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Patriots Betting Breakdown: Week 4 vs. Packers

The New England Patriots (+9) enter Week 4 of the NFL season as the biggest underdogs in the league on the DraftKings Sportsbook. 

Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith (81).
Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith (81).

The New England Patriots (+9) enter Week 4 of the NFL season as the biggest underdogs in the league on the DraftKings Sportsbook. Since 2001, only one Patriots opponent has been favored by more - the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs, who were 11-point home favorites. The New England quarterback in that game? Brian Hoyer.

To make things even more challenging, New England will travel to Green Bay where the Packers are 9-1 straight up in their last 10 games. As the Packers are working through some offensive challenges as well to begin the season, the 40.5 point total marks the second lowest on the board.

Here are four bets to keep an eye throughout the matchup.

Dashin' Dame

Whether Mac Jones is under center or not on Sunday, the Patriots likely will rely on their rushing attack. Featuring more of their traditional gap-schemes of late - as well as a heavy amount of inside zone - New England has been extremely successful on the ground. According to Football Outsiders, the Patriots rushing offense ranks first in DVOA through three weeks.

As they travel to Green Bay, they face a defense that has surrendered 107.0 rushing yards per game to running backs that also ranks dead last through three weeks in terms of rushing defense DVOA. Look for New England to pound the rock at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

The pick: Damien Harris Over 48.5 rushing yards (+100)

Jackpot Jonnu

While the production hasn't been ideal through three games, Smith has seen four targets in back-to-back weeks now. There's more opportunity for the tight end to get the ball as well, especially with Brian Hoyer now potentially under center.

In Hoyer's last start for the Patriots in 2020, 15 of his 21 throws came either behind the line of scrimmage or in the short area of the field (0-9 yards). On the season, nine of Jonnu's 11 targets have come in that range, as well as all of his seven receptions. It would be no surprise if the Patriots look get Smith the ball and let him make plays afterwards with their backup quarterback.

The pick: Jonnu Smith Over 15.5 receiving yards (-110)

Lambeau Leap

We mentioned the impact New England's rushers could have on the ground on Sunday, but Rhamondre Stevenson's role has increased in other areas of late. For two straight weeks now, Stevenson has out-snapped counterpart Damien Harris. While they generally see the same amount of carries, Stevenson's expanded role has provided more work in the passing attack, where he led the backfield with 63 percent of the targets last week.

On the ground, Stevenson has been one of the best backs in the NFL in creating yards after contact. According to Pro Football Focus, Stevenson is top-eight in both missed tackles forced and yards after contact per attempt. Squaring off against the Green Bay defensive line that ranks second in the league in missed tackles against the run, Stevenson has a strong chance to be the first opposing back to find pay dirt versus the Packers this season.

The pick: Rhamondre Stevenson Anytime TD Scorer (+290)

Green Bay Boost

Entering the week as the biggest underdog in football, New England has an obvious uphill battle against the Packers who have won their last 14 regular season home games. The formula is there for New England to try and keep this game relatively close, however. With the run game advantage, the Patriots will look to control the game on the ground and keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands.

As for Rodgers, it has not been a perfect start in the post-Davante Adams era. With a new-look receiving core, Green Bay is 27th in points per game while Rodgers' 5.6 yard average depth of target is a career-low. While the two-time reigning NFL MVP matched with Matt LaFleur's scheme is still a daunting task, New England's defense has the chance to limit their passing attack.

With the added unexpectedness at quarterback for New England, we'll use the teaser to our benefit.

The pick: Teaser - Patriots +15 AND Under 46.5 (-120)

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