It’s not unusual for the New England Patriots to lay a touchdown as a road team – it just normally comes later in the season, which might raise a red flag about the underdog Detroit Lions.
The Patriots, with quarterback Tom Brady behind centre, are 7-point road favorites against the Detroit Lions with a 53.5-point total for Sunday Night Football, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Over the last three seasons, according to the OddsShark NFL Database, the Patriots are 8-1 straight-up and 6-3 against the spread as a road favorite of 6.5 or more points, but this is only the second time they have had such a large line before October 1. The Lions, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, are 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS in their last five games as an underdog.
The primetime matchup sees Patriots head coach Bill Belichick match wits with Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who was previously New England’s defensive coordinator. Under Belichick, the Patriots are 12-6 SU and 11-7 ATS in matchups against teams whose head coach once worked for the Patriots.
The main question offensively with the Patriots, 1-1 SU and ATS, is whether Brady’s complement of wide receivers, which includes Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett, are dangerous enough to draw attention away from tight end Rob Gronkowski. The good news for New England is the Lions have yet to show they can stop the pass or the run, ranking fifth-worst in the NFL in yards per pass allowed and third-last in opponents’ passer rating, and dead last in rushing yards allowed.
Newly acquired wide receiver Josh Gordon (hamstring) is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report for the week. Since 2000, the Patriots are 21-6 ATS after a double-digit defeat. They lost 31-20 against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.
The Lions, who are 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS, have had to play catch-up during both of their games due to the aforementioned dismal defense and the offense having six turnovers. The fact that the Lions are 7-2 SU in their last nine games at home after losing their most recent home game offers some reassurance that quarterback Matthew Stafford and his supporting cast of wide receivers Marvin Jones and Golden Tate should have a strong night.
The Patriots defense has also been leaky so far, ranking 13th in yards per pass allowed but 25th in yards per rush, so Detroit has an opportunity to use running backs LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick effectively and keep Stafford out of desperate down-and-distance scenarios.
This is already the Lions’ second prime-time game of the season, but they are 5-12-1 ATS in 18 games at night with Stafford as their quarterback.
The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Patriots’ last 10 road games when they were favored by at least 6.5 points, but all of those games were played outdoors on October 15 or later in the fall. The total has gone OVER in eight of the Lions’ last 10 games at home, with an average combined score of 51.1.
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