Patriots May be Surest Bet

Underdog Patriots may be surest bet in football...

Underdog Patriots may be surest bet in football

Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our 22 cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays (9-2 in 2013), inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today. 

By KERRY J. BYRNE

New England at Cincinnati (-1)

New England is a 1-point underdog heading into Cincinnati Sunday, and that's sweet, sweet news for Patriots fans – especially those who wager on NFL games.

The Patriots as underdogs are the closest thing to a sure thing there is in football: a brilliant 31-13-1 (.700) against the spread in the Tom Brady Era. The Patriots were 12.5-point underdogs in Brady's very first NFL start vs. Peyton Manning and the Colts way back in 2001.

The Patriots won, 44-13. The train of victories has kept a-rollin' in record fashion.

There's another reason to like New England in this game, too: the underdog 4-0 Patriots are simply a better team than the favored 2-2 Bengals.

Despite Vince Wilfork's injury and Matt Ryan's fourth-quarter passing onslaught last week, New England still emerged from the game in Atlanta ranked No. 8 in Defensive Passer Rating – a critical measures of team success. The Patriots boast the No. 6 scoring defense in the league.

Last week provided football fans a reminder of the greatness of Tom Brady. The Falcons were a 13-3 team last year and last week playing at home in an arena where they rarely lose. Ryan is widely considered one of the great young guns in the game and is surrounded by explosive talent.

But the reality on game day was that Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White simply could not keep pace with Brady, Matthew Mulligan, Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman.

The 2-2 Bengals, meanwhile, remain an enigma, a team knocking on the door. But here's one thing we know: young-gun QB Andy Dalton and receivers A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu and Jermaine Gresham will have couple keeping pace with the Patriots, too.

The Cold, Hard Football Facts weren't buying the Bengals as a true threat in the AFC before the start of the season because Dalton and the Cincy passing attack were merely mediocre each of the past two years despite the big names. So far, we've seen little to sway us from that preseason belief here in 2013.

New England boasts the advantage in other key Cold, Hard Football Facts Quality Stats, too,  including Passer Rating Differential, Real QB Rating Differential, and the Relativity Index (No. 8 versus No. 23 for the Bengals), which measures how well teams play relative to the quality of their opposition.

The Patriots also boast about as a mental mismatch this week: No. 5 on the Cold, Hard Football Facts Intelligence Index to No. 17 for the Bengals.

Pick: New England 24, Cincinnati 21

Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our 22 cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays (9-2 in 2013), inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today. 

 

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