Monday Night Football Betting — Mac is back, but does it mean the Patriots can romp again?

Monday Night Football

Can Mac Jones Make a Difference on Monday Night Football as the Patriots Host the Bears?

By Charles Jay

NFL Week 7 comes to a close with Monday Night Football. Mac Jones has been sidelined since the New England Patriots‘ overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers three weeks ago. In his place, New England has found a damn good backup in Bailey Zappe.

But now Jones is ready to come back to the lineup, and head coach Bill Belichick has made the decision to insert him back into his starting position as the Patriots play host to the Chicago Bears in the Monday Night Football presentation on ESPN that begins at 8:15 p.m. Eastern time at Gillette Stadium.

BetOnline patrons may have thought that Jones’ high ankle sprain signaled the death knell on this team’s season. But that has not been the case. Zappe came in without any NFL experience, and showed some poise as the Pats took Aaron Rodgers and the Packers into overtime, and then rolled over the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns by a combined 67-15 the last two weeks.

It certainly appeared that Zappe has adapted to the NFL more quickly than Justin Fields, who has had his difficulty in figuring out enemy defenses. Fields has had a hard time completing passes at a high percentage, and avoiding pass rushers. His team has taken to the ground, and the Bears have been relatively successful in that regard, although, we must say, not all that successful, as they come into this game with a 2-4 record. New England, at 3-3, is looking to get over the .500 mark.

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Monday Night Football Betting — Here are the numbers….

In the odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, New England is favored by a chunk:

New England Patriots – 8.5
Chicago Bears + 8.5

Over 40 points -115
Under 40 points – 115

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Monday Night Football Betting — The difference between Jones and Zappe for Patriots

What’s got to be kind of distressing for those who have backed the rookie is that the Western Kentucky grad is currently leading the NFL in quarterback rating, and is second in the league in completion percentage at 72.9%. Granted, the offense has been somewhat scaled-back with him in the game. For example, the Patriots throw screens 18.4% of the time with him at the controls.

With Jones, they are able to spread the field a little better, as he is second in the NFL in intended air yards per attempt at 10.3. There is very little of the screen game when Jones is at quarterback, and play-action throws are very scant. Remember that the Patriots will bully other teams with their ground game if they get the chance, and thats ideal to set up play action.

Monday Night Football Betting — What Chicago wants to do on offense

Actually, the title to that section probably should be what they HAVE to do. You’ve got to admit that they are somewhat limited with Fields still learning about life in the NFL. His numbers as a passer are not very good; he only has 54.8% completions, and his bad throw rate of 24.1% is the highest in the league. He’s been pressured 31.2% of the time, and has sustained 23 sacks. So he does not make decisions very quickly.

Actually, when you think about it, Ohio State quarterbacks ever since the beginning of the Urban Meyer era have had problems in the NFL, mostly because they never really had to learn how to read defenses. So Fields may be a work-in-progress for quite some time.

But he can run with the ball, and that plays into Chicago’s preferred game plan. The Bears have run on 58.8% of their offensive snaps, and that is the highest rate in the league. They are second in the NFL with almost 171 rushing yards per game. Khalil Herbert has been a revelation, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. And right now, that’s the best figure for any running back in pro football.

Monday Night Football Betting — What’s the verdict?

Interestingly, the Patriots have turned the ball over on 25% of their drives when Jones is quarterbacking. So with his percentage of longer throws, it may be a case of boom or bust. Fields sometimes looks lost at quarterback, so we couldn’t possibly have a lot of faith in him. Bill Belichick usually feasts on young QB’s with his defensive schemes, but Fields and the Bears have some qualities that can counterbalance that.

Jones has thrown 97 passes and been intercepted five times. And Chicago might be able to “shorten” this game. So we are hesitant to lay the points. But our play here is the UNDER. These teams are 28th and 29th (does it even matter which is which?) when it comes to red zone touchdown percentage. So let’s just say they both leave their fair share of points on the table.

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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