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Week 11: O/U Bet New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers

New England Patriots (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (1-8)
Where: Levi’s Stadium. Santa Clara, California.
When: Sunday, November 20, 2016. 4:25 p.m. EST
Over/Under: 51.5 at the Bovada Sportsbook

The New England Patriots are looking to bounce back from a tough loss Sunday when they face the lowly San Francisco 49ers on the West Coast.

The Patriots lost for the first time in five games since quarterback Tom Brady returned from his sitting out the first four games of the season due to suspension, falling 31-24 to the Seattle Seahawks at home Sunday night on a late fourth-quarter touchdown pass by Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin. Brady threw for 316 yards but did not have any touchdown passes, the first time that happened at home since he was injured in a loss to Buffalo in 2014.

The loss dropped New England into a three-way tie with Kansas City and Oakland for the best record in the AFC at 7-2. This game is also the fourth of five contests in a six-week span, including the bye, in which the Patriots are on the road.

San Francisco is mired in an eight-game losing streak during which it has been outscored by 124 points and allowed an average of 35.4 points. The 49ers were on the short end of a 23-20 decision at Arizona, rallying from a 10-point halftime deficit only to lose on a 34-yard field goal by Chandler Cantanzaro at the final gun.

The 49ers have lost 11 of their last 13 games dating back to last season, beating only the Rams to end 2015 and start 2016. In those 11 losses, they have been outscored 361-200 while giving up an average of 434.2 yards.

What will the Patriots do without Gronkwoski?

It’s hard replacing an All-Pro, more so when you consider how the Patriots use Gronkowski throughout their offensive sets to create mismatches in the seams and across the middle. And Brady has made it a point to get the tight end the ball – in the five games he’s played, Brady has targeted Gronkowski 33 times, and the two have hooked up for 24 completions for 529 yards and three touchdowns. It’s not the scoring passes as much as it is the average per reception that stands out.

But the good news for Brady and New England is that Martellus Bennett’s seamless transition to this team means there will be little, if any, falloff. The veteran caught all seven passes thrown his way Sunday night for 102 yards – the third time he’s gone over 100 yards this year. In fact, Brady has been more accurate throwing to Bennett than Gronk, he’s 23 of 27 for 257 yards and three touchdowns. Though Bennett is a more typical tight end, the bottom line is he will produce, and that’s all that matters for the Patriots as they play on a week-to-week basis.

The 49ers Need to Play Their Best Game of the Season

Look, there’s no sugar-coating Chip Kelly’s first year in the Bay Area – it’s been a disaster on both sides of the ball, and that’s not even touching quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stance regarding the national anthem. Kaepernick, though, has been serviceable since replacing Blaine Gabbert. The problem is he needs to be good or great for the 49ers to win. San Francisco is adjusting to Kelly’s up-tempo offense without ideal personnel, and its defense has suffered measurably when the offense can’t put points on the board.

The 49ers have allowed 2,019 yards in the last four games and 429.7 per game for the season. Right now, they’re on track to have one of the worst-five defenses in NFL history and conceivably could still make a run at the 2012 Saints, who set the standard by allowing 440.1 per contest.

Why I’m taking the OVER for the Patriots vs. the 49ers

The only thing that may stop the Patriots is jet lag in this game between the desire to take out their frustrations from the loss to the Seahawks and the 49ers’ sub-par defense. Yes, not having Gronkowski means New England will have to make some adjustments, but it also means the offense will be a more collective effort as Brady spreads the ball around to Bennett, Julian Edelman and James White when he comes out of the backfield. There’s every reason to believe the Patriots will score at least 40 points, and that means the 49ers will need only two touchdowns to help surpass the 51.5 points the Bovada Sportsbook has set as the over/under.

That’s why the recommendation here is to take the OVER for this game at Bovada Sportsbook.

Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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