Using average points per drive numbers, we see that pinning the opponent deep means they can expect to score about 0.7 points on the ensuing drive. Missing the field goal pushes this number up around 3.0 for a net loss of 2.3. Even if you make the field goal, your opponent will average 1.6 points on the next drive, netting 1.4 points. Kickers convert on long field goals about 50 percent of the time, meaning the likely outcome is a loss of 0.8 points per attempt. In other words, the long attempt is about as good as pinning the opponent deep, especially when factoring in that your punter might put the ball in the endzone.
But, what about going for it? Getting the first down ups the average score to 3.6, for a net of 2.0 after factoring in the ensuing drive from the other team. Failing to convert yields the same 3.0 to the other team as missing the field goal does, so the conversion would have to succeed about 60 percent of the time to break even.
Turns out that all the options are pretty even, and this is really an area where a coach can make their money by having a good feel for the right play to call.