The NFL season is upon us and the New England Patriots open their title defense in 2019 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There’s a buzz in the air over New England as they reveal their championship banner amongst a host of fanfare at Gillette Stadium. But once the game begins it will be business as usual for New England.
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With Antonio Brown on the roster now it’s also a crucial night for Patriots’ receivers looking to prove they belong on the roster with an inevitable roster cut forthcoming. That means players will be stepping up looking to find the endzone, creating higher odds they will score.
There are some other prop bets out there too for this Sunday Night Football contest, but here are the ones most likely to hit.
*All odds and betting info courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Tom Brady 1 Passing TD in Each Half (+125)
This should be an easy one for the veteran QB. At home and with the receiving corps he has (sans AB) he should be able to hit some of his receivers for touchdowns.
This is elevated by Steelers starting safety Sean Davis appearing as doubtful on the injury report Friday. Should he not play, Brady could have a field day with the Steelers secondary and could easily rack up a pair of passing scores.
James Conner (+115) and Sony Michel (+105) score a touchdown
The two top backs for each team, Conner and Michel both had solid seasons last year in their first full campaign as a starter. Heading into this year’s opener healthy, the two will have some sort of impact on the season opener.
Michel ended the 2018 season on a high note and showed he was still an elite back in his only preseason action against Carolina. Conner, meanwhile, missed the matchup against the Patriots last year. Should Pittsburgh have any success moving the ball, Conner’s influence will be key and should result in a score.
Tom Brady Passing Yards Over/Under 277.5 (O: -108; U: -118)
Brady has torched the Steelers much of his career, averaging 309.4 yards in the air over his 11 games facing Pittsburgh. The Patriots quarterback in his 20th year could hit 300 again in the season opener.
But consider this, in the month of September during his career he averages 276.7 passing yards and in Weeks 1-4 he averages 265.4 yards. Playing without one of his top tight end targets in Matt LaCosse as well, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see him hit just below 277.5
Tom Brady Throws an Interception (-102) or Not (+118)
Brady’s 11 interceptions last year were his most in five seasons. A good chunk of them resulted in drops or passes off the hands of his receivers. With Brady expected to throw a good chunk of passes tonight, a pick wouldn’t be totally unlikely.
He’s thrown five picks against the Steelers in his career including one last season. This is a toss-up honestly, so go with your gut.
Steelers (+114) or Patriots (-140) Score First
The Patriots have been one to strike first at home, even if they win the coin toss and defer. But it’s important to note this doesn’t mean score a touchdown, just points on the board. If the Steelers are to march down and kick a field goal with the game’s opening drive, it wouldn’t be a total surprise.
But on this one, take the Patriots to get on the board first in their home opener.