Tom Brady has played well over 100 games in New England, but never as a visiting player.
That will change Sunday night.
Brady will make his long-awaited return to Foxboro when the Patriots host the Buccaneers for a primetime showdown. The future Hall of Fame quarterback will go toe-to-toe with Mac Jones, who is 21 years Brady’s junior. The Week 4 clash also will mark a first for the rookie, who’s yet to play in a primetime slot at the NFL level.
This Bucs-Pats contest demands the attention of the entire football world, including the gambling community. Here is our betting preview for the highly anticipated tilt. The line, total and props all are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
(-6.5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots
New England and Tampa Bay enter their head-to-head collision with identical against-the-spread records (1-2). The Bucs have two straight-up wins on the young campaign, but they failed to cover a hefty 9.5-point spread in their season opener against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium. The 1-2 Patriots were favored in all of their first three games, and they covered 5.5 points in their lone victory to date: a 25-6 decision over the lowly New York Jets in the Meadowlands.
Tampa Bay was handed its first loss of the season last week in Los Angeles against the Rams. Brady and Co. were a perfect 5-0 ATS coming off a defeat last season. But they won’t have the comforts of home in this one, and they were 4-4 ATS as a road favorite in 2020.
The Patriots largely have been solid after a loss in the Bill Belichick area, but that changed course upon Brady’s departure. New England was 4-5 ATS after a loss last season, but it owned a 2-1 mark as a home underdog.
First touchdown scorer
Leonard Fournette +800
Mike Evans +800
Chris Godwin +850
Damien Harris +900
Antonio Brown +1000
Cameron Brate +1000
Jakobi Meyers +1300
Tom Brady over/under 301.5 yards
Mac Jones over/under 257.5 yards
Leonard Fournette over/under 47.5 yards
Damien Harris over/under 45.5 yards
Ronald Jones over/under 28.5 yards
Chris Godwin over/under 71.5 yards
Antonio Brown over/under 54.5 yards
Cameron Brate over/under 31.5 yards
Leonard Fournette over/under 26.5 yards
Kendrick Bourne over/under 24.5 yards
Tom Brady and Mac Jones: 30-plus completions each (+1400)
This might sound like an ambitious play at first glance, but it very well could be a nice low-risk, high-reward opportunity.
We know Jones is capable of reaching that 30-completion threshold. The Alabama product connected on 29 of his 39 pass attempts in his debut against the Miami Dolphins. Not to mention, New England had a fully loaded stable of running backs in that Week 1 contest, which no longer is the case.
The Patriots shifted to more of a pass-happy attack last week against the New Orleans Saints once James White went down with a hip injury. Jones ultimately threw the football 51 times, completing 30 in a losing effort.
Jones likely will be taking to the air early and often Sunday night. Tampa Bay’s secondary currently is the walking wounded, so much so that Richard Sherman is slated to start against New England less than a week after signing with his teams. Opposing quarterbacks racked up 35-plus completions in two of the Bucs’ first three games. The outlier was a 27-completion performance by Matthew Stafford last week.
As for Brady, he’s averaging a shade over 32 completions per game entering Week 4. And if you know anything about TB12, you know he’ll be highly motivated to torch the Patriots through the air Sunday night.