Tom Brady’s ATS record against tough defenses has started to slip in recent years
The Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots cap off the Week 14 NFL card with a marquee matchup from Foxboro as the Ravens look to keep pace in their division.
This line opened at -7.5 and started to fall late in the week. Not something you expect to see in a primetime game involving Tom Terrific, especially at home. But getting more that a touchdown with a defense that’s only allowing 17 points per game is pretty uncommon, too.
The Ravens are first against the rush and fifth against the pass, according to Football Outsiders’ advanced metrics. They allow 296 total yards per game, a stifling 3.4 rushing yards per carry and rank first at stopping third downs conversions. We all saw on Sunday night what happens to a good team that can’t move the chains (Dallas at New York).
With a big win by the Patriots tonight, maybe pundits will stop comparing Tom Brady to Dak Prescott. Brady’s career record vs. a tough defense that allows fewer than 300 yards per game is 49-20 SU and 40-27-2 ATS (60-percent). Sounds good enough; Hall of Fame numbers for sure. But he spent a lot of time building that record up between 2001 and 2010. Since then, Brady’s record against the league’s staunchest D’s has slipped back to a pedestrian 8-7 SU with just three covers in 15 tries.
Last year the Pats went 0-3 ATS vs. the Broncos (twice) and Jets, the three teams that were allowing the fewest yards per game at the time. The only tough defense the Pats blew away last season was Houston and that was an offense run by Brian Hoyer. Brady puts up numbers against these teams, averaging 24.7 points per game which is not far off the team’s 2016 scoring average of 26.6 PPG. The two problems with laying this kind of lumber now are A) New England’s defense and B) Key injuries to Gronk and Danny Amendola.
The Pats have found a playmaker in Chris Hogan and they’ve got a budding superstar in Malcolm Mitchell. New England also has a diverse stable of backs that can pound away or makes plays in space, after the catch. Baltimore has the answer for that on defense, however, and as the Raven offense has adjusted throughout the season, they have become the type of unit that can keep pace in games that turn into a track meet.
The 7’s are gone but you can still get a +6.5 right now. Who knows, maybe books will be forced to move back onto Lucky 7 if the Joe Pub money comes in heavy on the Pats throughout the day. I’m putting my money on the dog.