We’ve gone a full calendar day without betting on football, so let’s get our lives back on track. Week 13 didn’t wrap up until Tuesday’s contest between the Cowboys and Ravens, and now we’re right back at it with the Patriots facing the Rams. Here’s what jumps out for Thursday on DraftKings Sportsbook.
It’s a low number, but this one has all the makings of a grinder. A late season game on a short week has a lot of players banged up, and two good coaches with strong defenses should do well limiting each other. Both the Rams and Patriots are 8-4 to the under so far this season, and these coaches have had trouble figuring out the other’s defense in the past — consider the shootout we were supposed to see in the Super Bowl that finished 13-3.
The Rams are averaging 25.1 points and the Pats 22.8, which would put us slightly over, but these teams both let their defenses take the lead. Los Angeles is allowing just a shade over 20 points per game, and New England is right there at about 21 points per game. Consider just how bad the Patriots have been offensively recently. Yes, they scored 45 against the Chargers on Sunday, but half those points were generated by special teams and defense. The Rams should really be able to limit the Pats, but I don’t expect Jared Goff to have much success against this defense and run away with the game either.
Speaking of unders, Newton’s passing prop has been a cash cow this season. First of all, Cam is questionable for this game with an abdominal injury he played through last week. Assuming he plays in this game, he probably won’t be too comfortable on the short week. Cam has been atrocious a passer pretty much all season, but it’s really highlighted the last two weeks, staying under this 185.5 number in both those games combined — 84 yards vs. ARI and 69 yards vs. LAC. Yikes.
Go through the box scores this season, and you’ll see Cam has actually stayed under this number in eight of his 11 starts. The three overs came in extremely soft matchups against the Seahawks, Jets and Texans. Oh yeah, the Rams allow the fewest passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks ... so, yeah. Literally everything tells us Newton can’t get to this number against a defense like this, aside from getting it in garbage time as a road dog. And even if that situation presents itself, with Newton banged up, the Pats could turn to Jarrett Stidham, as they have in recent weeks in blowouts.
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While I expect this to be a lower scoring game, the Rams should still have some opportunities offensively. If Newton is as bad as he’s been the last couple of weeks, the Rams, sitting as home favorites, could have some clock to grind late in this one. After constantly being third in line in the Rams’ backfield, it looks like the rookie might have finally claimed the starting role. He played on nearly two-thirds of the snaps last week against Arizona, and handled a career-high 21 carries — gaining 72 yards and scoring a touchdown. A modest decline to 12 carries would win us this bet, and I could see him finishing with around 15 if game script holds form. Even if New England grinds out another win here, it’s tough to imagine the Pats running away with this one, so there should be a safe floor for carries.
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