NFL Betting Preview: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

NFL Betting Preview:  New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

The NFL betting season is winding down with only three games remaining–two of which are taking place this weekend. In the NFC Championship game the Seattle Seahawks are hosting the San Francisco 49ers. In this writeup we’ll look at the AFC Championship Game where the Denver Broncos will host Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Interesting line movement on this game–the Broncos were opened a -7 point home favorite shortly after the conclusion of last weekend’s Divisional round games. The betting marketplace quickly jumped on the underdog New England Patriots at that price pushing the line down as low as -4. Since then there has been some gradual buyback on the Broncos. Currently the game is -5 or -5′ at most books with several influential shops moving to -6 on the Broncos.

Superficially, there are significant similarities between these two teams. Both have potent offenses led by legendary quarterbacks. Both are ‘pass first’ but can also run the ball. And both have less than impressive defenses that finished in the lower tier of most relevant statistical categories. New England’s Tom Brady and Denver’s Peyton Manning are among the best quarterbacks in the game and certain Hall of Famers. This matchup also features two of the best head coaches in NFL football with Denver’s John Fox and New England’s Bill Belichick calling the shots.

Upon deeper analysis, however, we’re left to back the home team. Brady and Belichick did a phenomenal job this year covering up the Patriots’ many liabilities. As the team lost playmakers to injury–most significantly losing tight end Rob Gronkowski for most of the year–the Patriots reinvented themselves as a rushing team. LeGarrette Blount has been solid in the second half of the season but at this point the New England offense simply isn’t on the same level as Denver’s. Denver has surrounded Manning with playmakers and they’re all healthy. Neither defense is much but Denver’s defense is the healthier of the two. Nothing but respect for the Patriots but the best thing to come out of the early line move is the ability to take the Broncos laying less than a touchdown. They should win and cover here.