We suffered a tough second loss of the season last week, dropping the Cowboys-49ers (Under 48) game by a couple of points in a bet that really could have went either way.
That means both of my defeats this year have been by a combined five points, so at least I’ve been on target with every single over/under wager thus far. I expect that to continue with this Week 8 best bet.
Matt Zylbert’s 2017 NFL Over/Under Betting Record: 5-2, +280
Week 1: ARI/DET O48 (WIN)
Week 2: SF/SEA U42 (WIN)
Week 3: CIN/GB O44 (WIN)
Week 4: PHI/LAC O46 (WIN)
Week 5: JAC/PIT O42 (loss)
Week 6: TB/ARI O46 (WIN)
Week 7: DAL/SF U48 (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 100 dollars/units
Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots
OVER 48 (-120)
Without question, one of the most dependable trends in all of sports gambling over the last several years has been the sheer dominance exhibited by the New England Patriots when playing in front of the home crowd with superstar quarterback Tom Brady under center.
All you have to do is take a quick glance at the numbers to truly appreciate what this mighty franchise has done at Gillette Stadium. This year, for instance, the Patriots are averaging 29 points in their four home games. But believe it or not, that actually pales in comparison to the scoring output they’ve produced at home in recent seasons.
During the 2016 campaign, New England—once Brady returned from his Deflategate suspension—churned out 31.3 points per game at home, including their postseason action. It was much of the same in 2015 as well when they posted 31.1 points per contest.
Was it the same in 2013 and 2014? You bet. Again, including playoff games, Brady and Co. scored 31.8 and 34.4 points in each of those two years, respectively. Considering that the future Hall of Famer has shown no signs of slowing down, there’s no reason for this beautiful scoring tendency to abruptly come to a halt.
But, while Brady is one of the few true constants in sports today, ‘over’ bettors should also look forward to getting a helpful boost from the running game as well. That’s because only one other team in football allows more rushing yards than the Chargers, who have been gashed for 140.6 yards on the ground per game.
That figures to bode very well for Dion Lewis given his notable success in recent weeks. In his last three outings, the former fifth-round draft pick has accumulated 181 rushing yards on just 31 carries, which is good for 5.8 yards per tote. More likely than not, Los Angeles will have a real difficult time slowing down the Pats on the offensive side of the ball.
In turn, New England may itself struggle to contain Philip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers offense, especially after losing talented linebacker Dont’a Hightower for the year.
At 3-4, the Bolts have saved their season, entering this high-profile affair on a three-game winning streak after dropping their first four. They should be game here, as this is one that was circled on the calendar long ago. In fact, Rivers even referred to this matchup as “a big deal” and “special,” specifically adding, “I’m looking forward to getting another shot.”
In other words, we’ll be getting the best possible effort from a team that’s been trending up over the last month, which could only be a good thing. And considering the Patriots are yielding the most yards in the NFL this season (426.7 per game), the Chargers are in a nice spot to give us a desirable number on the scoreboard for this over.
In his last four games, Rivers has thrown for 1,056 yards and eight touchdowns against just one interception. You have to like the groove he’s in right now, and his solid cast of weapons should help sustain that production. Keenan Allen, of course, has enjoyed a nice showing thus far after missing all but one game a year ago, while Melvin Gordon is proving to be one of the better lead tailbacks in the game.
Overall, there’s a lot of potential here for at least one crooked mark in the final score. If the Patriots simply live up to their track record at home—and there’s no reason they shouldn’t considering they’ve won five of six—that would set the tone for this bet. With the Chargers doing their part in hanging around in this ballgame, it’s all likely to add up to an ‘over’ in Foxborough.