Are the New England Patriots a smart NFL bet to win Super Bowl 50?

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Updated Spread & Expert Pick

For the second time in three years, the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos will square off for AFC supremacy and a shot at Super Bowl 50. The game will kick off on CBS this Sunday, January 24th at 3:05 PM ET at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

After splitting their four postseason meetings, Sunday’s AFC Championship game between Tom Brady’s Patriots and the Peyton Manning-led Broncos is likely to be the last on field head-to-head tilt between the two giants. Not just in the playoffs. EVER. Period.

“It will be fun to play another Peyton Manning-led team,” said the 38-year-old Brady, who extends his NFL record with a 10th conference championship appearance and fifth in as many years.

A Closer Look At The New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Updated Spread & My Expert Pick

The NFL AFC Conference Championship game betting spread favors the visiting Patriots by 3-points to beat the Broncos. If you are betting the money line straight up then Denver pays 150 on 100 while New England pays 100 on 170. The game total is at 44.5 points.

What: New England Patriots (12-4) at Denver Broncos (12-4)
When: Sunday, January 24, 2016
Kickoff: 3:05 PM ET 
Where: Denver, CO
Stadium: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Spread: Patriots -3
Moneyline: New England -170 vs Denver +150
Game Total: 44.5
Watch: CBS
Stream: CBS Sports
Listen: New England vs Denver

Why Bet The New England Patriots Spread at -3 Over The Broncos

Brady will be playing in his record setting 10th AFC Championship game this Sunday. That is better than 27 of the NFL’s 32 teams in the modern Super Bowl era.

“It’s beyond what I’d ever imagined in my wildest dreams,” he told Boston sports radio station WEEI on Monday morning during his weekly appearance. “I remember the first one I ever participated in, which was in Pittsburgh. We had to fly there on a Friday. I missed Friday of practice so I could do a press conference at the site of the game. It was the first time it really felt like, wow, this is a big deal.

In the Pats previous matchup versus the Broncos in week 12, Denver won by a 30-24 score in OT. New England didn’t have receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Tight end Rob Gronkowski exited with two minutes left in regulation. All three will be ready to roll Sunday.

We saw the difference Edelman makes last weekend, when he returned after a seven-game absence and caught 10 passes for 100 yards and added an 11-yard rush. Gronk caught seven passes for 83 yards and two scores.

New England is averaging 32 points in 10 games with Edelman, 18 points in seven games without him. Gronkowski has 22 receptions for 283 yards with three touchdowns in his last three games against Denver.

Why Bet The Denver Broncos Spread at +3 Over The Patriots

The Manning-era in Denver is over.

If the the Broncos want to go to Super Bowl 50 by beating the Pats, they must run the ball effectively. No ifs, ands or buts. In their Week 12 tilt, the duo of Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson gashed New England for 179 rushing yards (5.6 ypc) in a 30-24 overtime win.

“(No.) 18 is a little more amped up (for the playoffs),” Anderson told the Broncos’ official website. “Making sure we’re more dialed in and detailed on this and that.”

Missing in action in week 12 was Pats leading tackler Jamie Collins. Key run-stopper Dont’a Hightower missed the second half. With both linebackers back last week, New England allowed K.C. running backs to gain 91 yards on 23 carries (3.96 ypc). Alex Smith added 44 rushing yards, but QB runs aren’t in the playbook with Peyton Manning.

For the season, the Pats ranked ninth in rush defense at 98.8 yards per game and 11th in yards-per-carry allowed (4.0).

More good news for the Pats D is that Collins (back), Hightower (knee) and top pass rusher Chandler Jones (knee) are practicing on a limited basis this week. All are expected to play.

Though New England lost Jerod Mayo (shoulder) to IR, the Pats should be able to force Denver out of its ball-control plan. That will put a burden on the fragile Manning. The 39-year-old played well from a clean pocket last weekend but is a mistake-waiting-to-happen when pressured.

Betting Trends Related To This Matchup:

  • 11/2/2014: New England won 43 to 21, New England covered +3, Game went over 54
  • 11/29/2015: Denver won 30 to 24, Denver covered +2.5, Game went over 43
  • The Broncos are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 home games.
  • The Broncos are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 playoff games.
  • The Broncos are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. AFC.
  • The Broncos are 15-3 SU in their last 18 games at home.
  • The Patriots are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 playoff games as a favorite.
  • The Patriots are 5-2 SU and ATS in their last seven games against the Broncos.
  • The Patriots are 1-5 ATS in their last six games on the road.
  • The Patriots are 19-8 SU in their last 27 games as road favorites.

Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction:

The Broncos have won a neck breaking 15 of their last 18 home games. They are a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS in their past five as underdogs of three points or less.

New England has gone just 1-5 ATS in its last six road games, and the home team becomes a tempting pick. Bet the Broncos to cover but not win. The Pats will repeat as AFC Champions and go to Super Bowl 50.

My final score prediction is New England 24, Denver 22.

Posted in NFL