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The Top Buccaneers vs. Patriots Player Props Picks

buccaneers patriots player props

In what is one of the most heavily discussed, highly anticipated matchups in recent NFL history, Tom Brady makes his return to New England to face Bill Belichick and Brady’s longtime team, the New England Patriots. Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones will host Brady’s Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football in a game that has no shortage of drama.

Let’s jump into this marquee NFL Week 4 prime time matchup with a look at the best player props picks for Buccaneers vs. Patriots.

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The Top Buccaneers vs. Patriots Player Props

Tom Brady Under 304.5 Passing Yards 

This play may have a contrarian feel to it, but it is a situational selection as much as anything. You have the best and arguably most game-intelligent quarterback in league history facing off against his former coach and mentor, also considered by many to be the NFL’s greatest ever.

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Belichick is known for typically being one step ahead of his opponents, but Brady has borne witness to that mentality for nearly his entire career. With Belichick renowned for taking away a team’s greatest strength, which for Tampa right now is its ability to move the ball through the air, and Brady’s willingness to be selfless for the greater good of the team, we believe we will see a run-centric attack by the Bucs in this one.

Further, if you believe that the Buccaneers are a sure thing to run away with this one, like the overwhelming majority of bettors out there, then you also have to think there’s a good chance Tampa will have ample opportunity to run the clock down via the rush in the second half, shrinking this game. If any or all of this is true, we may find the media’s spotlight man, Brady, as more of an ancillary character in this one when it all shakes out.

Take Tampa Bay’s Week 2 blowout of Atlanta as a prime example. Brady only threw for 259 yards in that 23-point rout, despite his team posting 48 points.

While Brady is averaging nearly 350 passing yards per game in the early going, second most in the league, the Patriots counter with a pass defense that allows the second least yards through the air per game in football thus far (159.7). No team has topped 185 passing yards against the Pats through three games, a mere 60.8 percent of what is needed to eclipse this prop’s total.

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New England allowed just two teams to top this prop’s passing yard number in the entirety of the 2020 season despite a number of key defenders having opted out. Neither of those opponents were winning teams from outside the AFC East either. Tampa, off the loss to the Rams, cannot afford to come in here and make this all about Brady and Belichick . They need the win above all else and Brady has proven time and again to be the consummate professional. He will undoubtedly sacrifice any personal vendetta for the win, especially with his currently banged up receiving corps.

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Mac Jones Over 25.5 Completions

The Patriots lost in the most un-Patriot way last week. They had a punt blocked and their rookie quarterback Mac Jones threw three interceptions, one which returned for a touchdown. Expect Belichick to try to rebuild Jones’ confidence with a number of safe early throws in this one, while also realizing they very well may be chasing this one late, needing the Alabama product’s arm to keep them in it.

Jones completed 30 of 51 passes last week after a 22 of 30 effort in Week 2 and 29 of 39 in the season opener. A quick glance shows you that when the Patriots lose, they throw the ball, averaging 29.5 completions on 40 passes in their two defeats. Most believe this will be another loss. Against the league’s joint-highest scoring offense, Jones should be slinging it often once again Sunday night.

Thankfully for the young quarterback, the Buccaneers pass defense has left something to be desired in 2021. The unit has allowed 338.2 passing yards per game, the worst mark in the NFL and lost one of their starting corners for the season to injury. New England has long used the short passing game as an extension of the run anyway, and even without James White, should have plenty of open options for Jones against this porous Tampa pass defense.

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Leonard Fournette Over 10.5 Rushing Attempts

We mentioned above that New England will likely try to force Tampa Bay to win on the ground. We also spoke about a high likelihood that Tampa, if leading, as most expect they will be, can shrink this second half via the rush and will aim to do so rather than throw into the teeth of New England’s elite pass defense.

What we have not yet mentioned is that Giovani Bernard, Tampa’s third down, pass catching back, is listed as out for Sunday’s game. Bernard caught nine balls against the Rams last week and Fournette figures the next most capable back to be on the field for Bernard’s snaps. With Brady’s propensity to audible out of plays based on the defense he sees at the line, that could mean a few extra rushes for Fournette here, as well.

Fournette had nine and 11 rushes in the first two weeks, respectively, before dipping to just four last week. That was an understandable decrease, however, given Tampa chasing that game throughout and Brady being able to move the ball through the air at will. This week’s matchup promises to play out very differently and Fournette should once again find himself seeing a healthy dose of the ball out of the backfield.

Ronald Jones II, who spells Fournette, has not had more than six rushes in a game this season to go with just one catch. He doesn’t seem to fit the style of play Tampa is likely to employ here.

Last season, Fournette averaged 16 rushes per game in four playoff games, earning at least 12 carries in each outing. Entering this one fresh following just seven touches last week, after 15 and 14 in the team’s first two games, expect a heavy dose of the big back here against the league’s 24th ranked rush defense. He should become the fourth runner in a three week span to log 11 or more rushes versus New England.

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