Patriots coach Bill Belichick and I don’t seem to have a lot in common. He’s a Super Bowl winning head coach. I have three years of coaching youth football to my name. He’s notoriously dry and I like to think I’ve got a bit of a sense of humor. I could go on. However, we both believe in accountability.
Bill Belichick is generally not the coach to stand up in front of the press and blame the officiating or the weather for the outcome of the game. He famously gives credit to the opposing team and their coaching staff and reiterates his squad’s need to simply play better. That’s something we can all work towards. So, before I post my slate of player prop plays for the upcoming game, I am committed to accountability and reviewing last week’s results.
Before the game Monday, I predicted Rhamondre Stevenson would exceed 13.5 receiving yards (-120 odds), noting that I expected 25+ through the air. Game script certainly helped us on this one, as Bailey Zappe checked down to Stevenson repeatedly. The second-year back had a light day on the ground but finished with eight receptions for 59 yards. His second reception of the game was a 20 yarder down the right sideline to hit this number early in the second quarter. It’s always a nice sigh of relief to cover one of your wagers early.
Only a few plays later, we hit our second player prop of the evening with a Justin Fields interception (-175 odds). Coming into the game, I highlighted Justin Fields’ knack for throwing picks and the Patriots defense’s propensity for creating turnovers. On this one, Matthew Judon made a crucial tip of the pass and Myles Bryant picked it off. Judon, by the way, was a monster as usual, tallying 2.5 sacks in the first half alone.
But here’s where the accountability comes in. The lone miss on the evening was my top pick: Jakobi Meyers over 4.5 receptions (+110 odds). I missed badly here. Jakobi did have a beautiful touchdown reception from Bailey Zappe in the second quarter, but the offensive momentum didn’t last much longer. The Patriots quarterback carousel completed 17 passes, and more than half (9) were to running backs on checkdown plays. Meyers finished with 34 yards on two receptions. To make matters worse, I specifically called out Kyler Gordon’s rough rookie season, and he made me look silly with an interception.
We finished the night 2-1. If you were betting the same unit size for each wager, you closed the night up .4 units. While the Patriots loss was a real bummer, any profit is always something to celebrate. Now, as Bill would say, we’re onto Week 8.
Here are my top prop bets for this week’s game against the New York Jets.
Top 3 Player Prop Bets for Week 8: #3
Patriots TE Hunter Henry over 2.5 receptions (+105) – DraftKings Sportsbook
There has been some controversy over the last few days regarding the consistency in offensive playcalling. Some Patriots fans have noticed that a Zappe-led offense more closely resembles the one that Jones starred in last season. This week, I expect Matt Patricia will do all he can to put Mac in a position to succeed. The coaching staff needs Jones to play with unrattled confidence after Patriots fans booed him at Gillette on Monday, and the best way to do that may be to simplify the playbook a hair.
In that 2021 Patriots offense, Hunter Henry was a star. He totaled 50 receptions, 603 yards, and nine touchdowns. This year, he has only 14 receptions, 168 yards, and one score through seven games. That said, before Monday night, he had been trending in the right direction, with four receptions in both Weeks 5 and 6.
The Jets pass defense has been solid this year, allowing only 209.4 yards per game, ranking them 13th in the league. In the last two weeks, however, opposing offenses may have found a hole to exploit. In Weeks 6 and 7, the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos have targeted tight ends a whopping 26 times, resulting in 19 receptions and 171 yards. Robert Tonyan brought in nine balls for 90 yards against this Jets defense just two weeks ago.
I believe Jones will see the field more quickly this week, and work to get the ball out fast. Henry will be a beneficiary; I expect four or five receptions for 40+ yards on Sunday.