NFL

Monday Night Football Betting Preview: Odds, trends, picks for Patriots-Jets

In an AFC East battle of underperforming rivals, the Patriots (2-5) travel to the Meadowlands to take on the Jets (0-8) on Monday Night Football. Despite their struggles, the Patriots are currently listed as -9.5 road favorites (-345 ML). The over/under currently rests at 42 total points.

The BetQL NFL Best Bet Model has full projections and top-rated betting picks for this and every NFL game each week. For now, we will tell you that the model absolutely loves the UNDER as a best bet for this game, listing with five-star confidence a projection of 38 total points. Read on for the full betting preview and prediction for this game, which should have the attention of top 2021 QB prospect Trevor Lawrence.

Patriots-Jets Betting Preview

Patriots Outlook

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for the Patriots organization since its greatest player of all time, Tom Brady, left for Tampa Bay via free agency. Cam Newton, who signed a discount deal with New England in the summer, started the season well but has really struggled the past few games. And the Pats defensive unit—spectacular in 2019—has taken a big step back since losing an assortment of key pieces in the offseason.

Besides one shootout and close loss in Seattle, the Patriots have barely even tried to open up their passing game. They rank 30th in the NFL in passing attempts (29.2 per game), yet they have thrown the second-most interceptions in the league (11 in seven games). No team has thrown for fewer touchdowns (three all season), and only three teams have scored fewer total points (136, or 19.4 per game). Luckily, the Jets are one of those three, as New York ranks dead last with 11.8 points per game.

Newton has only reached 175 yards passing once all season. The former MVP has thrown two total touchdowns compared to a staggering seven interceptions. His average QB rating in the past three losses he’s started is 57.4. However, he does have six rushing touchdowns, and the threat of his legs has often helped open holes for second-year running back Damien Harris. Since Harris’s Week 4 debut as a starter, the 23-year-old Alabama product has averaged 5.7 yards per carry and put together two 100-yard games.

But Harris doesn’t provide enough to carry the team like his former Crimson Tide pal Derrick Henry often does for the Titans. Newton has only looked his way twice via the pass, so defenses have figured out that his role in the offense is solely as a runner. Defenses also know that fellow back James White almost exclusively sees the field on passing plays. Rex Burkhead has contributed little to nothing lately, and Sony Michel (quad/COVID) has been on IR since Harris debuted. For a team struggling mightily in the passing game—veteran Julian Edelman (knee) is on IR, second-year wideout N’Keal Harry has been atrocious with route-running and drops, and Damiere Byrd and Jakobi Meyers are the best left, with under 400 combined yards and a 65.3-percent combined catch rate—the Patriots need even more out of their running game than the 1,118 yards and 10 TDs they’ve accumulated.

New England’s defense can’t bail its offense out like it did so often last year either. With a plethora of big names from the Pats’ 2019 front-seven departing in the offseason, Belichick has done his best to get his pass rush and linebacking corps back to an elite level. But the consistency has not been there, and even the dynamic talents featured in New England’s secondary have suffered. Belichick’s crew ranks 26th in sacks (1.4 per game), 27th in rushing yards allowed (140.4/game), and 30th in net yards per passing attempt (7.7). Making matters worse, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore will be inactive this evening with a knee injury.

Jets Outlook

Anything the Patriots struggle with, the winless Jets seem to struggle with worse. New York ranks dead last in the NFL in average points (11.8), total yards per game (259), passing yards per game (155.8), and first downs (16.1). The Jets have just four total passing TDs and three total rushing scores in eight games this season, both second worst in the league. Starter Sam Darnold struggled out of the gate with a 58.6 percent completion rate, a 65.9 QB rating, and two times as many interceptions as his three touchdowns. But since Darnold went down with a shoulder injury in Week 5, backup and former Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco has somehow been worse.

The Jets do average 0.1 more passing TDs per game than the Patriots, but they have thrown the ball 65 more times than New England. Not to mention, their running game has been mediocre, ranking 22nd overall. Coach Adam Gase has stubbornly stuck with veteran Frank Gore, a future Hall-of-Famer but currently underwhelming running back. New York let go of Le’Veon Bell and Kalen Ballage, who led the Jets in yards per carry and yards per touch, and now play meaningful roles for the Chiefs and Chargers, respectively. Rookie back La’Mical Perine looks promising, but Gase has only given him double-digit carries once, and he has never been targeted more than three times in a contest. It’s almost as if Gase has been told to employ a losing strategy to tank for the aforementioned Trevor Lawrence.

The Jets wide receivers would certainly appreciate a competent professional quarterback. When healthy, Jamison Crowder has been extremely busy, with 29 receptions and 383 yards in four games. With his ability to find separation and make plays all over the field, the veteran should be averaging even more than 95.8 yards. However, he gets underthrown or overthrown a handful of times each game. Braxton Berrios, meanwhile, is enjoying the kind of production that looks like an error on the box score—he can almost regularly collect six-to-10 catches, and yet only amasses 30-40 yards per game. Chris Herndon, finally healthy for an entire half season at tight end, turns out to be terrible (so much hype for nothing!).

The Jets stink early, and they stink often. Their average drive starts at their own 24-yard line (31st), and they average the least yards (23.5) and points (1.0) per drive. They score on a mere 22.7 percent of their drives (32nd) and score touchdowns on just 25 percent of red-zone trips (32nd). They average only six points per first half (32nd), one point less than the Patriots (31st).

New York’s defense has fared just as poorly this season. Star safety Jamal Adams and linebacker C.J. Mosley both departing over the summer obviously hurt. The offense continuing to struggle, and tirelessly forcing the unit back onto the field—and usually in poor field positioning—has made things even harder. The Jets rank 28th in points allowed, 26th in total yards allowed, and 29th in passing yards surrendered. They have given up 25 total rushing and receiving scores, compared to New York’s seven offensive TDs. Opponents have outscored Gang Green 238-94, with the -144 differential easily ranking as the highest cumulative scoring deficit in the league.

Prediction

Many pundits have surmised that if the 2020 New York Jets can win a game, this could be their best opportunity. But don’t expect Bill Belichick to let his team get embarrassed on national television, especially at the hands of a winless Adam Gase team. Don’t forget, Belichick very nearly became the Jets coach in the late 1990s before abruptly backing out and opting instead to join forces with the Patriots. Twenty years later, he has six Super Bowls and a near-universal reputation as the greatest coach in the history of the game. A loss to a rival team New England is favored to beat by nearly 10 points just doesn’t seem likely.

What does seem likely, though, is the UNDER hitting on the already-low total of 42 points. Between New York’s mistake-prone offense, the Patriots’ strong secondary (even with Stephon Gilmore inactive), and Cam Newton failing to reach 175 passing yards more than once all season, all signs point to a low-scoring affair. These two teams are the lowest-scoring first-half offenses, averaging a combined total of 13 first-half points to this point in the 2020 season. The BetQL NFL Best Bet Model puts five-star ratings on the UNDER for both the first-half total (20.5) and full-game total (41.5).

We like the Pats to win, but we suggest leaning to the moneyline unless you’re willing to buy a point or two. Our model puts a four-star confidence level on New England -445 ML, and only two stars on Belichicks’ boys covering the 9.5-point spread. Don’t be surprised if the Battle of the AFC Least finishes with a 24-16 final score, followed by a bizarre midfield exchange between the perpetually awkward Belichick and Gase.

You can find all updated lines, odds, spreads, and NFL picks at BetQL!

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