Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
8:30 PM EST. As the only mainstays, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have won five Super Bowl rings in seven attempts with a rotating door of players surrounding the 12-time Pro Bowler on the field. This year will be no different. The Patriots did what they always do this offseason after cutting ties with the likes of Martellus Bennet, LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long for reasons like money and age. They then addressed a true need with the signing of former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who has yet to reach his potential as a true number one, but there is little doubt he'll be given every opportunity to shine under Belichick’s structured system. The Pats paid handsomely for Gilmore, something they rarely do, but if there was a weakness on this team in 2016 it was their inability to cover the other teams' top receivers, as they ranked 20th in DVOA (a relevant metric that measures defense adjusted value over average). The Pats had the most high profile injury in the preseason when they lost wide receiver Julian Edelman for the year but his loss is being blown out of proportion. We have little doubt that New England will be just fine with whoever slaps the pads on, as that has been their way in the BB/Brady era. Let's not forget this team won 11 games when Brady was sidelined in 2008. The Patriots went 14-2 last year and this year they’re personnel is improved.
The Football gods were smiling down on us when this opening night contest was announced. Pencil us in for an opportunity to fade Andy Reid in a high profile prime time game to kick off 2017. The Chiefs will get plenty of exposure this season with an NFL high six games scheduled in prime time. More importantly, the Chiefs are perceived as a quality team in this market so those big points look very appetizing. They may be fool's gold.
Last season, it looked like the stars were all aligned for the Chiefs to make their run. Quarterback Alex Smith was playing mistake free football and they were on the right side of some close games including a 29-28 win at Atlanta after Eric Berry took a two point conversion attempt by the Falcons back to the house. Kansas City also overcame a 21-point deficit in San Diego, a 17-point hole in Carolina and put together a game tying 75-yard touchdown drive including a two point conversion at Denver to win it in overtime, 30-27.
Perhaps the biggest slap in the face to the 2016 Chiefs was the field goal fest that ended in an 18-16 home playoff loss with Pittsburgh beating Kansas City at its own game behind six Chris Boswell kicks. Ol’ Andy never saw a field goal chance he didn’t like and last year that was more evident than ever. The Chiefs were brutal in the red zone ranking 28th in DVOA and 30th in goal-to-go situations. Another Reid specialty is passes at or behind the goal line, a stat the Chiefs led the NFL in again last season at 25%. The league average was 16% and no other team was over 22%. That’s what happens when you throw more screen passes to your wide receivers and tight ends than anybody else (68%, the next closest 50%). If the Chiefs need 10 yards in the red zone, Andy would rather dial up a short pass play that has no chance at a first down, kick his field goal and then head for the buffet.
The window is quickly closing on the duo of Reid and Smith but it’ll be Alex Smith being the odd man after Reid signed a four-year contract extension. To that point, the Chiefs were the first playoff team since 2006 to use their first round pick on a quarterback while returning their starter from the previous year, which is not exactly a vote of confidence in Smith from the front office. At the end of the day, the Chiefs kick FG's while the Patriots score TD's and by game's end, that will usually end up being a double-digit victory.
Note: We're expecting some K.C. money to come in, thus we're expecting this line to drop to -8. We'll therefore wait until later in anticipation of a better number and update this as to whther it's an official play or not.
Updated at 7:45 PM EST
Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
NEW ENGLAND -8 -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)