Fresh off a red-hot week at The Sports Geek, we’re back at it for some Week 5 early action with the Thursday night slate. I personally went 4-1 in Week 4, with only the Colts fading late and failing to get the cover Monday night in Seattle. It’s a nice reversal from Week 3, when everything seemed to go against us luck-wise.
For tonight’s game we’ll focus on the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It certainly has not been the start the Pats were looking for. Their defense is about as porous of a unit as there is right now in the NFL, and are somehow looking up at the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but it won’t be easy on short rest with travel to a dangerous Bucs squad. Tampa Bay meanwhile is coming off of a big, emotional victory against the Giants. They’ve looked good at home this year so far, and following that Week 1 bye – they enter Week 5 with a 2-1 record. Tampa knows they are threats in the NFC South, and can make a big statement in primetime tonight if they can further derail Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
As always, we’ve got you fully covered for all of your betting needs right here at The Sports Geek. Read on below for a full game breakdown and official betting selection to get your week started off on the right foot. It’s the Pats/Bucs on Thursday night, and it should be a thrilling encounter with lots of points put up.
Patriots vs. Buccaneers Betting Odds:
New England Patriots -4.5 (-110)
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers +4.5 (-110)
Over 54 (-110)
Under 54 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Patriots vs. Buccaneers Pick:
Though it hasn’t been the start the Pats had likely envisioned, at least people aren’t incorrectly calling this ‘the demise of Tom Brady’ like the last time New England ‘kind of’ struggled. Tom Brady has still been excellent, but unfortunately for the Pats – his protection has not been up to par.
That said, it likely won’t matter all that much on Thursday night, because of all of the injuries the Bucs’ currently have on their defense. Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David, and T.J. Ward were all out last week, and are either sitting out tonight – or playing at less than 100%. In Week 4, Eli Manning just shredded the Bucs’ secondary, so you can only imagine what Brady is poised to do down in the Sunshine State.
With all of Tampa Bay’s issues at the linebacker and safety issues – they’ll have zero answer to Rob Gronkowski. Even though the big man is battling some injury issues, he’s fulling expected to play, and should put up his biggest numbers of the season. Look for Brady to move the chains with regularity through the air. The Bucs are just too depleted at the moment to do anything about a prolific Patriots’ attack.
On the other side of the ball, the Tampa offense should also put up some numbers – despite battling a highly motivated New England stop unit. They have been brutal so far this season – and surprisingly so. Their personnel is still solid, and the group should continue to mesh as the season continues. Dont’a Hightower returned in Week 4 and once he gets settled, the unit as a whole should be much better. While this match-up still heavily favours the Bucs led by the talented Jameis Winston, you have to figure Bill Belichick isn’t going to put up another stinker of a showing on defense. He’s the best coach of all-time for a reason, and look for some key adjustments to this unit – beginning tonight.
Too much has already been made of the Pats’ demise. They’ve had some poor defensive outings – but they can patch over some of their miscues and have much better showings from here on out. New England has a history of making doubters eat their words, and you can bet that defense will be raring to go for tonight’s challenge. Expect a lot of points, but this spread as it stands is a tad too short. Tampa can’t handle what Brady and Gronkowski bring, and on a short week, I’ll lean Belichick over Dirk Koetter without hesitation.
PICK = Patriots -4.5 (-110)
UPDATE (6:21 PM EDT): Rob Gronkowski is no longer expected to play. I’d still have to go with the Pats -4 despite the big TE being out.