NFL

Sunday Night Football Betting: Tom Brady Returns to New England

If you like some spice, this Sunday Night Football matchup is for you.

Tom Brady is bringing the Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to New England, a place he played his first 20 seasons in the NFL.

Oh, baby.

This is one of the headline matchups of the entire season.

While our power rankings aren't high on the current iteration of the New England Patriots, ranking them 18th, the Brady-led Buccaneers clock in as the 8th-best team overall.

The road Bucs are commanding 7.0-point favorites, and the game has a 49.5-point total, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Let's dive into what we think could be some interesting betting angles for this contest.

What's Gonna Go Down in New England?

With just Brady returning to Boston, this game has loads of mega hyped to be played.

But Brady has an opportunity to break both the all-time passing record, as he currently sits 68 yards short of breaking the record held by Drew Brees.

As we gear up for this game, Brady has been, well, Brady.

Using our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, the dude has been a monster yet again, posting a mark of 0.23 Passing NEP per drop back this season. The GOAT apparently is Benjamin Button and only getting better as time goes on.

This is a pass-heavy offense, too: the Bucs are passing the ball at a 3:1 ratio to the run. They also easily lead the league in context-based pass rate.

On the flip side, Mac Jones has not been as good. In fact, he has been nowhere close.

The rookie has logged a mark of -0.09 Passing NEP per drop back. That means that the Patriots lose, on average, a point from the scoreboard after every 11 drop backs from Jones.

Yikes.

He has clearly formed a connection with wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who has 29 targets through the first three games. So that's at least a fantasy football positive.

One thing the Bucs need to clean up is the defense. They currently rank 21st against the pass, according to numberFire's metrics, and were shredded in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams last week.

Bets to Consider

The Buccaneers are hefty 7.0-point favorites for this contest, over at the FanDuel Sportsbook.

We like New England's ability to cover as a home 'dog, and betting against Belichick anytime is a scary exercise. We expect the Pats to cover 52.08% of the time.

We also see value on the total. Our projected total is 47.58 points, giving the under a solid 55.63% chance to cover.

In the player-prop market, there's a lot of spots I'm all over.

First, Meyers is clearly the favored target of Mac Jones. He has 29 targets through the first three weeks, so the over on his receptions prop of 5.5 catches seems like a slam dunk. Meyers has notched 6, 4, and 9 catches thus far, and the Patriots should have passing volume as they play from behind, given their underdog status.

Any Brady-specific props seem like a good bet, too. He's got plenty of motivation, so a Brady prop of 2.5 passing touchdowns seems like it has value too. numberFire projects Brady for 2.28 passing touchdowns after he has recorded 4, 5, and 1 in a pass-heavy offense.

Historical Betting Trends

-- The Patriots were 2-1 straight up as a home underdog last season.
-- When these two teams have played, in recent history, the under has hit seven of the last eight times.
-- Interestingly, the Bucs have not fared well in prime time. They are 1-4 straight-up and against the spread in their last five games.