Is it the beginning of the end for the New England Patriots? Or do quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have another run in them despite looking below average through the first four games of the season?
This question may not be entirely answered when the Patriots host the unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football, but bettors will definitely learn a lot more about them off an embarrassing 41-14 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night. In fact, New England will likely close as a home underdog for just the second time since 2005.
The Patriots closed as 3-point road favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against the Chiefs before getting beaten badly. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook had opened New England at -3 against Cincinnati but saw the Bengals move to -1 following that ugly loss.
Cincinnati has enjoyed a lot of success against the Patriots, with a 9-3 record against the spread in the last 12 meetings (although the three failed covers have come in the past four games between the teams). Last year, the Bengals beat the Patriots 13-6 as 1-point home underdogs, but New England had won the previous three meetings both straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS). However, Cincy is coming off a bye week and has not fared well in its last nine road games under that scenario with a 2-7 mark ATS, covering the past two.
The NFL betting lines had the Pats as 5-point favorites the last time they met the Bengals in Foxoboro four years ago, with the home team earning a 38-24 victory. New England is 8-1 ATS in its past nine games as a home underdog, winning seven of those straight-up, including a 34-31 victory against the Denver Broncos last year as a 2-point dog. Cincinnati is just 1-4 ATS in its last five games as a road favorite.
This Patriots vs. Bengals matchup could be a high-scoring affair, as four of the last six meetings have gone OVER the total. The OVER is also 5-1 in New England’s past six games as a home underdog and 3-1 in Cincinnati’s previous four road games off a bye.