just one performed above league average in Passing NEP per drop back and most recently (in 2017) put up -0.09 Passing NEP per drop back when the league average was 0.06.

Mahomes, meanwhile, has been 0.17, 0.28, and 0.19 points per drop back better than the NFL average over the past three seasons, respectively. It's pretty easy to see why the Chiefs are favored by 11.5 points with this quarterback discrepancy.

Standout Bets

Our algorithm likes one bet as a three-of-five-star rating, and that's the Patriots +10.5 points. Teams representing the Patriots covered the spread in 14 of the 25 most similar historical games to this matchup in our database, and 14 of those 25 games hit the under, which means a tighter spread could be in the cards.

The Patriots are currently 24th in seconds per play, via FootballOutsiders, and though they jump up to 13th when adjusting for score and situation, it stands to reason that they'll do what they can to limit the number of plays that the Chiefs' offense gets to see. That would play into the game being a bit tighter than it looks like it could get to based on how good the Chiefs' offense is (fifth currently, based on Adjusted NEP per play).

The Patriots' defensive demise has been a little overstated, and when adjusting for opponent, they're currently eighth in pass defense and ninth overall. That's not to claim that the Chiefs will get stifled, but it's another reason to like the algorithm's bet of Patriots +10.5.

Same Game Parlay Options

At FanDuel Sportsbook, you can bet parlays within this same game, and there are a few that look like promising options.

Option 1:
Leg 1: Patrick Mahomes under 293.5 passing yards
Leg 2: Clyde Edwards-Helaire over 72.5 rushing yards
Odds: +224

Given the point spread here, we should expect a Chiefs win, fairly comfortably, and that should put us on a specific game script for the Chiefs. Since 2016, quarterbacks favored by at least 10 points average around 94% of their projected passing yardage numbers, and we already project Mahomes for just 269.8 yards. Mahomes' downfield attempt rate of 9.1% is well off the league average of 17.3%, as his average target depth of 5.3 yards (league average is 7.9). Without a likely need to sling it, we could see Mahomes hit the under on 293.5.

That should put an added emphasis on Edwards-Helaire's rushing total. We currently project CEH for 70.6 rushing yards, but if Mahomes hits the under, we're probably looking at extra rush attempts for Edwards-Helaire, and the Patriots are 26th in Rushing Success Rate allowed to backs.

Option 2
Leg 1: N'Keal Harry over 40.5 receiving yards
Leg 2: N'Keal Harry to score
Odds: +572

The Chiefs are the best wide receiver defense in football through three weeks, but we should probably anticipate passing volume from the Patriots in this game. Harry should be a big part of that because we saw him garner 12 targets in the only game where the Patriots threw more than 28 times. Harry's low average target depth of 6.3 yards should lead to some high-floor targets from Hoyer in this game, and he would need only six targets at his low yards-per-target rate of 6.6 to get to 39.6, and that's only if he doesn't regress positively to the league average at all. We should be okay banking on the volume for Harry, who numberFire projects to get 42.3 yards and 0.24 touchdowns. This is a play for volume leading to production.