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AFC Championship Total Line Pick : Patriots at Broncos

Time: 3:00 PM EST January 19, 2014, FOX

Location: Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver (Grass)

The Patriots and Broncos will meet for the second time this season in AFC Championship game. The odds makers opened this game with Denver as a 6.5-point favorite, but Patriots betting action has seen the line fall to 4.5. The total line opened at 55 and has held that number at most betting shops.

In their last games, New England knocked off the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 while Denver beat AFC West nemesis San Diego 24-17.

In their earlier meeting in Foxborough in Week 12 the Broncos raced out to a 24-0 halftime lead helped greatly by turnovers before the Patriots roared back to win 34-31 in OT. As the score suggests offense was the key with Brady going vertical for 324 yards and Denver’s RB’s running for 280 yards! The series has been owned by the Patriots as of late winning and covering the point spread in 4 straight. At home this season the Broncos are 8-1 straight up and 5-4 ATS. The Patriots as a visitor are 4-4 SU and 2-6 against the betting line.

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Here are some stats to consider.

The Broncos lead the league in scoring with 37.9 per game and while the Patriots were 3rd they averaged 11.1 points less per game. Denver also topped the league in yards per game and passing yards in what could be considered nothing less than a dominating offensive performance in 2013/2014.

The Patriots offense was just not the same as in the recent past seasons. The Brady lead passing game finished a mediocre 16th in the league in passing yards per game as off season player losses and injuries had a large impact. The running game picked up the slack for the offense finishing 9th in the NFL in yards rushing per game.

On the defensive side of the ball, neither team played exceptionally well statistically. The Patriots defense was a poor 26th in total yards allowed and an even worse 30th against the rush. However, the most important number is scoring defense where they fared well finishing 10th in the league.

Denver’s defense was better in total yards per game with a 19th place 356 per game, but passing defense showed some cracks allowing their opponents to air it out for a 27th ranked 254.4 yards per game. Their defense did have a successful year against the run allowing the 7th least yards on the ground (101.6 YPG) and a 9th ranked 3.9 yards per carry.

Betting Odds

Point Spread: Denver -4.5
Over/Under Total Line: 55

Straight up and Against the Point Spread Records

New England Patriots: 13-4 SU / 9-8 ATS
Denver Broncos: 14-3 SU / 10-6-1 ATS

Key Betting Trends

  • NE is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing 350+ total yards in previous game.
  • NE is 3-9 ATS in their last 12 playoff games.
  • NE has gone under the total in 4 of their last 5 games on grass.
  • NE is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Conference Championships games./li>
  • DEN is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
  • DEN is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss..
  • DEN is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 playoff games.
  • The total has gone under in 5 of Denver’s last 7 games following a S.U. win.

Sagarin Power Rankings

New England Patriots: 26.46
Denver Broncos: 30.00

Key Player Injuries

PATRIOTS
[WR] 1/13/2013 – Aaron Dobson Ques Sunday (Foot)
[WR] 1/13/2013 – Kenbrell Thompkins Ques Sunday (Foot)
[P] 1/13/2013 – Ryan Allen Ques Sunday (Shoulder)
[LB] 1/6/2013 – Brandon Spikes I-R (Knee)
[WR] 1/4/2013 – Josh Boyce I-R (Foot)
[TE] 12/9/2013 – Rob Gronkowski I-R (Knee)
[DL] 11/3/2013 – Tommy Kelly I-R (Knee)
[T] 10/29/2013 – Sebastian Volimer I-R (Leg)
[LB] 10/16/2013 – Jerod Mayo I-R (Pectoral)
[DL] 10/3/2013 – Vince Wilfork I-R (Foot)

BRONCOS
[S] 1/13/2013 – Rahim Moore Ques Sunday (Leg)
[DE] 1/13/2013 – Derek Wolfe Ques Sunday (Illness)
[TE] 1/13/2013 – Joel Dreessen Ques Sunday (Knee)
[G] 1/13/2013 – Chris Kuper Ques Sunday (Ankle)
[CB] 1/13/2013 – Chris Harris Out for the season (Knee)
[LB] 12/23/2013 – Von Miller Out for the season (Knee)
[DT] 11/26/2013 – Kevin Vickerson I-R (Hip)
[LB] 10/27/2013 – Stewart Bailey I-R (Wrist)
[C] 10/7/2013 – Dan Koppen I-R (Leg)
[T] 9/29/2013 – Ryan Clady I-R (Foot)

Over/Under Pick:

Yes we are aware that the last 4 in this series have gone over the total and sure these two teams put 65 points on the board in their earlier meeting, but that certainly doesn’t mean that both teams will do it again in the AFC title game. So why will it be any different this time around?

Turnovers happen in games, but based on historically data what happened in Week 12 could not be considered the norm. In their first 4 possessions the Patriots gave up a 60 yard fumble return, a fumble by QB Brady on their 23 recovered by Denver and taken to New England’s 13, fumbled on their 44 recovered by the Broncos and turned the ball over on downs. The 4 turnovers resulted in a 24-0 lead by Manning and crew by the time the game was less than 24 minutes old. In the second half the Broncos were also charitable turning the ball over twice inside of their 35 resulting in 10 points.

Brady had his security blanket in TE Rob Gronkowski for this game Gronk was a major factor in the 2nd half comeback catching 7 passes for 90 yards and 1 TD. It’s not just his production that will be missed this week; it’s also the extra player he draws on many downs. The Broncos defense should now be able to concentrate on containing drive extending possession receiver WR Julian Edelman. If their passing game’s is less dangerous it will make it difficult for the run game. We also don’t expect the Broncos to have an easy time of it. The Patriots made adjustments at half time taking away the run option out of the shotgun formation and holding the Broncos to one scoring drive in the entire second half.

The defensive numbers of both teams were weak overall but there were some strengths. The Patriots passing defense ranked in the middle of the pack but when healthy, which it is now, was a top 10 unit. New England should be able to keep Manning and company in check. Denver has the numbers against the run to believe that they can limit if not take away the Pats’ rushing attack.

That being said, we’re not going to call for a defensive struggle here, but we do believe that we have a strong argument to play against the over in this game.

Take the UNDER 55

Bet this game at and lay -105 instead of -110 on this game!

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