Patriots Odds: Three Bets To Make For Preseason Game Vs. Panthers

Will cooler heads finally prevail at Gillette Stadium?

by

August 19

Hopefully the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers saved some energy for the game.

The Pats and Cats spent two days this week kicking the crap out of each other during joint practices in Foxboro, and now they’ll square off Friday night in preseason action at Gillette Stadium.

Most of New England’s starters, including quarterback Mac Jones, reportedly are expected to play in the tune-up after sitting out the preseason opener against the New York Giants. Carolina is planning a different approach, though, with Panthers head coach Matt Rhule revealing Wednesday he intends to play mostly backups against the Patriots.

This strategic juxtaposition is reflected in the spread, with the Patriots installed as 6.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday afternoon. And it makes the tricky art of betting preseason action all the more complicated. But hey, we like a good challenge.

Here are three bets worth making for Friday’s Patriots vs. Panthers matchup.

Patriots outcome of first drive: Field goal attempt, +420 (Caesars)
Jones and the Patriots’ first-team offense will get some early run against a Panthers defense littered with second- and third-stringers. That opens the door for scoring, obviously, but New England’s offensive play-calling — let alone the unit’s overall effectiveness — remains shrouded in mystery. It’s easy to envision a scenario where the Patriots march down the field but stall in the red zone, making the +420 number more enticing than the +260 odds on New England scoring a touchdown on its first drive.

Panthers outcome of first drive: Turnover, +700 (Caesars)
Neither Baker Mayfield nor Sam Darnold will play Friday. Instead, the Panthers will deploy veteran quarterback P.J. Walker and rookie Matt Corral. That, coupled with the Patriots’ defensive dominance during joint practices this week, certainly puts an opening-drive turnover on the table.

Moneyline and total points: Patriots and Under 39.5, +170 (FOX Bet)
Betting the preseason is tough because it involves so many weird layers, with lineup decisions and even motivation being atypical of a regular-season game. But the Patriots should take care of business at home based on the talent discrepancy early in the contest. We’re hesitant to lay the 6.5 points, given the general unpredictability associated with late-game substitutions and whatnot, but this feels like a good spot for New England’s defense to flex its muscle three weeks out from the season opener.

NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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