Patriots Broncos Odds
In a match-up that many predicted coming into the season, the Denver Broncos will host the New England Patriots on Sunday, January 19 in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. The Broncos blew a 24-0 halftime lead at New England to lose 31-34 in overtime back on November 24 in their first meeting this season.
Kickoff at Sports Authority Field is scheduled for 3:00 EST Sunday afternoon with CBS providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the odds in Las Vegas, I find Denver installed as a 4.5-point favorite over New England with a total set of 55 points.
Why Denver Covers
Denver got the monkey off its back by beating the San Diego Chargers in the Divisional Round. This game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would indicate as the Broncos jumped out to a 17-0 lead. However, the Broncos would allow 17 points in the fourth quarter to make it close, but they came up with a huge drive to ice the game in the end. That drive will give this team a lot of confidence going forward knowing that Peyton Manning and company can close out a game in the fourth quarter.
The Broncos have been arguably the best team in the league all season. They are outscoring opponents 37.1 to 24.5 overall, winning by an average of 12.6 points per game. They are outscoring opponents by 15.9 points per game at home as well. They lead the league in scoring offense and total offense, compiling a whopping 451.9 yards per game. All but one of Denver’s 14 wins this season have come by more than 4.5 points, so this is a very generous spread given that stat.
All but one of Denver’s 14 wins this season have come by more than 4.5 points, so this is a very generous spread given that stat.
While Denver has been dominant this season, New England has been fortunate to win 13 games. Seven of those wins came by a touchdown or less, including six by three points or fewer. There’s no question that the Broncos are going to want revenge after giving the game away in New England. They should have a good chance of getting it against a New England team that is banged up. Starters Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Brandon Spikes are out on defense, making this a very susceptible stop unit. The Broncos rushed for 280 yards the first time these teams got together this season.
Plays on favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (DENVER) – after 2 consecutive games where they forced 1 or less turnovers against opponent after a game where they forced 4 or more turnovers are 24-5 (82.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Denver is 12-4 ATS vs. poor passing defenses that allow 235 or more passing yards per game over the last two seasons. The Broncos are 15-5 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points over the last two seasons. The Patriots are 0-4 ATS in their last four Conference Championship Games.
Why New England Covers
The Patriots showed that they don’t have to rely on Tom Brady to win a big game. They rushed for 234 yards in a 43-22 home victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card Round. LeGarrette Blount has proven to be one of the biggest steals of the offseason. He rushed for 166 yards and four touchdowns in the win. That’s against the same Colts team that beat Denver earlier this season as well, so it was a great win to say the least.
New England has been told throughout the media that its defense is soft and that it can’t perform with all of the injuries. This stop unit is playing with a chip on its shoulder because of it. Holding the Colts to just 22 points while forcing four Andrew Luck interceptions was no small feat. This is a stop unit that has been underrated all year, giving up an average of just 21.2 points per game. To compare, Denver is surrendering 24.5 points per game.
Tom Brady simply has Peyton Manning’s number. New England has won each of its last four meetings with Denver, including three by double-digits. Two of those have come with Manning as the quarterback. The Patriots held Manning to just 19 of 36 passing for 150 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in their 34-31 overtime victory back in November. Brady went 34 of 50 for 344 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Patriots to the comeback victory. That effort will have them coming into this game with a ton of confidence.
The Patriots are 9-1 ATS vs. good offensive teams that score 29 or more points per game in the second half of the season since 1992. New England is 6-0 ATS in road vs. good offense teams that average 375 or more yards per game over the past two years. New England is 80-47 ATS in its last 127 games as an underdog, including 42-23 ATS in its last 65 games as a dog of 3.5 to 9.5 points. The Patriots are 7-0 ATS against AFC West opponents over the past three seasons. Denver is 1-6-1 ATS in its last eight January games.
My Early Lean: Broncos -4.5