Editor’s note: The odds below are courtesy of Heavy’s partners at OddsShark. Click here for more odds and betting info at OddsShark.com.
If Tom Brady’s pinpoint passing for the New England Patriots nullifies the Denver Broncos’ sack-happy No. 1 defense, that could tip the scales in the AFC championship game betting matchup.
While road teams are only 4-10 SU in conference championship games over the last seven years, the Patriots are listed as 3-point favorites against the Broncos at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Over their illustrious careers, Brady is 11-5 SU and 9-6-1 ATS in QB matchups against Peyton Manning, including 5-1 SU and 2-3-1 ATS as a favorite. Favored teams are 10-2 SU in conference championship games over the last six seasons.
The Patriots, who are 13-4 SU and 8-6-3 ATS, boast a premier passing attack with Brady distributing passes mainly to TE Rob Gronkowski and the WR tandem of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. The Broncos will match them with top pass defenders such as CB Aqib Talib, CB Chris Harris Jr. (who has an ailing shoulder) and SS T.J. Ward. New England is 10-0 SU when Edelman plays.
New England is 1-5 ATS both in their last six road games and last six AFC title games. The Broncos, who are 2-5 SU and ATS in their last seven games against the Patriots, have personnel that is capable of keeping Brady from getting the ball out quickly all afternoon.
Brady’s quick release could negate the threat of OLB DeMarcus Ware and OLB Von Miller, but Denver can also pressure inside via the DE duo of Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe.
The Broncos, who are 13-4 SU and 7-7-3 ATS, are 5-0 SU and ATS in their last five games when underdogs of three or fewer points. Manning’s well-documented decline raises doubts about whether Denver is capable of scoring 25-plus points to keep pace with New England.
In the regular-season matchup, which Denver won 30-24 in overtime, the Broncos rushing game mustered fewer than 3.0 yards per carry until Patriots OLB Dont’a Hightower left due to an injury. Fellow OLB Jamie Collins also missed that contest. Manning is not capable of carrying Denver if RB C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman are shut down.
The total for Sunday’s Patriots vs. Broncos betting matchup is set at 44.5 points at the sportsbooks. The total has gone UNDER in the Patriots’ last five AFC title games, but has gone OVER in five of the last six Brady-Manning games and in 11 of their 16 career matchups.
The only previous time that Manning was a home dog to Brady was November 4, 2007 in Indianapolis. Brady won but Manning covered and the total went UNDER.