Thursday, September 22 from 8.25pm at Gillette Stadium.
Money line odds:
Patriots: -105 @ Bovada.lv
Points spread market:
NOT many would expect to see the Patriots as underdogs on their home patch on Thursday night football, but that’s exactly what’s in store as they face the visiting Texans.
Unbeaten in two games to date, the Patriots are in their usual position in their conference, but the next couple of games could be tough after not only losing Tom Brady to suspension, but also his back-up QB Jimmy Garappolo.
Garappolo had been steady in the Patriots first two wins of the season before injuring his shoulder against the Dolphins on Sunday. His injury makes way for Jacoby Brissett and Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson knows what it’s like to play against Brissett.
“I remember him being a good player, an athletic mobile quarterback,” Johnson said.
“He’s a guy who can make the throws, a great player we have to respect and prepare for.”
Brissett is a former North Carolina State quarterback who is being thrown in the deep end against a defense which likes to rush the quarterback.
The Texans have not allowed a touchdown in six quarters and their win over the Chiefs was full of class. Coming into Boston as the favorite isn’t something the Texans are used to and Patriots coach Bill Belichick believes the Texans only worry comes on the offensive side of the ball.
“The Texans are very good on defense. They take the ball away, they create long-yardage situations, they’re one of the best third-down teams in the league again this year, which they’ve been in the past,” Belichick said.
“They don’t give up many points. The biggest challenge is always scoring points – that’s the name of the game, that’s what we play for. They haven’t given up many. I’m sure it won’t be easy to score – we’ll have to do a good job, execute well.”
Why the Patriots can win
Losing players like Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower would tarnish the season of lesser teams, but the Patriots are so well-coached that it hasn’t mattered.
The Patriots are making do with what they’re dealt and bettors are getting great odds about them this week. No matter what players take the field in Foxborough on Thursday night, the Patriots will come to play and that’s an insurance bettors know they’ll be getting.
A third-string quarterback isn’t an ideal situation to be in against one of the best defenses in the league, but the Patriots have an underrated defense of its own and both wins this season have come against quality outfits.
It defeated the Arizona Cardinals 23-21 in the opening week after the Cards missed a last second field goal to win the game and it produced a nice effort when beating the Miami Dolphins by a touchdown last week.
The Patriots have scored an average of six points more per game than the Texans which is where they bring in a big advantage. Running back LeGarrette Blount hasn’t been talked about too much, but he’s run for 193 yards for two touchdowns and that’s a great start to his season.
This will be the Patriots toughest game of the season, but we feel if Brady or even Garappolo had been at the quarterback position, the Patriots would be -150 favourites.
Why the Texans can win
Brock Osweiler was a sensation for the Denver Broncos last season, but he has been a touch inconsistent with the Texans.
Osweiler has thrown for 499 yards for three touchdowns, but he has also thrown for three intercepts and turnovers against the Patriots can be costly. He has the ability to put in a more complete game and throwing to Will Fuller has its advantages.
Fuller has only nine receptions, but has already amassed 211 yards and one touchdown. The Texans will likely use Fuller more often against the Patriots secondary which has been suspect for a few seasons.
The opening week win against the Bears was solid, but the Bears are a very average team. The better form guide is the win against the Chiefs which was impressive and the confidence levels will be high.
The bookmakers typically know what they’re doing when they set the lines, so respect the Texans’ chances this Thursday.
Patriots vs. Texans game prediction
Are the bookmakers trying to throw bettors off the scent by opening the Patriots as home underdogs?
It’s certainly an attractive price for a team with a superior home record against the Texans which have a second-year QB at the helm.
We know the Patriots are using their third-string QB and could be without Gronk for the third straight week, but bettors have backed against the Patriots at home before and that doesn’t usually work out well.