Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots: Back the champs to start strong

Rob Gronkowski is fit and healthy. Oppositions defenses beware.
Rob Gronkowski is fit and healthy. Oppositions defenses beware.

The reigning Super Bowl champions are strongly fancied to open up their 2017 campaign with a win against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs and Neil Monnery isn't expecting any big surprises...

"Tom Brady returns in his quest to start filling up his second hand with Super Bowl rings. The 40 year-old has shown little sign of slowing down as Father Time continues to stand on the sidelines waiting for his chance to sap the former Michigan QB of his powers."

Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots
Start-time: Friday 8 September, 01:30 BST
TV: Live on Sky Sports Action & Main Event


For the Pats...

Tom Brady returns in his quest to start filling up his second hand with Super Bowl rings. The 40-year-old has shown little sign of slowing down as Father Time continues to stand on the sidelines waiting for his chance to sap the former Michigan QB of his powers.

This year he'll have some new offensive weapons to play with. Brandin Cooks comes over from the New Orleans Saints and former first-round pick Phillip Dorsett arrived last week in a surprising trade with the Colts. Both players offer vertical route options as the Pats look like they are setting up to be a more aggressive offense downfield.

This is in part due to the season-ending injury to key short passing option Julian Edelman. Brady's long-time third down comfort blanket went down with an ACL injury in pre-season. Danny Amendola has to step up and become that guy.

Defensively, what cannot be overstated is the loss of Rob Ninkovich, who retired in the summer. Cyrus Jones also is missing having suffered the same injury as Edelman in the final pre-season game.

Oh and don't forget that The Gronk is also fit and raring to go following his injury-plagued campaign in 2016. This shouldn't be overlooked for he is the biggest mismatch for opposition defenses in the NFL.


For the Chiefs...

Over on the Chiefs side of the ball, Kareem Hunt is the sexy name on everyone's lips. Favourable comparisons with Bears' running back Jordan Howard has helped the third-round pick out of Toledo become a name we should all be acquainted with.

Hunt will become the starting running back following the season-ending injury to Spencer Ware while Jamaal Charles, former star man in the backfield, will be lining up for the Broncos this season.

If Andy Reid's men are to go into Gillette Stadium and come away with the victory, they will have to control the clock. It is hard to put such a big load on a rookie but he will be the key. Expect to see a heavy dose of Hunt.

Alex Smith will start under Center having seen off a challenge from first-round pick Patrick Mahomes II for his job. The 33-year-old is a fantasy dud but a real life solid middle of the pack QB who hasn't thrown for double-digit interceptions since the 2010 season.


The Picks...

For those who have read my pieces on betting.betfair.com over the past couple of years, I have had one mantra when it comes to previewing Pats games. Don't pick against them.

So it won't surprise you when I say I'm picking them straight up as well as with an 8.5pt handicap.

I do expect a low scoring game and the over/under line has been set at 48.5pts. I like the under and think you could push that number to 45.5. Under 47.0 is at the time of writing 2.1411/10 on the Exchange, so if you can get 2.56/4 for under 45.5 when the market heats up, I'd be a backer.

If you want a punt on a side market, Philip Dorsett is 12/5 to score a Touchdown at any time on the Sportsbook. That is very good price considering they'll want to get him involved in the offense following his trade last week. They aren't giving away their third string QB for a player they don't view as a significant part of their team.


Recommended Bets
3pt Back New England-8.5pts to win on the Handicap market at 1.9620/21 on the Exchange
3pt Back under 45.5pts at 2.56/4 on the Exchange
1pt Back Phillip Dorsett to score at any time at 12/5 on the Sportsbook

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